Recipe for an inspiring vision

Sailing ship crowded with people

The pilot and poet Antoine de Saint Exupéry said:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

If you want to create something new in the world, your first task is to inspire people. To teach them to long for your project to happen.

The more you can do this the more motivated people will be to join you, stick with you, and deliver enthusiastic results.

The way you achieve it by delivering an inspiring vision.

Every vision is as different as the person who inspires it. But every vision is also built from the same basic building blocks:

  • A clear definition of the problem
  • A clear definition of the future you want to create
  • Clearly defined first steps to get there (not the entire journey, just the first steps)
  • Articulated in a way that is meaningful for your audience
  • Authentically expressed by you
  • Explaining why your vision matters (the principles, values, or ideals that it supports), and
  • Asking your audience to make a choice: are they with you?

Inner Leadership describes these seven blocks.

If you can define and combine them in a way that makes your audience long for the endless immensity of the sea, you won’t need to assign tasks or drum up people to collect wood  — they will do all of that for themselves.

Have you inspired yourself and the people around you to long for the success of your project? What would happen if you did?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By Bruno Girin via

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