When you start out, the last thing on your mind is a title, either self-proclaimed or otherwise, but whether you are called a visionary or not that is exactly what you are. You begin with an idea for something new, or a better way of doing something, so why not consider yourself in such a manner? I’d suggest a good definition of a visionary is ‘someone who can see opportunities where others can’t’.
In my own mind, the acceptance of being a visionary comes hand in hand with my definition of success, but what does that look like to me?
For me success involved starting out with the idea, building it into a business with a product to sell, and selling the product allowing it to do as intended. But what I found was that once that point was reached, the goal posts moved and the next level of success became measured by different metrics; the number of sales made, the number of employees we have, the profitability of the business, or the social good achieved.
Success comes in many different forms, and what it looks like to you will define when you achieve it. Success has to happen in your own mind regardless of what anyone else says, and being a visionary is not limited to when you achieve success. It’s the idea and insight that make you the visionary, and staying the course ultimately makes you successful. As the founder of a company, I can tell you there will be many small wins (and losses) along the way, and you need to stop and enjoy these moments because it’s the journey that changes you, that challenges you, and makes you the different and better version of yourself. There is no success without the journey.
I can tell you one of the hardest things to master was in fact the internal self-talk; the little voice in your head that throws doubt when things don’t go as hoped or planned. This is why considering yourself a visionary can really help you, because it reminds you why you started in the first place.
We had a vision to create a simple way to give people safe water after a disaster. This had to be a low-cost, lightweight and mobile system; a product we’d eventually call Puribag. This tech would need to be deployed into disaster areas, or pre-positioned in high risk areas prior to events happening, in order to help those we wanted to help, and the dream was (and still is) to see Puribag used all over the world helping people at their most vulnerable.
Whatever your vision and measure of success, know that there’ll be moving goal posts and there’s a journey you must go on. You’ll fail and you’ll succeed, so enjoy the ride and own your ‘visionary’ status; you’ve earned it!