Published in American Urological Association News - October 2018

Reprinted with permission from AUANews, volume 23, issue 10, 2018; © American Urological Association 2018.

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How to Use Your Vision

This statement can elicit all sorts of responses. The important thing is how you can use your vision to your advantage to create your best performance.

Visualization (Planning) and Vision (Aspirational Goals)

There is an important distinction between visualization and vision. Visualization is a version of planning, wherein you can walk through the steps of a skill, procedure or surgery to rehearse the sequence a few times before performing it live.

Vision, on the other hand, is more of an aspirational goal. Organizations often define their vision in a Vision Statement. Individuals can also have a vision for their future. This aspirational description of what one would like to achieve in the intermediate and long term serves as a guide to making choices in the short term which will serve that goal.

Vision: the Power of Seeing Where You are Going

In order to see, we must first look. When we are seeking improvement, whether in our surgical skills, our hobbies, our business or something else, we can look at what has previously worked to improve performance and put that on repeat. Or we can look to others to see what we can adopt. What works best depends greatly upon your vision.

Vision to Reach the Peak

I recently attended a conference in Colorado and brought along my 14-year-old son. One day, his vision included climbing to the top of a summit near our hotel. In order to reach the top, I needed to tap into the hiking skills I acquired as an Eagle Scout, as well as the breathing techniques I practice in yoga. While physically these skills would be helpful in succeeding the climb, it was the mental strength and perspective that I needed to visualize.

What do you have that can help you reach your summit or peak? What do you need to borrow or learn to help you get there?

Vision When Things Get Choppy

On this same trip my son also envisioned going white water rafting. I knew I could control the controllables and so I made sure we had proper safety equipment, understood the different rapids categories and paid attention to our guide. I knew I could not control the rapids, whether they would be powerful, powerless or somewhere in between.

Our journey started out choppy with class 3 and 4 rapids. In the middle of the excursion we floated smoothly but then returned to some rough waters. Rafting is like other life endeavors — it is unclear whether the waters will be calm or take an unexpected turn into choppy rapids. Prepare for the possibilities and then go with the flow.

What if your career were a rafting trip? Are you in a phase of rough waters or a calm float? When between rapids, are you looking around and taking in all of the beautiful sights?

Vision—Which Way Do I Look?

“Sometimes in order to keep moving forward, not only must you take one step at a time, but you must be willing to look back occasionally and evaluate your past, no matter how painful it is. Looking back lets you know whether or not you are headed in the right direction.” — G.K. Adams

How does it benefit you when you look back? How can your vision assist you in making your actions consistent with your intermediate and long-term goals? What is your vision?

Stay Well.