Of all the business aspects I help my clients develop, perhaps the most common (and most enjoyable for me) is VISION. I believe it is one of the most important aspects to every business and feel it is undervalued and overlooked entirely too often.

One of the easiest analogies is comparing business to driving. Most people understand there is not much sense in driving your car if you don’t have a specific destination. The revolution of GPS Navigation makes the argument even stronger as we can simply plug in the address and be on our way – no matter how turned around we get, there is a friendly voice to guide us to our destination.

I recently took a long road trip – 8 hours behind the wheel. Besides the lack TSA security checks, X-ray machines, liquids in a 1qt zip-top bag and other aviation stresses, I got plenty of time to think. As I settled into the heated leather seats, I began to consider good examples for how to balance looking forward and looking backward. Then it hit me… windshield vs rearview mirror.

As soon as I got home, I measured both panes of glass and calculated the rough area. Windshield is 1,750 square inches, and the rearview measures just 30 square inches –less than 2% in size. I know there are more variables to consider (trapezoid shape of windshield, angle of windshield, relative distance between the two, etc.) so in an effort to grossly simplify things, let’s say that about 5% of viewing area while driving is for looking backwards while 95% is for looking at what is ahead of us.

Driving at night provides even more convincing illustration of how much we should be looking forward – our headlights illuminate what is directly in front of us as if to say that everything else is superfluous.

We need the mirror to help us safely change lanes and to notice what is happening behind us just like it’s good to be aware of past performances. The trick is to keep it in proportion. Too much focus on our past leads to ‘analysis paralysis’ and it distracts us from the opportunities, potholes, challenges, merging traffic, and constant changes in terrain that all lie ahead of us. I think this 5% idea is a good starting point.

Take a few moments to look at where you are headed. If the destination isn’t inspiring; change it to one that is! Your journey will be long and difficult. You’ll likely have to stop to rest and/or refuel. But with a bold and exciting destination fresh in your mind; it will be easier to attract others to help share the burden.

Safe travels!