Mark Twain once said that, “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” For more than a year, I have blogged about the importance of imagination and vision. Imagination and vision is of strategic importance for our personal and professional lives.
As a young person, amid scarcity, I had a vivid imagination. I imagined what it was like to have plenty to eat every night. As a young professional, I imagined what it was like to purchase a new car and to be a home owner. As a newlywed, I imagined what it was like to raise healthy, well-adjusted children. As a community servant, I imagine a place where strangers are neighbors and, in times of crises, we channel grief into collective action. Most days, I have a bird’s eye view of this – it’s inspiring! There is nothing that we can’t conquer when we work together.
I have a stake in the prosperity of this community because I choose to call it home. I imagine a St. Louis region where more people believe that they can and have an opportunity to be successful—however they define it. I imagine a region where more people at all economic levels become civically connected and engage in the democratic process. If you understand how to responsibly influence power, you can help guide the trajectory of a community.
My vision for 2016 and beyond (I’ll likely say the same thing in 2017) is that we challenge the perception that this is as good as it gets for the people of our region.
I see clearly that we have some big challenges and opportunities ahead of us and I believe that our lot is tied to compassion, education and jobs. It’s easy to exercise compassion when we remember where we started and the many people who invested and challenged us to where we are.
We need to help individuals who want to work, work. We need to help all youth learn the skills that will position them to compete for the jobs of the 21st century by graduating from high school and choosing two- or four-year degrees, trade or military careers. We need a new sense of imagination for how companies, nonprofits and government can work differently to achieve these aims.
What are you imagining right now? What is your vision for your personal growth and the growth of our region? Happy 2016!