The challenge that was issued, to the then three-year-old National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on May 25, 1961, put into motion one of the most amazing feats in history. Before the decade was done, a man would land on the moon and safely return to Earth. And how exactly was that possible? With a clear vision.
Every decision, every penny spent, every meeting, every phone call, was focused on one thing…getting to the moon and back safely. And in July of 1969, America did indeed land on the moon and safely return home. So, it would seem appropriate to believe that what followed was amazing success for the organization who accomplished something once thought to be impossible. Instead, “Houston, we have a problem!” In the years after reaching the moon, NASA struggled. They struggled and they lost their way because they no longer had a clear vision.
Without vision, it becomes very difficult for an organization, individual or group to succeed. Vision provides direction. It inspires both leaders and followers. It is the why for every decision you make, embodying your hopes, creating desire and giving you a sense of purpose. Vision keeps you moving forward when times are lean and when obstacles threaten to derail you. People who are quick to start doing things without a clearly defined vision are not doing themselves any favors. Vision is an essential ingredient to success. And when you lose everything, vision makes you rise up, put one foot in front of the other and keep going.
Some signs that you may be lacking vision:
You focus more on quantity than quality.
You are not learning anything new.
You are not experiencing any growth.
You have no specific plan.
You rarely, if ever meet goals.
Your daily tasks seem to have no meaning.
You do not feel motivated.
So what exactly do you do after reaching such an awe-inspiring vision like going to the moon and back? NASA had to ask themselves that very question. For years, the organization looked for new vision and a new focal point that would work to align their actions with impactful outcomes. They had the how, but they lost their why and without the why, how did not really seem to matter.
Today, the 62-year organization’s vision is to reach new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind. This vision has led NASA to expand frontiers of knowledge and opportunities in space, advance the understanding of Earth and develop technologies to improve the quality of life on our home planet. The words spoken by Commander Neil Armstrong on July 20, 1969 when he became the first man to step on the moon, “Houston, the Eagle has landed” seem even more appropriate today.
“We are limited not by our abilities but by our vision.” Anonymous