Visionaries & Integrators: Finding Purpose in Expectation
When Natalie asked me to read the book Rocket Fuel, by Mark Winters and Gino Wickman, a few months ago, I hadn’t yet heard of the visionary + integrator concept.
According to the book cover it was “the one essential combination that will get you more of what you want from your business”.
Trusting everything Natalie says/suggests, I bought the book and read it cover to cover. Frankly, I learned more about who I am in those 180 pages than any other business or personal development book I had read to-date —and I think that had everything to do with the point I’m at in my career and all of the doubts/questions/confusion I had been feeling. In all honesty, Rocket Fuel gave me permission to be who I already am and stop focusing on what I’m not.
To give you a vague analogy of how I felt each day before this book popped into my life, it was as though I was waking up every morning and putting on the same shirt. It was the kind of shirt that looked beautiful on the hanger and I wanted to love it so much. But, as soon as I would put it on I’d be let down almost instantly. It wasn’t a flattering shirt; it was tight and loose in all the wrong places. I would force myself into it every morning thinking “Today is the day that I make it work!”, but that statement never seemed to ring true.
Until this book. And Marrow, that is.
In more real life terms, for as long as I can remember I’ve been trying to live my life as a visionary. If you ask almost anyone who knows me, I’m quite certain they’d describe me as a natural leader; as someone who is outgoing and joyful, but unafraid of the tough stuff; someone who will stand up for those who aren’t being heard and make sure that everyone on the team is playing toward their strengths. Because of these characteristics, I often took on the leadership role in most groups or organizations I was a part of. But there was always a role I felt I couldn’t fill and, in my opinion, it’s one of the most important things most people look for in a leader:
While I still believe in my leadership capabilities, I always struggled with long term direction. I didn’t know where I was headed, so how the hell could I come up with ideas and future plans for everyone else? Instead of focusing on the things I’m good at, like putting a plan into action, keeping things organized, holding team members accountable, solving problems, creating team cohesion; I would beat myself up about my lack of creativity or inspiration or my lack of bold new ideas. I always thought that this is what people expect from me and felt like I was letting them down over, and over, and over again. Upon reflection though, I don’t think anyone expected things from me that I hadn’t already prescribed myself to.
Reading this book gave me a perspective I had never looked at before. It showed me my strongest skills and tendencies are valuable and important, but they don’t keep me in the box I had locked myself in.
The relief I felt when I realized I wasn’t a visionary was almost palpable. It was like this huge weight was lifted off my back that I hadn’t even realized was there. Physically and mentally lighter —that’s how I felt. And God it was good. Glorious even. It was the “ah-ha!” moment that I had been waiting for.
So here we are. A team of two: a Visionary and an Integrator, pairing creativity with systems and ideas with process. I think what I’ve found here is a beautiful well-made shirt that looks even better on me than it does on the hanger. What a twist.
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