TEXT Steffen Kirchner PHOTOS Reimo Schaaf
TEXT Steffen Kirchner PHOTOS Reimo Schaaf
The former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt once said: “People with visions should go see a doctor.” This statement proves that even intelligent people talk nonsense sometimes. It also shows life is not easy for people with visions. Whoever wants to fulfil their full potential and achieve high goals in life needs to overcome a number of obstacles along the way. People who talk about their personal dream or great goal in life and then try to make it real first have to go through these four phases before they can turn their vision into reality.
Phase 1: people ignore you
At the beginning, nobody might pay any attention to you and your idea. You talk about your plan, but people will not listen to you. They may even consider you a nerd. They think that your idea is just a flight of fancy. It sounds hard, but it is true. Humans are primarily only interested in themselves. And this has nothing to do with bad character at all. Humans are egoistic by nature. Just like our ancestors, we are programmed to self-preservation. Otherwise we would long be extinct. So be aware that only few people are interested in you and your visions. Because they are your visions, not those of other people. There is no reason to doubt your ideas when you get no support from outside. Instead, regard it as an incentive to make it to Phase 2.
Phase 2: people laugh at you
The people around you have now realised that your ‘flight of fancy’ was serious and has some substance after all. People may be buried at the age of 75 although they already died at 35. Only a few still have dreams. Most live off the visions of others. Result: they feel small. The only thing to deal with it is community. So when they are down for the count, they try to pull down others in order not to be alone where they are. Therefore, classic Phase 2 reactions are scorn and ridicule, laughter and derision. However, remember: when they laugh at you, you can be sure to be on the right track. And do not let others make you look small. Their mockery has little to do with you as a person or your visions, but more with the feeling of inferiority and the missing perspectives of others.
Phase 3: people criticise and antagonise you
Now it is time to get to the nitty-gritty. The people around you notice your progress and successes. They see your new skills and experiences and really take you seriously now. People focus more on you, your plans and your activities. Most of them have now realised: you are about to create something great. Laughing at you was not enough to bring you back down to earth. So now they criticise, lecture and reject you. They argue with you, try to put you under pressure to talk you out of this ‘nonsense’. One or the other will even try to antagonise you and your plans. This shows: you are getting close to your goal. Now your heart and passion are put to the test. You should see all the criticism and resistance as a confirmation of the route you have chosen. Now you are being taken seriously. Others are paying attention to your vision which seems interesting after all.
Phase 4: people admire you
At this point, your vision does not have to be fully realised yet. Nevertheless you have generated positive dynamics, achieved significant successes and you are making visible progress. The critical voices start to fall silent, since the facts speak for themselves. The number of fans and supporters increases and you are admired for your success, your personal strength and your development. You did not let them get you down but live your dream. Once considered a nerd, you have now developed into a role model.
A prominent example
Most of you may know Jürgen Klinsmann. He only earned the job as national football coach during the World Cup in Germany due to his perseverance and his visions. Although the German Football Association DFB only gave him the job after ‘Der Kaiser’ Franz Beckenbauer had given him his ‘blessing’ in an interview with Bild newspaper. Before that, nobody had thought that he might be the man for the job (ignorance phase). However, Klinsmann was a man with visions and rather an inspirer than a coach. He introduced an entirely new playing culture and philosophy and always pursued a playing vision for the national team.
At first, Germany laughed about his methods and measures (ridicule phase). When the first results of the DFB team were far from convincing, he was about to lose his job following a 1:4 defeat against Italy. His critics were full of anger and scorn (criticism phase). Moreover, Klinsmann made some unpopular personnel decisions like the dismissal of Sepp Maier and the replacement of goalkeeper Oliver Kahn by Jens Lehmann. However, Klinsmann and his legendary team succeeded in finishing third in the World Cup. Euphorically, the tournament was celebrated as a ‘summer fairy-tale’ and ever since Klinsmann enjoys the status of an icon among coaches (admiration phase).
So here is my advice: do what Jürgen Klinsmann did: stay true to your visions and follow your own path. It is not about victory or defeat, but about the fantastic development your personality will experience on the way. For that you will be admired in the end.
Steffen Kirchner: motivational coach and conference speaker for excellence
Steffen Kirchner is one of the leading motivational coaches and conference speakers in the German-speaking countries, focusing on motivation, team leadership and change management. Today, the former top athlete and manager works as a performance coach and consults international top sportsmen, executives and stars from show business. With his motivational speeches in companies, the best-selling author has inspired more than 150,000 people. He is a frequent guest on TV and radio shows and esteemed for his pointed analyses, expertise and entertaining language. FOCUS magazine named him the best motivational expert.