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You won’t laugh when you see it

A carrot being dangled from a stick.

It is one thing to say that you have a Purpose and a Vision. It is quite another thing to live and deliver on them.

At best, some might say it is a big, fat carrot to run after. At worst, a whacking great stick that brands and businesses carry on their backs and occasionally beat themselves with. What’s yours?

We recently defined our vision as Dare to Dream. Ever since we have constantly asked ourselves:

  • Are we living the vision?
  • What can we do to embed it into agency life?
  • How can we be smart about reminding people to weave the vision into their everyday?
  • How do we ensure that it is not mere rhetoric, referenced solely in our credentials presentations?

Of course, it is completely understandable and sensible to be asking ourselves those questions. We’ve gone to all the effort of doing the work, listening to employees and clients and understanding what makes us tick.

But, when I am asked again, what are we doing to make sure we are daring to dream, I can’t help but ask myself a question.

If we have to remind, to encourage, to frame success in those specific terms and prompt people to think in that way, is that indicative that our vision is not so inherent, not so organic, not so true of AB the agency at all?

Rethinking the vision

I was prompted to think about this by Tristan Tucker.

Tristan Tucker is an Australian Grand Prix dressage rider, based in the Netherlands. However, he is arguably most famous as a uniquely talented and hugely successful horseman and trainer. He has his own brand, the TRT Method.

I am following his online training programme with my mare. I have literally thousands of videos, Q&As and live event replays to immerse myself in.

“It’s all about the knowledge”

There are hundreds of highly skilled horse trainers in the world. But I have chosen to study with Tristan because of his guiding, basic philosophy.

“I am extremely passionate about teaching horses to be able to be comfortable and create a life better than nature intended, in sport. So, the horses are feeling really confident about what they are doing.

“It’s all about the knowledge. When the horse is knowing really the job and that he can take ownership of his job and he can feel proud about being a performer, if we can teach that to a horse, rather than letting him rely on his natural instinct of survival, then he can really live. He can get things from humans that he cannot get in nature.”

Self-control versus submission

Tristan is crystal clear on his vision, his purpose. He wants to help people teach and work with their horses in a way that results in the horse wanting to be a dressage horse – more than even their rider wants them to be. He aims to empower the horse through the ability to master self-control, not enable the rider to master the dark arts of achieving submission.

Tristan took part in a massive horse expo, Jumping Indoor Maastricht 2017. In the middle of a demonstration, he announced to the crowd his ultimate goal.

He said, “This is my goal: that one day, I can ride down the centre line, halt, salute, get off and let my horse do the Grand Prix.”

Predictably, the crowd erupted in laughter. He responded with, “You won’t laugh when you see it”.

A compelling North Star

I certainly would not bet against him achieving this, mainly because he literally lives his vision and purpose. He doesn’t need grand gestures, or manufactured events.

Every single last element of his set up – his approach to life, riding, training, educating, processes, interactions – are geared to achieving his vision, purpose and goal.

Little things, seemingly unimportant things, suddenly all look part and parcel of his journey, because they are.

From the outside, it is tempting to assume that it is all completely natural, inherent and comes with little thought or design.

But I don’t believe that is true.

He is the master of consistency, both in the natural way in which his beliefs manifest themselves in his methods, but also in the precise, rational way that he will unpick and address an issue. He simply has a clearly defined, compelling North Star that he is drawing people towards, with him.

Alive and kicking

We didn’t dream up Dare to Dream. It was there, waiting to be unearthed.

It didn’t get a big laugh when we announced it, but I think the words might have made some people feel uncomfortable.

The thing is, if we stop obsessing over those three words, if we forget the carrot, or the stick and just get back to business, I suspect we will see that our vision is alive and kicking.

Seeking a vision and purpose for your business?

It can be challenging to identify, live or test your vision and purpose. Whether you’re starting afresh or want to make sure your mission holds true, get in touch for a strategic check-up.


Image credit: Alan O’Rourke at

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