Dat 2020 Vision

How to see with clarity in 2020.

I remember when I got my first pair of glasses.  My middle school health teacher had tested my vision and sent home a note to my parents suggesting I see an optometrist.  As a seventh grader, I was devastated.  I hated the thought of wearing glasses.

My mom made the appointment, we had my eyes checked, and sure enough I needed corrective lenses.  Reluctantly, we ordered a pair of frames and waited for them to come in.  

Once they arrived and I put them on, everything became so clear.  It was shocking actually. Until that point,  I had no idea what I wasn’t seeing.

That first night I sat backwards on the couch staring out the front window in wonder at a neighborhood I could now see clearly for the very first time. My mom still brings it up to this day.

20/20 Vision

20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity - or how clearly you see things.  It’s measured at a distance of 20 feet, which is where the first 20 comes from.  If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at 20 feet.  If you have 20/100 vision, it means you must be 20 feet away from something that a person with typical vision would see clearly at 100 feet.

It’s called the Snellen Eye Chart and is named after Herman Snellen, a Dutch ophthalmologist who initially developed the measurement system. The single big “E” at the top corresponds to 20/200 vision.  If this is the smallest letter size you can see, you are legally blind.  On most Snellen charts, the last row corresponds to 20/10 vision.  If you can read this row, your eyesight is twice as sharp as that of a person with typical vision.

As we approach the end of 2019 and look towards 2020, I think it’s appropriate to talk about 20/20 vision (see what I did there?).  Seeing with clarity can be elusive. We often don’t know what we aren’t seeing until we see it for the first time.  So let’s walk through four ways we can see clearly in 2020.

See Clearly

I think most of us don’t stop long enough to look ahead with clarity.  I suspect I’m not the only one whose vision has become dull and out-of-focus from the grind of 2019.  We need our middle school health teacher to tell us to see the optometrist.  We need a visual realignment.

Take some time to stop before 2020 for a visual check up.  Block a morning, an afternoon, or even a whole day.  Go somewhere creative.  No phone calls or meetings are allowed.  In fact, block lunch with yourself.  Get a notebook and pen and start to design 2020.   Here are some great questions to ask yourself:  

What do you see in 2020?  
What do you want to accomplish personally and professionally?
What are the highlights from 2019 that you would like to see more of?  
If you could change one thing from 2019, what would it be?

See Far

I discovered I needed glasses in seventh grade because I had myopia, or nearsightedness.  I could focus on objects in front of me, but not at a distance.  This is the most common visual dysfunction and requires corrective lenses to adjust vision appropriately.  

20/20 clarity for most of us will require corrective tools to see clearly.  It will probably require time set aside to properly process 2019. It may involve conversations with others.  It could require installing new mental operating systems that are designed to help you accomplish your goals.  It may involve more education (formal, books or podcasts) to equip you with the knowledge needed to fulfill your vision.

Seeing far is necessary, but it also requires that we stay on track throughout the year.  The number one tool I use to help me stay on track is quarterly checkpoints.  

Here’s how it works: Every quarter I create commitments for the next 90 days.  I look at my goals for the year and then break them down into quarters.  Instead of looking at the whole year as one big, overwhelming vision, I break it down into manageable 90-day chunks.  Each quarter, I commit to four to eight goals and then execute on those.  I have found that if I can create success in a quarter, it often leads to success over the year.

See Near

Some people can see clearly at a distance, but are unable to focus on objects that are near. This is called hyperopia, or farsightedness.  Clear vision requires acuity at all distances.

Some of us are better at long-term vision, but have trouble executing in the week-to-week.  Before we know it, three months of the year have passed, and we’re already behind. 20/20 vision requires clarity to move through the things in front of us.  It requires us to align our weeks to match the course for the year.  

My week-to-week is managed by my quarterly commitments.  Once I know the big goals for the next quarter, I go straight to my calendar (Apple iCal) and my to-do list (Things App) and schedule these in.  I block important meetings, phone calls, creative time, courses, events/conferences, team member reviews and even potential blocks based on the amount of time I think it will take to complete a project. If it doesn’t get into my calendar or to-do, it’s just wishful thinking.  And if I wait, my weeks will easily get hijacked by urgent, less important tasks.  

See Imperfect

The Snellen chart is not the end-all to vision exams and a 20/20 result doesn’t necessarily mean you have perfect vision.  It’s an accurate picture of the sharpness of your vision, but doesn’t take into consideration peripheral awareness, eye coordination, depth perception or other important visual skills.  

Your vision for 2020 doesn’t need to be perfect. Not by a long shot. In fact, I am the first one to admit that my vision is imperfect.  It often feels like I’m seeing through a fog trying to make out certain shapes.  I have a feeling of what they could be, and I’ll move towards them to get clarity, but I could be wrong.  I tend to use the word “forecasting” with my team because it allows for error. When it comes to your vision, getting it right is more important than being right.

Vision is less about perfection and more about movement.  You can correct over movement, but you’ll become short-sighted if you stop.  The important thing is to create momentum in 2020.  Goals require energy and energy takes movement.  So set a direction and get going!  

My mom knew I hated those glasses.  It didn’t take long before she made me an appointment on my birthday to get contact lenses.  Even though those first set of contacts were difficult and awkward to get in and out of my eyes, I gladly accepted the inconvenience.  One thing was for sure, now that I could see clearly, I wasn’t going back.  

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve seen it for the first time.  Once you do, you’ll sit backwards on the couch staring out the front window. You’ll never look at the world the same way again.

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