5 Success Lessons on Staying True to Your Vision

UPDATED: May 23, 2024
PUBLISHED: December 23, 2017

Jon GordonHow do you find a sense of purpose in your life?

We don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it. Purpose is the fuel that keeps us going.

The challenge is that many people don’t know their purpose or don’t have a why. We find a sense of purpose when we look for ways to be of service to others and make the world better. Years ago, I was miserable, negative and only focused on myself. When I decided to focus my life on making a difference in the lives of others, I found a greater purpose within myself.

How do you stay true to your vision despite roadblocks, setbacks or failures?

The path to success is never behind you. When you face roadblocks and setbacks, you have to keep your vision alive and keep moving forward. Marathon runners don’t quit in the last mile because they can see the end in sight. Even though they are the most physically tired at that time, they don’t give up because they have a vision of where they are going.

Related: 7 Ways to Persist When Everything in You Wants to Give Up

I have found that positive leaders always keep their vision alive. Regardless of their circumstances or setbacks, they are always looking forward. It’s also important to remember that failure is not meant to define you. It’s meant to refine you and help you become all you are meant to be. Roadblocks are part of the journey. Without struggle, there would be no triumph. Without setbacks, there would be no feeling of victory and accomplishment.

When I wrote The Energy Bus, it was rejected by over 30 publishers. I went on a 28-city tour when it was finally published. No bookstores would carry the book. Only five to 20 people came to see me at each event. Now 10 years later, it has sold over 1 million copies. I kept my vision alive.

How do you maintain a positive outlook on life?

I do my best to see my life as a gift, not an obligation. It’s not about what we have to do but what we get to do. The research shows we can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time. Each day, I take a walk of gratitude where I tell myself what I’m thankful for. When I do this, I am flooding my brain and body with positive emotions that uplift me and create a fertile mind that is ready for success.

Related: 7 Practical Tips to Achieve a Positive Mindset

The best advice I ever heard was from Dr. James Gills. He’s the only person on the planet to complete six double ironman triathlons, and the last one he did he was 59. I asked him how he did it. “I’ve learned to talk to myself instead of listen to myself,” he said. “If I listen to myself, I hear all of the negativity, fear and complaints. But if I talk to myself, I can feed myself with words of encouragement I need to keep moving forward.”

I’ve learned that negative thoughts will always come in, but just because you have a negative thought, doesn’t mean you need to believe it.

How do you bring clarity to your life?

I think about the legacy I want to leave. Knowing how you want to be remembered helps you decide how to live today. And once you know what you stand for and what’s important, decisions are easy to make. I also often think about the core of myself and my work. The core is your purpose. It’s the message you are meant to share. It’s the people who matter most to you. It’s the work that is central and key to your business, growth and success.

How do you cope with rejection?

I don’t take it personally. I’ve learned over the years not to let someone else’s opinion of me define me. Not everyone is going to share your vision. Not everyone is going to believe what you believe. Not everyone is going to love your work. Your positive energy must be greater than their negativity. Your certainty and belief must be greater than their doubt.

Related: What Happy, Successful, Optimistic People Know About Life


This article originally appeared in the January 2018 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

SUCCESS is your guide for personal and professional development through inspiration, motivation and training.