The prairie is my ocean. As far as my eyes can see, there is an endless flow of grass, fields, and sky. Looking out, I see possibilities. In life’s distance, a path forward begins to form, at least within my thoughts and expectations.
Horizons are deceiving. When we think horizon, we think limitless or, at least, I do. By definition we discover it is an “apparent boundary between earth and sky” and “the limit or range of perception, knowledge….” Horizon seems more constraining than what I imagined.
Horizons are cruel.
When the horizon seems vast, we are really seeing what we want to. We see good things ahead. We see opportunity unfolding. What we miss is the boundary, the limitation.
The limitation can be self-inflicted. We don’t complete the assignment to get a good grade. We don’t put our full effort into a new project. We find a way to slide by instead of fully applying our talents and gifts. We get caught up in synthetic ways to find moments of happiness, and our way is blurred and off track.
While the self-inflicted ones can be more harmful than others, the boundaries that hit us out of nowhere can stop us completely in our tracks. For farmers, it is the unexpected drought or hail storm, ruining all of the spring’s field work and the expected returns for our hard labor. For businesses, the doors close on a major employer, and we lose customers because they lost their source of steady income. For parents, it is losing a child in an accident. Life slaps us hard at times, and what we saw as a horizon was just an illusion.
Horizons are hopeful.
Just as hard as some things in life, work, and community can be, the horizon also delivers a steely hope. After all, the very definition of horizon includes the words “apparent” and “perception.” We can change what we see and what we do. Our choice.
Hope is a conversation, and hope needs to be a conversation with ourselves, our horizon, more often than we may think. At times, we need to focus inward in order to renew our focus outward again. The horizon ricochets back at us and forces us to re-think, re-energize, and pursue redemption. A horizon within needs to appear, grasping new information and adopting a new perception. And then, if we can put a new picture back together, we begin to work in different ways. We live and lead with a new sense of purpose and direction.
What is on your horizon?
We burden ourselves with more boundaries and limitations than what a balanced horizon calls for. Other times, we place too much on our optimism and cheerfulness, missing the reality of situations. A horizon is really trying to tell us opportunities and challenges are tightly intertwined on the line between what we do and what happens to us. A horizon is setting the life stage where good things can happen, if we choose to set our direction and then do the necessary work. A horizon is issuing a warning to be aware of troubled and troubling situations ahead.
The horizon is demanding our attention to the story of our life. Our life will not always be a series of success and happiness. We will face certain challenges. How we strengthen our minds and soul during the good times may determine how well we navigate and survive the bad.
Spend the time understanding your horizon. Prepare yourself for the work and detours ahead. Grow in learning and understanding, expanding your view, engaging your spirit, and toughening your skin for what is ahead. Grab ahold of your horizon with reality and possibility.
Join the Conversation
What Is on Your Horizon?
What a magnificent metaphor for journeys as leaders! The horizon always feels peaceful to me and creates optimism and yes, hope.
The battle between going for the dream and living in the reality can throw us off and derail the direction we thought we were headed. When that happens, we need to reflect, redo and head back out to look for our next horizon. It’s there. We just need to see it.
Loved the post, Jon! South Dakota sounds beautiful!
Great perspective, Terri. We need to stop and reflect and navigate through the harsh realities at times. We learn a lot from these moments, as tough as they are. In going forward, we find renewed beauty.
Thanks for your comment! And South Dakota is beautiful! Jon
The horizon within is often at odds with what we see ahead. All that space, filled with possibilities, leaves room for all kinds of scary thoughts and feelings within. Shifting perspectives through small steps can oftentimes get us much closer towards our bigger vision on the horizon than plotting and planning a single giant leap.
Really wonderful, thoughtful post, Jon. Look forward to sharing widely.
Thank you, Alli. Our horizon of possibility is a wonderful thing but along with it come big hills and valleys we need to work through. Taking those steps forward and doing the work are key. Grateful for your support and perspective. Thanks! Jon
Great article. Echoes truth in every level, well at least for me. A must read.