Inspiring vision, part 6: Call on higher principles, values, or ideals

When you want to inspire people to move to action, as well as describing what you want them to create, it is also important to explain why that matters. This is the sixth ingredient for creating an inspiring vision.

In 1962, for example, John F Kennedy announced that America would go to the moon. He not only described what they were going to do, he also explained why:

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.”

In 1771, it was a practical disagreement over tax that triggered the Boston Tea Party. But it was the underlying principle of whether Great Britain had the right to tax its colonies that drove and sustained America’s War of Independence. And it was principles, not tax rates, that were later enshrined in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights… That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”

It was principles (of liberty, equality, fraternity) that inspired the French Revolution. And it was principles (“No person may be held indefinitely without trial”) that led Britain’s barons to stand up to their bullying king and demand the new laws of Magna Carta, so laying the foundation for much of our modern law today.

People will take urgent action to uphold the principles they believe in.

So tell your audience why your vision matters to them. Why should they care? Who or what is your vision for? What are the purpose and values it upholds? How will following your vision enable people to live the kind of lives they want to live and become the people they want to become?

If you can articulate all this in ways that not only make sense to your audience but matter to them then they will help you build your vision — because in doing so they will be building themselves.

Adapted from Inner LeadershipBuy the book 

Photo By NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via

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