I had the pleasure of attending a global leadership conference that began with that question. The answer was both eloquent and life changing.
The speaker, Bill Hybels, was speaking to a group of leaders; his question was “What Precedes Vision?”
Hybels’ answer was “sense of holy discontent” precedes vision. His assertion is that the origin of vision for a visionary leader is a discontent with the existing state of affairs that makes you so angry about the way things are that you are compelled to do something about it, and will make it your life mission to change the situation.
Today, as I reflect back on that conference, I realize that conference was a catalyst propelling me to take life altering action, to do something about a situation I found to be intolerable, and still find to be intolerable. In this day and age, I find it inexcusable that many people in the world (and the United States) still lack access to good health care. I found it intolerable that as a nation we did not apply our best and brightest technology to solving this global crisis. I found it intolerable that following a natural disaster, tents were still the “best” solution to house patients and deliver health care, no matter what the climate or weather conditions.
In 2005 I knew the framework for a solution had been created, and the potential existed to build a hard walled building that could be erected rapidly over uneven terrain with virtually no site preparation. It could be erected quickly using only man-power and hand tools. This same system allowed a building to be put up quickly in one area, then disassembled, packed and moved to another location and reassembled in the same or a different configuration for a similar or different use. It had hard walls, and could be easily equipped with negative air pressure for the isolation and treatment of patients in an emergency situation or pandemic.
I never imagined that one hour at that time would change my life. The answer to “What makes you so angry you can’t stand it?” led to a life-altering decision to do something; and in October of 2006 we began Johnson Portables in order to do what we could to provide this solution to the world.
So today, as I look forward to attending that very same conference, I wonder how the words of the speakers will impact the lives of those of us in attendance.
Looking back and looking forward, two thoughts stand out to me:
- You never know the effect your words will have on another person.
- Don’t discount the potential for one life to positively impact another.
I hope you will join us in our effort to improve global health care delivery, and make a difference in this world. I believe one life can make a difference.