Goals vs. Vision: What’s More Important?

There's a huge difference between goals and visions. In this video I explain the difference and how both are needed for a successful business.

One of the most common questions I get asked is, “Pat, what is really the difference between a goal and a vision. Is there really one? Isn’t it the same thing? If it’s different, what’s different?”


The reality is that there’s a very big difference between a goal and a vision, and in this video I dive into how they’re different, the benefits of both of them, and whether or not a person can be both a great visionary and an incredible goal setter.

The Difference Between a Goal Setter and a Visionary

Goals typically have a life span. For instance, when you set a goal, you determine that you want to do a specific thing by a specific date. You may have a goal of making $100,000 or buying a house by a set time. Or you may want to buy a Porsche by a certain age.

In contrast, a vision doesn’t have a life span. There is no deadline. It keeps going. The visionary can’t stop talking about the vision.

Goals are short-term. Visions are long-term.

Goals have a checklist. For instance, I have to do boom, boom, boom, boom, boom to accomplish the goal. With goals, you look at how you can do things better and what you need to do to get things done. The focus is on the right way of doing things.

Goal setters are great at being directional. This is similar to checklists, but it’s more focused on directing people and resources in a way that accomplishes the goal. For instance, “First, let’s talk to this person and then call that person, and then let’s do this, okay?”

A visionary will paint a picture of what they’ll do. They’ll help you imagine what it will look like.

If you only talk about the next goal to hit and about what needs to get done to hit the goal, you’re more a goal-setter than a visionary. If you can’t help but constantly paint a picture of what it will look like if something is accomplished, and you convey it in a way that stirs up emotions, you’re the visionary type.

Goal setters have logic. Visionaries have dreams.

To Recap. . .


Goal Setters


You Need Both Goal Setters and Visionaries

Both goal setters and visionaries are important. This isn’t a message to say that the person who sets goals is not as important as the visionary. It would be absolutely ludicrous to make that statement. I’m absolutely not making that statement; one is just as important as the other.

However, here’s the challenge with goal setters. Those who are goal driven have a tendency to slow down, sabotage themselves, and revert back to bad habits. Once they reach a goal, they’re bored, because goals have deadlines. They have a short lifespan. After a goal is achieved, the goal setter may say, “Well, what do I do next?”

You don’t have to worry about that with someone like Elon Musk because he’s not a goal-driven guy. He’s a vision-driven guy. You don’t have to worry about that with Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos because they’re vision-driven.

Teamwork Matters

So here’s the thing about goals vs. vision. The goal setters need a visionary to team up with, and visionaries need to surround themselves with goal setters. One will not become a reality without the other. The visionary casts the vision, and the goal setter says, “This is how we do it.” The goal setter will become bored if they don’t team up with a visionary, which is why it’s so important for them to partner together.

Be Who You Are

A lot of times visionaries try so hard to become goal setters. And they’ll never even come close to great goal setters. And goal setters try so hard to become visionaries and they fail every single time. Why? Because they can talk like a visionary for one day, they can cast a vision for two days and the three, four, five, six, seven, ten days later, all they’re talking about is logic and the next goal.

In contrast, you don’t need to tell the visionary to talk about the vision. What you need to tell the visionary is, “Here’s the next goal. Here’s what you need to do next.” They need help in order for the vision to become a reality.

This doesn’t mean that visionaries don’t need to deal with minutia. If you’re a visionary and say,  “Well that’s why I’m the vision guy. I don’t deal with minutia,” that’s nonsense. You’re making excuses. You’re justifying why you don’t want to improve in an area of goal setting.

I am probably not the most organized person you’ll ever meet. If you look at my desk right now, it’s messy. But in my mind, the vision is very clear.  I’ve already seen the movie. I’ve seen the movie over and over and over again in my mind and I’ve explained it to tens of thousands of people over and over.

The vision is clear. I’ve already seen it, felt it and feel how people react when they see the vision becoming a reality. In my mind, I’ve seen the impact it makes around the world. That’s why I need a lot of help, to help this vision become a reality. But I can still become a better goal setter. I can still improve in my goal setting abilities. I can still sit down and grab a paper and pen and say, “What is the next goal? What are the next things that we need to do to get to this vision?”

In the same way, a goal-setting person can create a reminder of the vision on their phone or all around them  with, perhaps with a vision board. They can team up with somebody that reminds them about the vision, that tells them where we’re going long term.

Both goal setters and visionaries can improve. But no matter how much you improve, if you’re a goal-setting type, you will never be as good of a natural visionary. If you’re a natural visionary type of person, you will never be as organized as a goal-setting person that’s directional, that knows what needs to get done.

That’s why you need to team up together. If you do, the world is yours based on how hard you work and how long you work together as a team.

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