Sunday, the pastor Richard Edwards, used the phrase, “What We Choose to See.” I am a visual learner and am attracted to beauty, whether it is the beautiful stained glass window in the sanctuary, a reflection on still water, the glow of a beach sunset or the people beauty of children’s smiles or the lovely emotions that the sight of an elderly couple holding hands evokes.

“What we choose to see” can also mean the not so beautiful of our world, the litter in a river, the dilapidated housing on the outskirts of town, or more importantly the people, the homeless. I also see the child with a scowl, not a smile, the woman with three small children struggling at a bus stop everyday while we drive by casually in our late model car and the disgruntled employee who never seems to change his expression.

“What we choose to see” also applies to “Visions.” As leaders, we are charged with leading the creation of a vision for our company, school or church. Visions are for the future, what do we choose to see for our future? I am a fan of lofty goals, strategic frameworks leading to success, but I also am a fan of small deeds that change the culture of a place to engage people to make it a welcoming environment.

Perhaps, it is the optimist in me, the gratitude, the seeker of hope, the enjoyment of the visual that is pleasing that guides what I choose to see. Sometimes those of us who are optimists are accused of being naive. But, I believe those of us who have looked squarely in the face of poverty, of tragedy and of change, are not naive, we are choosing to see a future, a vision of what is possible, and we as leaders must be aware of “what we choose to see in our organizations.” I will be naive, if I do not see the problems of my company, school or church, but if I choose only to see the problems and not the possibilities, I will deny the choices open to me. Leaders must remember our organization becomes “What We Choose to See” and what we lead others to see.