Life is full of twists and turns. It is often within those twists and turns that we find new meaning and greater understanding in the pursuit of our dreams. This is known as an “epiphany.”

An epiphany is defined as “a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.”

In my experience coaching successful business leaders across the U.S. and Canada, I have found that there are two specific epiphanies that occur during the journey from the inception of a vision to its fruition:

1) Realization of the cost
2) Realization of the outcome

Most people have goals. Some take the next step and lay out a vision. However, they may not fully understand the cost in the beginning. They know there is a gap between where they are and where they want to be… but the rest is a little blurry.

Within our Core Four® process at Building Champions, the next step after vision is planning. It is during the planning process that people begin to see what it will really cost them to pursue “living the dream.” It is in this step that we discuss the specific disciplines and projects which need to be completed.

Disciplines are those things which need to be done with excellence on a consistent basis – daily, weekly, or monthly. Projects are the multi-step activities which, if successfully completed, provide for some type of process improvement. Unlike disciplines, which are ongoing, projects have an end date. Both disciplines and projects make it possible to fulfill the vision.

Once the needed projects and disciplines are identified, people begin to realize the full picture of what will be required to “make it happen.” This is a good time to re-evaluate the vision, to ensure that the desired end result will be worth that cost. If you believe it will be worth it in the end, you are much more likely to stick with your plans.

It’s much easier to sit around and talk about what is required than it is to pay the price every day. This is where accountability plays the most important role in coaching. When the cost seems too much to bear, this is the time to go back to the vision and reaffirm your commitment.

The second epiphany occurs after getting over the hump of the first one. Once the cost is fully understood, accountability has played its role, disciplines start to become habit, and adjustments have been made, people begin to see the value of pushing through. It’s like breaking through a wall. There is less resistance on the other side.

At this point, you may realize that the value of the outcome is even greater than you once thought. Along with all of the benefits of fulfillment that you originally anticipated, there is added value in the process itself. You emerge stronger, ready to set bigger goals and prepared to pay the price.

Where are you in this process today?

Are you just thinking about your vision? Have you considered the cost?

Are you currently paying the price? Or have you experienced a breakthrough?

Regardless of where you’re at right now, the most important piece of advice I can give you is to find someone who will stand beside you and help you stay on track. This could be a colleague, a friend, or a professional coach. Look for a person who cares enough to ask you the hard questions, to tell you the truth, and to celebrate your epiphanies along the way.