Vision Map: Charting a Step-by-Step Course for Your Biggest Hopes and Dreams

Vision Map: Charting a Step-by-Step Course for Your Biggest Hopes and Dreams

by Joel Malm

Paperback(New Edition)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, February 21

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802412263
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Publication date: 10/01/2014
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 904,802
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

JOEL MALM is an entrepreneur, dreamer and adventurer who loves to help people pursue their God-given dreams. As founder of Summit Leaders he takes people on outdoor expeditions around the world to places like Mt. Kilimanjaro, Grand Canyon and Machu Picchu. He has traveled in over sixty-five countries on six continents and speaks three languages. He and his wife Emily live in

Read an Excerpt

Vision Map

Charting a Step-By-Step Course For Your Biggest Hopes and Dreams

By Joël Malm, Jesse Lipes

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2014 Joël Malm
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8024-1226-3



IT ALL STARTED FOR ME ON a mountain in Russia. In a blizzard. At 16,000 feet. I could've written it off to oxygen deprivation, but something within me said it was more. God placed something big in my heart that day.

The blizzard pummeling our side of Mount Elbrus made our attempt to summit the highest peak in Europe an exercise in futility. We gave up for the day. Secretly, I was relieved. I realized earlier that morning when we pulled out the ice axes and roped our team together that I was in way over my head. This was above my climbing level; I had no experience ice climbing and only basic knowledge of how to use the axe in my hand. I was still loving it, but the situation made me remember there was some real danger involved.

On the way back down, we discovered that the blizzard was causing a whiteout that covered the trail markers. We stopped to reorient.

"Wait here. I find trail," my Ukrainian guide, Oksana, said in her flat Russian accent.

I nodded and knelt down in the deep snow. Ahead there was a break in the storm. Through the clouds I could see the Cheget Valley far below us—an encouraging sign.

I looked at my watch. It was noon. I thought of my family, soundly asleep back in Texas. They had no idea how dangerous conditions had become.

In that instant something hit me. It was one of those moments of transcendence. I felt alive and alert. I realized just how much I loved this kind of thing. I loved the thrill of climbing mountains. It was a spiritual experience for me, a way of deepening my sense of dependence on God and feeling connected to the sheer power of the vast world He created.

Travel experiences like this shaped my worldview. They gave me a wider perspective on life and a greater appreciation for Gods amazing world—the people, the geography, the diversity.

I thought of my friends back in the US. They thought I was crazy when I announced I was planning to go climb a mountain in Russia. "Why would you do that? It's expensive isn't it?"

I tried hard to explain it, but they had no experience with mountain climbing, no frame of reference. I wished there was a way to show them how much they were missing. I thought of a favorite quote of mine from St. Augustine: "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."

In that moment of transcendence, I realized something. I finally knew what I wanted to do with my life. I was on track to go to law school. That's what everyone said I'd be good at. I believed them, but I was never thrilled about the prospect.

In the midst of a blizzard hiding our way down the mountain, toward the safety of base camp, God placed a dream into my heart. He gave me a vision to start bringing people with me on these kinds of trips. I wanted to start helping others create spiritual adventures.


I'm convinced that God has given each of us a message to share with the world to bring Him glory. I'm also convinced that along with that message we all have a problem that God has uniquely equipped us to solve.

Let me establish something at the outset. God can solve any problem He wants to solve with the flit of an eyelash. He doesn't need us. For whatever reason, He chooses to let us participate in ultimate goal of bringing Himself glory. It's definitely not the most efficient method. I'm slow. I fumble the ball a lot. Inexplicably, God still chooses to use people like me. You are no exception. He wants to use you.

You may not have received a vision on a mountain in a blizzard. Your vision may have started by seeing a simple need. God works differently in each person. The circumstance surrounding how you got your God Idea isn't the important thing.

Doing it is.

Whether your goal is to write a book, go to college, pay off a huge debt, or start a business, never discount the dream God placed in your heart, however it may have come to you.

This book is about taking practical steps toward sharing your unique message and solving the problem God has equipped you to solve.

This book is for those people. Those who are certain God has given them a vision or dream. If you've got it, you know what I'm talking about. It's a burning desire to do something for God. It doesn't have to be clear, but there is something within you that yearns to solve some problem or share a unique message you think the world needs to hear.

How do you know if you are at that place?

Well, when you have a dream or vision that God has placed in your heart, you are obsessed with it. It's what you talk about ad nauseam with all your patient friends at the dinner table. You think about it all the time. Working on it feels like a moral imperative. Conversely, not doing it would feel almost sinful.

If you are at that place, I think you'll find this book helpful.

If you aren't there yet, I hope this book will inspire you. Read through it prayerfully. Then keep praying, explore, read lots of books, and start serving. God wants to show you His unique calling for your life.

If you had a dream that now seems impossible, or you wonder if your moment has passed, I want to encourage you. If you are still alive, then the dream is still alive—no matter how dead or impossible it may seem. I pray this book will revive the vision in your heart.

I've started quite a few things in my life. It hasn't always been easy. At times it can be downright hard. It often takes years.

In this book, I want to share the process I stumbled upon for taking a God Idea that seems so overwhelming that you don't know where to start, and breaking it down into smaller steps. I'll tell a little of my story along the way.

One warning: If you don't have a God Idea, this book might still help you, but you'll probably think some parts of it seem a little too hands-off.

You see, this book is for folks who have a dream and vision in their hearts that is so big it will be impossible to accomplish without God's direct intervention and miraculous provision. That's how I define a God Idea.

One of my main focuses is making sure God is always in the center of the mix. If yours isn't that kind of dream, you probably don't need this book.

So if you've got a dream—a really big, crazy vision that is impossible to accomplish without God—I think you might find this book helpful.

Enough set-up. God has a plan for us. We need to get moving!

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

—Ephesians 2:10



I MADE IT OFF THE MOUNTAIN and out of the Russian blizzard safely, but the fire that ignited in my heart was still burning. I started telling everyone about my idea. I was sure they'd all get excited about it too. Instead, I learned something crucial for every visionary.

I met with a prominent Christian leader to share my idea. I spent thirty minutes sharing my newfound life goal, my big God Idea.

The man listened attentively. I told him every angle. I shared everything I could think of that might get him excited about the idea. He seemed to like it. Then came the deathblow question.

"That's great. So what exactly are you doing?"

Grrr. I just told you, dude! I thought, as I smiled graciously. I walked away from that conversation learning an important lesson for anyone who has a vision: you need a clear, one-line explanation of what you are trying to accomplish.

It took me weeks to bumble my way through it. I had to seek lots of counsel and share the idea with many people who gave me confused looks. But I finally came up with a simple, one-line explanation. The next time someone asked me what I was trying to do I had it down cold: "I want to take people on spiritually focused adventure trips around the world."

The best way to refine a one-liner is to say it over and over and over. Talk it out. Watch how people respond. Tap into elements that seem to consistently bring out the "wow" response in people as they listen. Narrow the vision down to the clearest possible explanation.

I've heard it said, "If it's a mist in your head, it will be a fog in the listener's head." It's true. You need a clear, concise explanation of what you are trying to accomplish. It can't be foggy.

I realized, after lots of talking it through, that my ultimate goal was to use travel to give people a bigger perspective on their lives. That was my problem to solve. Make sure you are very specific. Tell people what problem your vision is going to solve. You'll refine it in the process.

Many people share their one-liners with me. I recently heard one that sounded something like this: Create strategic alliances that empower synergistic approaches to complex problem solving.

I read it a few times trying to figure it out. I didn't want to discourage him, but I had to be honest. "That sounds amazing! Lots of fancy, hip words. But what the heck does it mean? What are you trying to do ?"

When I asked him some clarifying questions and we got down to the nuts and bolts it became clear that he still didn't know exactly what he was trying to do. His one-liner had some glamour, but if no one can understand his ultimate goal, it isn't serving its purpose.

I know lots of missionaries who send me newsletters about their work. I'm confident they are doing something of value because I know them. However, even though I support them, I still have no idea what they do. Even when I directly ask them I can't get a clear statement of their main focus. Some have shared that they're struggling to raise funds for very good projects. I wonder if part of their challenge is that they haven't taken the time to define their vision. If you can develop a clear picture, others will get on board. We follow clear visions.

When God gives you a dream or a problem to solve, it usually first appears in a general, overarching idea with very few specifics. You see a problem and want to solve it. I only knew I wanted to help people have experiences that expanded their perspective. It wasn't super clear.

I don't think anyone ever gets a vision for something amazing with all the details exactly laid out. It takes time. It takes talking it out. It takes homing in on exactly what you want to accomplish.

Don't be afraid if your one-liner sounds too big or even impossible. William Wilberforce, the man who is considered to be largely responsible for ending the slave trade in most of the British Empire, had a huge vision. On October 28,1787, he wrote out his one-liner:

"God Almighty has set before me two great objects: the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of morals."

Seriously, Will? Think about this. That was a huge dream. Slavery was so prevalent in his time that I'm certain this goal seemed absolutely impossible, bordering on ridiculous. It would be like saying, "I'm going to eliminate cigarette smoking!"

Guess what? It took forty-six years, but it happened. Wilberforce saw slavery abolished in almost the entirety of the British Empire three days before he went to be with the Lord for eternity. He worked his entire life on that dream.

A single mother I shared this concept with developed this one-liner:

Raise kids who love Jesus and people.

Have you seen this world we live in? Talk about an impossible dream! But God placed that vision in her heart, and she is pursuing it with all she's got.

I don't think there's anything wrong with having a one-liner for every area of your life. In fact, I'll be bold and say I think you need one for every area of your life. I have the guys in my Summit Life Coaching Program write one for family, finances, career, and ministry. It's amazing to see what happens when people write out clear visions for their lives.

God wants to give you a vision for every area of your life.

Like we discussed, developing a one-liner isn't necessarily easy. It will take some time, some thought, and probably a few bumbled attempts at explaining it to people. Don't get discouraged if you are at this phase of the process right now. It will get clearer. As you keep explaining and exploring the problem you want to solve, you will eventually get to a place where you can clearly articulate what you are trying to accomplish.

Once you've got the one-liner, run it past a few folks. See how they respond. Do they understand it? If not, you may need to keep honing it. There is a problem that God has placed you on this earth to solve. You have a unique message to share with the world that will bring God glory.

Pretty confident you've got a good, clear one-liner? Then write it down.


An African friend visiting the US pointed out how strange he thought it was that hospitals have a vision statement on the wall.

"Doesn't everyone know what a hospital is there to do?"

It's kind of funny when you think about it, but the fact is we all have a tendency to forget. I get into a routine and forget why I'm doing what I'm doing all the time. That's why it's so important to write out your one-line vision.

"Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it" (Habakkuk 2:2).

I think the best possible thing you can do is to write your one-liner out in a visible place. Make it large.

When I finally had my one-liner, I ran to the store and picked up a black marker and large poster board. This was the beginning of a process I stumbled upon that has helped me navigate my way through many projects and visions God has given me over the years.


The concept isn't complicated. But it really helps me clarify my vision.

Some people spend thousands of dollars on consultants, displays, and spreadsheets to explain their goal. Not me. No, I was a poor college student. I spent a few bucks, but it served the purpose. I stuck the poster board up on the wall of my bedroom. This was how my Vision Map began.

At the top I wrote out my one-liner in big black letters:

Take people on spiritually focused adventure trips around the world.

The vision greeted me every morning now. It was in front of me. It was clear. I had a tangible, one-line goal to run with.

Several people helped me nail it down. You'll probably need someone to help you do the same. I discovered early on that if I was going to pull off this dream God placed in my heart, I needed some trusted advisors. You will too.

Clarity is the most important thing. I can compare clarity to pruning in gardening. If you are not dear, nothing is going to happen. You have to be clear. Then you have to be confident about your vision. And after that, you just have to put a lot of work in.

—Diane von Furstenberg, Fashion Designer



TAKE A MOMENT RIGHT NOW to memorize this verse: "Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisors they succeed" (Prov. 15:22). Say it a few times to yourself. It's one of the most important principles anyone with a wild idea can ever learn. You need advisors.

When I came back from Russia, all fired up with my wild idea, I ran it past my most trusted advisor: my dad. I told him what I wanted to do. I still wasn't clear what it would look like, but I did my best to explain what I was trying to accomplish.

He loved the idea. Then he did what the best advisors do. He asked questions.


In 1886, Heinrich Hertz discovered that radio waves could be bounced off of solid objects. During World War II, this discovery was developed into something called Radio Detection and Ranging, a.k.a. RADAR.

Radar sends off electromagnetic waves and waits for the waves to bounce off a solid object. When the solid object reflects the signal back in the form of a "blip," the receiver is able to get a feel for what's ahead.

May I suggest that a good advisor should serve like radar?


Excerpted from Vision Map by Joël Malm, Jesse Lipes. Copyright © 2014 Joël Malm. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

So You’ve Got an Idea?
Get a One-Liner
Find Advisors
Draw a Map
Divide and Conquer
Pray, Pray, Pray
Stay Alert
Make a Big Ask
Build a Tribe
Start Small
Take a Risk
Make a Sacrifice (Sort of)
Become You
Adjust the Plan
Become a Waiter
Listen for the Word “GO”
And That’s How You Do It

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Joël and I met at the bottom of the highest mountain on a continent. He didn’t get me to the top by just hoping I’d get there, he walked with me and told me what I might find out about myself on the way. He’s done the same thing with this book. It’s a book about courage and resolve and taking the next steps to live into the big life God made you for. This book is a cool cup of water on a long hike and is a story told by one of the most humble, loving guys I know. Buckle up. You’re going to love the adventure.
Bob Goff, New York Times bestselling author of Love Does and Hon. Consul for the Republic of Uganda

Since the beginning of time, God has called ordinary men and women to live extraordinary lives. Joël Malm walks among those who live life to the fullest, daring to follow God into the unknown, and becoming more Christ-like along the way. This book provides a hands-on guide as to how fulfill your purpose and passion. Prepare to live more courageously with each passing page.
Margaret Feinberg, author of Fight Back with Joy and Wonderstruck

Have you ever had a dream that you didn’t know what to do with? Have you ever hoped for something that seemed impossible? Most of us dream big dreams but we quickly shelve them, settling for the realities of real life. In his book, Vision Map, Joël Malm gives us hope for our dreams…and not just hope but a practical process that moves your dream towards reality. With personal story, practical wisdom, and biblical support, Joël guides you in a journey to realizing the dream God has placed on your heart.
Jenni Catron, church leader, author of CLOUT: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence

Joël has taken his passion for leading real-world expeditions and applied it to helping us navigate our own God-given dreams.
Ben Arment, author of Dream Year

Joël is a man of great character and passion for Jesus. The thing I love most about him is the way he was willing to think outside the box to implement God’s unique calling on his life. The results have been nothing short of amazing!
John Bevere, author, minister, Messenger International

If you've ever wanted to start something, if you've ever had a dream that you were sure the world needed, then this is the book that will get you going.
Jeff Goins, author of The Art of Work and Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life

A simple, practical, powerful method for turning God-given dreams into reality.
James Scott Bell, author and bestselling writing coach

I'm a dreamer. Always have been and always will be, but the greatest source of frustration in my life is bridging the gap between my dreams and reality. I've been waiting for someone to write a book like this that helps every dreamer see the next step before them. I am grateful the book finally exists, and if you are a dreamer you will be too.
Pastor Chris Seay, pastor of Ecclesia Houston

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Vision Map: Charting a Step-by-Step Course for Your Biggest Hopes and Dreams 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a spectacular and inspiring read for ANYONE who has a vision for ANY area of their life. This book makes your dreams seem attainable...because they are with just a little "Vision Map". I enjoyed reading this book, not only as a "how to", but as an adventurous journey of this mans life. This author has encouraged, inspired and given hope to me through this book, to live life to God's fullest potential. I would highly recommend this book to readers because you will put it down feeling like you can conquer the step at a time!
Gregory_Miller More than 1 year ago
I've heard Joël Malm speak.  He has excellent insight on how to get things done, yet knows he has to rely on God for the heavy lifting. If you have ever had a dream, a vision, or a heart’s desire but didn't know what to do with it or how to go about starting it, you  need to read Joël’s book.  He’ll tell you how in simple (not easy) steps.  We all know that no dream will get anywhere if we don’t  do anything.  But, a lot of us don’t know where to start or what path to take to turn a dream into reality.  Vision Map shows you a  simple way to start and proceed on your way to turning your vision into a functioning enterprise. Your path may not be easy or straight.  It will probably have many unexpected twists and turns as well as a few surprises along  the way.  You may even want to give up at times.  Joël covers all this in this handy little volume and shares his own pitfalls and  success stories as he outlines how to start up a dream and bring it to life.  Joël’s advice is simple.  In fact, it’s the most simple,  straight forward advice I've ever seen about doing something with your vision.  If you have a dream, read this!
MarkBrandonSmith More than 1 year ago
This book has helped me create a clear ¿#‎VisionMap¿ for every area of my life. If your wanting to start something or just getting out of college and have big dreams but just don't know how to make them happen; this is the book for you! This read is like a breath of fresh mountain air, I PROMISE you won't be disappointed.