If You Knew Where You Would End Up, The Trip Would Be Easier

I am a map person.  Perhaps one day I’ll be a GPS person.  Probably sooner rather than later.  Especially given my most recent experience with directions downloaded from the internet.  Whenever I am traveling I automatically go out to one of the popular internet sites to get directions from point A to point B to point C and beyond.  I get the route going and coming.  I rarely skip clicking on the option to expand from the single line of “turn right on Confusion Circle” after all I do want to have some idea of the twists, turns, and intricacies of the route ahead.

I really like knowing where I am going, how many miles, and an approximately how long it will take.  Invariably there will be the one out of a hundred set of directions (I actually think it is becoming much more like 1 in 10) that doesn’t get me from point A to point B without some extended adventure.  Oh you know what I’m talking about – as you are driving down the road and see the building (hotel, event venue, client location) you need to reach – and you can’t get there from where you are now.

You religiously follow the directions, you watch the mileage gauge tick by mile after mile – trying to anticipate whether or not the next direction turn “Left on Republic Road” will actually exist or will take you miles beyond any left turn that remotely turns toward your destination.  We all know the feeling of going past our destination, missing a turn, trying to retrace our route from the opposite direction, trying to recognize a vaguely familiar landmark, or …GASP!  Find a place to stop and ask directions.

You know when you have gone too far and begin to judge your location by the direction of the setting sun in relation to the direction you are traveling.  (A bit of moss on the side of a tree or the North Star showing at noon would not be unappreciated right then either!).

Once you have corrected course and located your destination (or some time after you have driven by for the 100th time and still haven’t gotten there), you might have something resembling a “Yogism” go through your mind – “If I had just known how to get here I would have gotten here much sooner.”

Business is frequently like downloading directions from the internet.  With the speed of change and the constant inundation of information, ideas, directions, options, and alternative roads to take, the destination you selected may stay constantly within sight but just out of reach with no clear road to get there.

How do you map a route to your business destination and maintain an awareness of when you will have to find an alternate route – one that isn’t on the map or if it is on the map doesn’t seem to get you to where you want to go?  It takes

  • Specification of destination – a clear understanding of where you want to end up
  • Identification of alternate routes and contingency plans
  • Willingness to acquire and assess to knew data and analyze the deviation
  • Understanding that sometimes you have to go out of your way to get where you are going
  • Ability to acquire additional resources and take more time to get there

When the road is longer, the route is more convoluted, or circumstances direct you to a detour, don’t look at the situation as out of control or beyond your reach.  Instead, look to the opportunities and the lessons that can be found by taking the longer route or the road not planned.  As long as you keep you destination in mind, you can still get there.

Also, keep in mind that sometimes our vision of how to get there – our map – isn’t all it should have been when we started the journey.  Things change and so should we.  We must be able to adapt to and overcome “obstacles”.  Steering a different course may be necessary especially when the one we began doesn’t lead to our intended destination.  Our mode of transportation, the timeline, our resources, and factors outside our control and influence impact how we go. We must go carefully, with intention, with perseverance, and with full knowledge that we may lose our way upon occasion.  But getting lost is part of the growth.  The long and winding road, the path not often taken, the road not chosen by us but for us, gets us to where we ultimately need to go.  After all “If we had just known that was where we were going, we could have gotten there much faster.”

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