While driving back from an appointment, I got trapped in a pocket of cars going slightly under the speed limit. If I stayed with it, I would not be able to move over and would miss my exit. If I missed my turn off, it would be two more exits before I could turn around, and I’d be many miles from my correct route. The road to your destiny is a lot like being on a freeway. If half the fun is getting there, what are some key steps to maximizing the ride?
Staying on point
Maybe you shared your destination with a few “friends” and suddenly it feels like you’re trapped in a knot of cars that are not moving at the speed you were before. Maybe they’re keeping you from moving ahead, slowing you down, blocking you from your goals. Maybe you’re letting them lead instead of taking the wheel. If you’re following, they may go in a different direction than where you want to go, or shield you from a perceived bad experience “for your own good” and force a detour.
Going where all men have gone before
You can go where everyone else is going and get their results. But, if we’re following the crowd, we’re playing safe. Playing safe is playing small. By being one of the crowd, or settling for someone else’s idea of destiny, we’re not fulfilling our unique calling. We might even compromise our unique path to stay with that well-meaning crowd. Some of them may not want to go as far as you do, get distracted by sights along the way, or attempt to change your goals to fit their comfort level. Are others threatened, intimidated or jealous of your destiny? They may try to sabotage you. Honor your unique calling by guarding your plans, and trust their worthiness.
Activity is not the same as action
If we’re only driving around on the outer belt, we might even look like we’re going somewhere. Constantly moving might fool people, and even ourselves for a while, but keeping busy doesn’t always get us where we need to go. We need to make decisions: where to turn on and off and keep moving forward. Otherwise, all the energy expended is wasted, leaving our tank empty and stranded by the side of the road.
Have you ever been behind a slow moving truck? Not only is our forward momentum stunted, we experience frustration by hindrances that block our progress. Some hindrances are easy to get around but the ones that aren’t may prevent us from seeing what’s ahead, whether opportunities or disasters, leaving us unable prepare for them. We might need to take an alternate route or a parallel road. If we follow a slow-moving truck too long, we might even get lulled into complacency, matching their pace instead of our own. Have you ever gotten used to following a vehicle and missed your turn? By following blindly we can miss important signs.
The Value of Mentors
People who teach us to drive provide us with a set of tools that we use for the rest of our lives. We don’t keep asking them along for the ride. When we’re learning, they guide us until the material is second nature and we pass the test. After that, it’s up to each of us to find additional tools to reach our goals.
A mentor can be refreshing. They’re not always with us for the long haul, but they show up just when we need them to offer support, encouragement and a bit of wisdom. They can help us navigate detours, avoid pitfalls and shorten the length of our learning because they’ve already traveled the road and they’re familiar with the terrain. They may offer alternate routes or share shortcuts that help us reach our goals.
Remember the map
It goes without saying that to stay on course, most ideas need a plan, a blueprint, or a map. Otherwise, how will you know when you’ve reached your destination? What if you hop in your car to take a trip. Wonderful! You can start without a plan. Beginnings are exciting. But eventually, to take advantage of momentum, you’ll come to a crossroads where you need to decide which way to turn. Knowing whether you want to go to Miami or San Francisco will help you get there in the least amount of time.
What does this mean for you?
At some point, we need to put the key in the ignition and hit the gas. Where are you on your journey? Are you stuck in a loop? Trapped behind a truck or being held back by a group of cars? By recognizing where you are, you can break free or get the kind of help you need to keep moving forward. There are local meetups, networking events, the Small Business Administration, as well as Facebook and LinkedIn groups, most of which are free. For the investment of a little time, you can connect with interesting people traveling a similar road who can help you along your journey, and have fun along the way. And, no matter where you are in your journey, someone else is coming behind you that you can also assist.
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