When we (#teamNRG or #BeAGameChanger) work with people one of the first things we do if help them find clarity. We use a few different methods to do this, but one of the areas we cover is the end goal. We work hard helping the individual figure out what they want, where they are going, why they are going there and how they want to be when they get there?
One of the exercises we use “Begin with the end in mind” is the second of the ‘seven habits of highly effective people’ by Dr. Stephen R. Covey. With this statement he means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.
As part of this though process, we encourage people to develop a “Destination Postcard” describing the end place in all its technicolor detail. Paint it, write it, craft it - how you do this doesn’t matter, but you must work at developing the postcard. This proactive thought process helps keep focus on the prize over the longer term.
People then start their journey, setting off toward their “destination”. Making plans, acting, taking opportunities along the way, trying new routes. We feel great that we are on the road; we are getting there. Time passes and we think as long as we keep the destination postcard in our minds, we ctan’t go too wrong, can we?
This last week/weekend I started to feel a little out of sorts. I have a very strong 5-year destination mapped out. I have my plan and action it daily. I’ve been flexible with opportunities that have come my way and changed direction when needed. My fundamentals (values, vision, mission) are strong and true; in fact, they are getting stronger each day.
So, why do I feel a little off track?
I am wondering if it’s because I am relying too much on a figurative ‘Sat Nav’. Do you know what I mean? Maybe I’m in autopilot mode letting an unknown force decide which direction I go in rather than making conscious decisions on the journey myself. Have you ever had that sort of experience with your Sat Nav/Google Maps?
You know where you are going but you are not truly confident on the best way to get there so, you put the sat nav on, plug in the postcode and set off. All goes well until the machine starts taking you a different way than you would have normally gone. Now, this in itself isn’t bad. We should all try new things now and again. But when it happens time and time again maybe you have to ask yourself why.
Recently I started to question my real Sat Nav/Google Maps. Although it was taking me to the places I wanted to go, one of the routes took me over 70 miles further and only saved me 6mins jounrey time. Why did Google Maps believe I would be happy spending more on fuel to save 6mins? Why did the machine make that decision? (Clearly it doesn’t know me!)
This situation got me thinking…Why do we just trust someone or something to tell us what to do and where to go? How much do we trust that person or thing to know whats best for us? How well do they know us?
Sat Nav’s and Google Maps have preset decisions built into them; fastest route or motorways or avoid tolls etc. The point I am making is that these electronic devices have already been preprogrammed with a default setting and if you haven’t taken the time to change those settings to what matters to you, you could be going to the right place, you may end up at your destination, but you may have the journey you should have. You may be forced to into situations and places you wouldn’t really want to go to.
“A wise man makes his own decisions. An ignorant man follows public opinion.” - Chinese Proverb
As Dr. Stephen R. Covey said “begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.
You can’t leave this stuff to other forces, other people, Google Maps. It’s our individual responsibility to make the choices on the journey that matter to us. In effect I’m suggesting we all need to check in with the map now and again, decide to go left or right rather. Figure out if we need a short break or the chance to run up that mountain. You making your own decisions has to be better than having someone make those decisions for us.
Questioning is Key. Being present enough, taking a moment and proactively making the decision.
Are you on the right road to your “destination postcard”?
How often do you check your alignment, or read the map?
Have you been present and questioned your actions in the moment at the time? Or just fallen back on the safe preprogrammed decisions?
Are you letting others direct and move you or are you treading your own path? Making your own way?
I’ve decided to be more present in my decision making, turning the figurative Sat Nav off for a while. Who’s with me…Let’s see what adventure that brings.