A number of years ago on a trip to Italy with my husband and our dear friends, we were driving through the Tuscan countryside on the way to a restaurant. The GPS device in our car took us through numerous twists and turns, until we hit a dirt road with no lights. Three of us knew instantly that something was wrong, but our driver insisted that the GPS woman was right and kept going, all the way to the point where we were about to drive off a cliff. Finally figuring out that something was wrong, we turned around and headed back to the main road, but not before encountering an elderly woman standing in our way, holding a shotgun pointed right at us. Knowing we were now on personal property, we sped away towards safety.
This experience led to my belief that our lives do not come with directions, a road map, or a GPS device that we can fully rely on. This is true of our careers and business ventures as well. It’s important to understand, as you embark on a new business endeavor, or continue on the entrepreneurial path you’re on – that it is not about the destination, but rather the journey.Our lives do not come with directions, a road map, or a GPS device that we can fully rely on. Click To Tweet
The journey of your personal and professional life will take numerous twists and turns. You will undoubtedly face roadblocks, which may even take you on a different route than the one you originally planned.
In the beginning of your career, when the possibilities seem endless, you might start off on a four-lane highway, speeding toward your desired goals. At some point, you decide that other things, such as a personal life, are more important, and you want to slow down a bit and veer off to a two-lane highway. For many of us, as we either reach key milestones or figure out that our original goals need to change, the urge to take a different exit becomes pressing, and you slow down to drive the scenic route on a one-lane road.
Some of these changes might be planned in advance but others will not. The secret to a successful journey is to be able to take a long look in the rear-view mirror and figure out if you are on the right road. Are you engaged at work? Are you passionate about what you do? Do you long to vote yourself off the corporate island and become an entrepreneur? If you run your own business, are you questioning that decision? Do you need to reevaluate and change your brand?The secret to a successful journey is to be able to look in the rear-view mirror and figure out… Click To Tweet
It’s important to frequently take the time to pause, reflect on where you are now and assess where you want to go. If you find you are not at the right destination, then it’s time to recalculate the journey and establish new milestones to drive toward. There’s no limit on how many times the path can change, it’s all about constantly redesigning the journey.
Here are some inspiring thoughts to remember as you redesign your journey:
- Be patient, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your new life.
- Be open to the possibilities and don’t dismiss something without thinking it through.
- Always walk towards something better, rather than running away from what’s not working.
- Don’t go through this journey alone; it’s much more enriching to share the road, and it often takes a village to create a masterpiece.
- Remember one of the greatest lessons Steve Jobs taught us when he said, “Passion is the difference between having a job or having a career.”
Failing to look in the mirror might lead you to detour off the road, becoming disengaged and frustrated by a journey filled with wrong twists and turns. There is no right and wrong set of directions for your life and career journey. This is not someone else’s journey – your parents, colleagues, friends or loved ones – it is yours.
Each of us has our own path that we need to follow. It’s all about being willing to take that long look, as many times as necessary, and allow yourself to accept what you see reflected there. Understanding this will allow you to pass by or to recalculate entirely with less hesitation.
Every one of us is our own driver on the journey towards engagement and happiness. It doesn’t mean at different points we can’t have a navigator in the front seat or other companions on the drive, but it’s all about owning your personal life and career journey.Every one of us is our own driver on the journey towards engagement and happiness. Click To Tweet
Ruth K. Ross is a speaker, author, and engagement evangelist. Her recent book, Coming Alive: The Journey to Reengage Your Life and Career, is based on Ross’ own experiences and research, exploring the epidemic of employee disengagement in Corporate America. Follow her at @ruthkross.