This happens to me all the time. Tell me if it sounds familiar.
I’m heading to someone’s house or maybe we’re grabbing dinner at our favorite restaurant (I’m thinking pre-COVID times, of course). So, I hop in the car, turn the ignition, throw on my seatbelt, and then open Google Maps.
I proceed to enter a destination that I’ve been to many times, a destination that I could easily drive to without any help. Yet I insist on always having my little robotic assistant guide me.
I simply want to get to my destination as efficiently as possible.
I think it’s our instinct to reach for a map to seek the most optimal, tried-and-true route to wherever we’re heading. I don’t see anything wrong with that…when we know the destination.
As we talked about last week, we’re currently at an inflection point. Life’s already changed quite a bit, yet we both know that it’s continuing to change. We’re adapting to this new normal just in time for the new new normal that’s just around the corner.
We don’t know what’s on the horizon. We don’t know what’s next. A big mystery like this is a problem when we’re using a map.
How do we continue forward when we don’t know what the future has in store?
What do we do when we don’t even know our destination?
For years I’ve been working with entrepreneurs and there’s one analogy that I’ve come back to time and time again.
No matter what you’re striving to achieve, there is no map.
Having a map would imply that there are immutable steps to produce the results you want. But that map doesn’t exist.
A map like that is only written in retrospect. A successful entrepreneur can sell you the exact map they followed, marginalia and all, yet you’ll find that at every turn the landmarks have changed, the roads have different names, and that they’re now somehow in a completely different city. This map is not only worthless, but harmful.
As we’re navigating these tough times we need to tap into our flexibility to remain resilient. We need to continue heading in the appropriate direction, but we need to keep our hands on the wheel and use our insight and intuition to take the turns that will keep us on our journey.
While it would be nice to have a map, there isn’t one. There is, however, the next best thing and it’s already in our possession.
We need to calibrate our compass.
Our compass is what guides us toward our destination. Every step of the way our compass ensures that we’re closer to the big picture vision of where we want to be. It does this without ever telling us when or where to turn. We have to use our insight and intuition for that.
All we need to do for the compass is define where we want our general destination to be.
The destination won’t be precisely the same when you get there. And that’s ok. That’s why we need a compass.
And the destination that you envision won’t be the same as mine and it shouldn’t be.
Your compass has no expectations. It shouldn’t be calibrated to impress anyone. Your compass is yours and yours alone. It exists to better your life in the ways that you see fit.
In my case when, over a decade ago, I was working in a cubicle, my compass was calibrated to the lofty goal of freedom.
But, more specifically, I wanted to be in control of how I allocated my time.
I wanted the freedom to choose my own hours. The freedom to get adequate sleep while still spending my most productive hours doing the things that make me come alive. (If you’re curious, my best hours are late in the evening. For example, it’s currently 11:53pm as I’m writing this.)
Once I had my compass calibrated I knew precisely how to get there and the rest is history. Easy peasy, right?
Well, no. That’s not even close to accurate. Calibrating my compass was only the first step. I had no idea that my journey would involve losing my job and being thrust head first into the entrepreneurial world without any foundation in place.
But that’s a story for another time. Today we’re talking about your compass.
A calibrated compass is used to inform your decisions.
You’ll stay nimble. You’ll reflect and pivot as need be, but you’ll have a reference point. You’ll find that you’ll be continuously asking yourself a simple question,
Does this help me get closer to my destination?
Simply turn to your compass for the answer.
We’re never in control of what happens, but we are in control of our actions and our actions are what impact our outcomes.
As we talked about last week, a pivot is an intentional adjustment based on new information and circumstances. The journey toward your destination will certainly be filled with pivots and abundant change. Your compass is simply the tool for dealing with change.
And just to remind you, a pivot isn’t starting anew. A pivot isn’t pressing the reset button to start the game back at Level 1.
Everything that we’ve accomplished to this point and all that we’ve gained from our bumps, our bruises, and our wins is joining us in the next phase of our journey.
You’re more experienced and more capable today than you’ve ever been before.
So let’s do this. All that’s left is to calibrate your compass. And then, of course, don’t forget to use it.
There’s no need to look for a map when you’re drawing your own.
So tell me, where are you headed in your journey? And when was the last time you consulted your compass?
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out.