Successful way-finding

by Kate on September 10, 2010

Maps are essential to help plan a journey, but it pays to remember that the map is not the territory. To reach our goals, we need to navigate successfully through life and business in a world that we can’t always control, but where we can always choose our response to what happens.

“You can’t explore from the air, Maddox. If you could explore from the air, life would be very simple.” The English Patient

A few years ago, on a visit to Beijing, I found myself in a city where the maps and the ‘real world’ seemed quite different. Roads and buildings existed which weren’t on the map, restaurants mentioned in the latest guidebook had seemingly vanished and sometimes a fascinating detour took me off the planned route. Quite often the day’s journey didn’t take place as I expected, yet despite this I reached the iconic sites I’d hoped to visit.

It’s a bit like that in business. Goals and planning are essential if we are not simply to wander aimlessly, hoping we’ll chance upon a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Still, things happen that we can’t control and occasionally we encounter new opportunities that weren’t on the plan.

This week I was reminded of the balancing act that’s required to adjust course to take account of the twists and turns of real business life. Some days priorities shifted unexpectedly, some things on my plan didn’t get done and some unplanned but important things did. It was up to me to deal with all that and still progress towards my goals for the week.

Here are some of the things helped me:

  • Having my big picture goals clear. They are written down and this week I’ve reminded myself of them every morning.
  • Knowing my weekly goals and being prepared to shift priorities if needed.
  • Reminding myself of what I’ve accomplished each day.
  • Looking ahead to what’s to be done rather than focusing on what’s not happened.
  • Knowing that I’ve made commitments to complete certain actions and achieve certain goals — and having a time set to account for the results.

For me, Friday is a great day to acknowledge accomplishments for the week and reflect on new learnings. What results can you celebrate today?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kate Groom October 23, 2010 at 8:19 am

Hi Tim,
Thanks for stopping by and letting me know what appeals to you. It’s great to have feedback on the images and idea that resonate with people.
It’s also fascinating to find connections through social technology with people all over the world.
Enjoy your journey!

2 Tim October 20, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Hi Kate,
I came across your website via LinkedIn. I enjoyed your thoughts on maps, the journey and enjoying the scenery on the way.
Well done! Travel well.

3 Kate Groom September 16, 2010 at 6:31 am

Hi Nancy,
Thanks for sharing your AHA moment and for sure, let’s set up a weekly celebration process – it would be a great help for me too!

4 Nancy (aka moneycoach) September 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I just had an AHA moment – I realized how much energy I spend feeling badly about the things I *didn’t* do compared to the energy I spend appropriately noting what I *did* accomplish. So — I’m going to make a conscious effort (perhaps virtually with you, every Friday?) of celebrating what I have done.

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