Are You on the Right Path?
One time I was out biking with my son, and we were NOT having an easy time. The trail we were following seemed, well, not well-kept or otherwise clear to follow. We were getting tangled in branches and weeds, bumping along as best we could, but it seemed inevitable that we could get lost or hurt (or both). Both of us were getting pretty frustrated until we realized that the ACTUAL bike path was about FOUR FEET to the left.
You read that right. We were not even ON the path to begin with! No wonder we were having so much trouble!
Of course, it was a huge relief when we were back on the right trail and had confidence that we were headed in the right direction. Later that day at home, it dawned on me how parallel this was to what we do to ourselves at work: We slog along down a certain road, struggling, looking for direction, pulling ourselves out of the weeds, investing time and energy, and then … sometimes … we’re not even on the right path!
It made me think of all the times I’ve had to stop myself and ask, “Am I spending my time solving the BEST problem right now?” Because if I’m not, I know I need to change course. I need to find the path—often just a few feet away—that will get me where I want to go. I need to spend my time using my highest, best thinking, and problem-solving skills. And so do you.
As a business owner, YOU are leading the way. You can work hard here or there or somewhere in between. You can devote time to this project or that one; put energy into this strategy or that one. But if you work hard down the wrong path, you are wasting precious resources. Friends, don’t scratch yourself up in the weeds!
The work I had been doing on the wrong bike path wasn’t doing me any good. I worked harder, but all I was doing was hustling the wrong way. If I hadn’t stopped and raised my own awareness, moving over to the RIGHT path, I would’ve kept going the way of no results.
If you find yourself digging into your work and the results you’re after aren’t happening, take a better look at your surroundings. Reassess the situation. Ask yourself, “Am I still on the right path? Or am I in the right weeds?” The grind is necessary, yes, but it only has value IF you are on the right path.
So, how do you make sure you’re headed in the right direction? You check in with your vision. You reflect on your calling as a leader. You look at the big-picture work; your why for your company. You should be solving problems and tackling projects that reach for the fulfillment of those intentions. If what you’re working on doesn’t answer those outcomes loud and clear, it’s time to shift over. Get on the clearer path.
Remember that you chose this career of entrepreneurship. You sought work that had meaning beyond yourself. You wanted to do great things for your team, your students, and your community. Now, you are responsible for staying on track. And you can do it just by checking in with where you ARE spending your time and energy and where you COULD spend it.
Don’t get stuck doing work that’s not serving your goals or your higher purpose. Look to your side. Maybe the smarter path is just a few feet away. 🙂