After I had lived in S. Korea for about five years, my family finally came to visit me. I knew this might be my only chance for them to experience what I loved about Korea, so I carefully planned the itinerary.
- I checked event and performance schedules
- I pre-purchased tickets to shows I didn’t want to miss
- I mapped out routes to visit my favorite locations
- I considered what foods I wanted them to try
- I recruited a friend to help me rent a car for a portion of their visit
Most people will put a lot of time and effort into planning their vacations, but how many put the same time and effort into planning their life?
The Law of Navigation
One of the 21 Laws of Leadership is the Law of Navigation – “Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.” John Maxwell says that navigators “have a vision for getting to their destination, they understand what it will take to get there, they know who they’ll need on the team to be successful, and they recognize the obstacles long before they appear on the horizon.”
I find two keys in this passage:
- The first point is to have a clear picture of the destination.
- The second is to have a solid understanding of your departure point.
If you were planning a road trip, you wouldn’t say, “I’m going to the South.” Instead you would say, “I’m going to Orlando, Florida, to visit Disney World,” or “I’m going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.”
Then you would consider your departure point – I live near Washington, DC, so I know I would have to drive south. Once the starting and ending points are determined, the rest of the details begin falling into place.
Navigating Your Goals
A common mistake people make when applying this to goal setting is believing they need to chart out every step before they take any action. That would be like saying, “I can’t go to Orlando because I don’t know what the road conditions in Atlanta will be this time of year.”
You will never see the middle of the journey clearly. You can only envision the destination and see the next few steps clearly.
While it’s true that a good navigator is aware of potential problems, it is also true that there is more than one way to go from Point A to Point B. The best navigators have previewed possible alternate routes to avoid those obstacles.
The important point is to start. There will be obstacles, and you will handle them when you encounter them. As John Maxwell has said, “Everything worthwhile is uphill.”
By the end of their time in Korea, my family understood what it was that I loved about the country and why I continued to live so far away. Because I took the time to think through what I wanted to accomplish during those ten days and the experiences I wanted my family to have, we ended up having a great trip.
Planning + Action = Successful Accomplishment
What action have you been putting off? What do you need to start this week? Today? This afternoon?