Straight Line or Zig Zag to the Destination?

What does the path looks like to your goals?

I listened to a great talk recently; the essence of which was about the path taken to get to our goals.

The video talk was a beautiful story about a grandfather and his grandson one winter’s day-who headed out to visit neighboring family whose farm was a few miles away from theirs.

Upon arriving at the farm they both exit the car- the grandfather headed straight to the main farm-house where everyone was.path

The grandson took a circuitous route. He stopped by the barn to check out the cows and other animals, he stopped by a paddock to admire the beautiful horses, he stopped by a pond that was some ways off the path to admire the marine life.  He stopped to talk with some farm workers who were out doing their jobs.

About twenty minutes or more of arriving at the farm- the grandson showed up at the main farm-house where his grandfather was waiting for him.  In an irritated voice the grandfather chided him for dawdling and showed his grandson how quickly he arrived at the farm house by pointing out to his grandson his footsteps.

There was a straight line of footsteps representing the grandfather’s journey.  He then drew his grandson’s attention to his own footsteps that zig zagged all over the expansive farm-yard.

Straight line to the destination or a detour?

The grandson looked and was quiet for a while then he said to his granddad “You got here faster but though it took me longer, I learned so much more about the farm on my way here”

This story is indicative of just how truly diverse and zig zagged the paths many of us took to arrive at what we have come to know as our true calling.

Having a plan is a great way to get to our destination, yet not many of us realize the plan does not always go the way the eagle flies straight and without detour. Knowing we need to enjoy the journey while embracing the detours is critical to the success of getting to or finding our calling.

The many detours along the journey are designed to temper us and make us stronger in preparation for getting to our destination.  It is the detours not the achievement of our goals- that actually shape us and strengthen us.

For those of us who are deeply aware of this the detours are not a surprise- it is for those who miss the lessons because they are solely focused on the destination.

How to find the good in a detour?

Part of recognizing you are on the right path even if it looks different from where you started out-is the power behind taking time to reflect and adjust as needed. If you are a leader who mires yourself in constantly moving and doing- you will miss out on the powerful lessons the detours bring.

You may achieve your goal but lack the requisite foundation on which to sustain it.  In fact, you could say the detours are the foundation re-enforcers-they strengthen the values and principles on which you lead.  This is critical, because when you ‘arrive’ at your goal you inherit a whole new set of challenges and expectations.  

So, recognize the zig zag path to your destination is to be celebrated and seen as your personal classroom of great and practical teachings. Learn the lessons and learn them well because you will call upon them once you arrive at your destination.

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Here’s to loving how you live, work and play!

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