Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Maps and Destinations

Fitzhugh Dodson

“The map? I will first make it.”

It’s been a long day and I really don’t want to write.  I’m still tired from the long drive and today, while it didn’t include as much driving, was just as busy.  On the other hand though, I got some things accomplished.  I got some significant things accomplished.  Why do I say they were significant?  They got me closer to my goals.  Now by “closer” I mean, one step closer.  I do not mean leaps and bounds.  But a step in the right direction is better than a mile in the wrong direction. 
There are few things more frustrating than realizing that I’m going the wrong way and then having to turn back.  I did a bit of that on my drive this weekend.  I’ve done a lot more of it in my life.  Fortunately, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better at paying attention to the signs.  There’s the classic stereotype of men who don’t like to consult maps.  I’ve never been one of those men; I love maps.  But my love for maps didn’t seem to extend to my personal decisions for much of my life. 
The truth was, for years, I had no map.  Oh, I had a vague destination:  I had this professional goal or that personal goal, but no clear direction.  And for many years, even my destination was not the right one for me.  The worst part of it was sometimes I veered only a few degrees off, but continuing that trajectory resulting in me being miles from my destination.
I have made a lot of mistakes and taken a lot of wrong turns in life.   All of these times had some or all of the following in common:
·     I didn’t pay attention to those who were older and wiser than me.
·     I didn’t pay attention to my own heart.
·     I didn’t pursue my destination with diligence.
·     I was pursuing too many destinations at the same time.
·     I was taking too many detours or making too many unnecessary stops.
·     The journey was neither fun…nor interesting.
·     The destination was neither fun…nor interesting.
·     My traveling companions weren’t always the best.
·     The ones who were good always, unintentionally, made me feel inferior because they were on the right road and it was obvious I wasn’t.
·     I wasn’t relaxed and I rarely took time to pull off the road and get my bearings.
·     I was often running on empty.

Today, I find the more often I consult my maps, the better I feel.  My maps include the following:
·      Prayer.
·      Self-discipline.
·      Trusted counsel.
·      Hard work.
·      Reading.
·      Consistency.
·      Looking at my goals constantly.
·      Determination.
·      Love.

There may be more, but those are the things that keep me on the right road and lead me to the right destination consistently.  I still take too many detours and make too many stops.  I still get lost or uncertain sometimes.  But I’m moving forward with a certainty that I’ve rarely had before.  I Get Started and I Keep Going…every day.