Have you recently found yourself in the car, no battery power, no SatNav and only an old scabby A to Z to hopefully get you back on track?  Well the other week I found myself in that exact situation.  I happily took out the Edinburgh A to Z map only to be reminded of how long it was since I’d used it, and how quickly I’d forgotten how to navigate the links between the pages.

After a while I gave up trying to discern where I was and where I intended to be and thought I knew the area well enough to rely on instincts alone.  So, I confidently drove off, congratulating myself along the way of actually how well I was remembering these road, up until the point when I ended up at in a cul-de-sac outside an ex colleague’s house which I’d last visited 15 years ago!

This little detour made me realise how often do we convince ourselves we are on the right track, keep on going, reassuring ourselves we are doing the right thing; only to end up at the wrong destination.  Often on a journey there are moments when we can take a side street or lay-by to refocus, pull out the map again and adjust our route.  Yet most of us are afraid that stopping will actually delay us.

What I noticed on my magical detour was that I began to feel hurried, even though I was not running late for my next appointment, I just had a sense of urgency.  The result of this emotional state was me being less courteous to other drivers and ignoring opportunities to let someone in or out.

All of this got me thinking about what a great metaphor this particular journey was.  How often in business and at home do I stay on a route because I think I know where I am going, blindly going on without stopping to review and adjust and without due consideration for others along the way?

As my journey of reflection was taking me to Ulab it’s only fitting to be reminded that the journey through the ‘U’ is half your time spent observing and reflecting and the other half on co-creating and collaborating.  You can’t get the end without successfully starting.

So how do you change a pattern or habit?

  1. Look – take time to look at the situation from all angles and ask yourself have you been here before and are you operating on auto pilot?
  2. Feel – take a physical check on what your body, heart and soul are telling you about the situation.  Look for the body signals that unconsciously speak the truth of the matter.
  3. Stop – take time out as action requires pre-planning.  Knowing where you are going, who with, how they will help or what you need along the way are necessary stopping questions to help you succeed.
  4. Action – identify what specifically you need to happen

So the next time I find myself in a car, relying on my poor sense of direction I’ll take more time to observe and reflect before revving up and heading out into the unknown.