Earlier this year, we had record rainfall in the local area. The generous showers may have been a welcome sight to budding spring flowers, but not so much for area drivers as it flooded major roadways for days at a time. One of the impacted roads happened to be the one I take to work each day. Great – now what do I do? I knew I had a destination and I was forced to find another route to get there.
I had a few options, and because the road was closed for about a week, I think I must have tried them all. I was desperately seeking the route that would get me to work or home in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of hassle. One of my phone’s navigation apps would give me optional routes to my destination based on current traffic patterns. While each route would get me to my destination within a few minutes of each other, they would also take me on completely different roads. One route took me to an area I’d never driven through before. It wasn’t very far at all from where I live, and yet I discovered places so close to me that I never knew existed – like a nice park or popular restaurant. The next day I tried another route that took me WAY out of the way…taking a lot longer than it really should have but I got there eventually. Several times, my smooth talking driving companion (the system calls her “Jane”) would instruct me to take a turn, obviously unaware that the road she was leading me to was closed. When that happened, I ignored her advice and took another direction that I knew was better. I hoped she would quickly get the hint and create a new route for me: “Recalculating,” said Jane.
During my daily commute, I’d see other drivers taking the same busy alternate routes as they too tried to navigate their way to their own destinations. I suppose they were getting the same advice from “Jane.”
So, what do you do when you have a fixed destination but many options to get there? I began to wonder if this is sort of how we go after our own goals, or “destination” in life, whether personal or professional. We all set goals and have things we hope to accomplish – that place we’re trying to get to; and there are many routes we could take to get us there. You might take a road you’ve never been on before and discover new and exciting things along the way. Or you might take a route that takes you so far off of the path that you had originally mapped out and it takes you a lot longer to get there than you expected. Or you might hear voices telling you how they think you should get there, but your instincts tell you that there’s a better way that’s right for you, so you change direction – “Recalculating.” Thanks, Jane.
What did that week teach me? When you have a “destination” there are many roads that could get you there. You can take the unfamiliar road and discover new things. You can take a route that takes longer, but sometimes slow and steady wins the race – and you don’t have to listen to all of the voices in your ear if their way of getting there doesn’t seem right for you. As we approach the New Year and find ourselves setting new goals, keep in mind that there’s never one surefire way to reach a goal. Often times you have to consider the options and make adjustments along the way, with the goal still in mind.
Until that road reopened, my route each day was different, but I always knew where I was headed. No matter which way I went and no matter how long it took to get there, I always looked forward to hearing “Jane” utter those famous last words, “You have reached your destination.”