Sometimes The Right Direction Is Behind You

Sometimes The Right Direction Is Behind You:

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Have you ever listened closely to the flight attendant’s cabin instruction as you prepare to launch into the wild blue yonder? Too often we politely ignore their routine. But on the times I do pay attention I take special notice of the next phrase:

“Please take a few moments now to locate your nearest exit.
In some cases, your nearest exit may be behind you.”

Notice it? Sometimes your nearest exit may be behind you. In other words, sometimes, in order to go the correct direction you must go the opposite way you are facing. Especially if it is an emergency! You must know where you are in light of where the nearest exit is in order to safely evacuate the plane.

How many times have we seen a driver, realizing they have just passed where they intended on going, execute an emergency U-Turn? Dangerous every single time. Their focus is only what’s behind, and not what’s coming at them. Instead of planning their retreat they react and ignore the safety of everyone else. Even themselves.

When there is a store closure it is generally a planned event that may take weeks, if not months, to execute. Seldom is it “here today, and gone tomorrow.”

I awoke thinking, “Sometimes we have to backup in order to go forward.” Sometimes, to move ahead, you have to start over, or start again. Reboot. Restart. Rethink. Retool. Redo. Begin, again.

So. For the remainder of this week, if I know myself very well at all, this thought will be my driving force. What am I here for? Am I going where I originally intended? Is where I was going where I still need to go today? How will I know I’ve arrived? What are my hindrances? Obstacles? Opportunities? What needs to change? Where can I find direction? Are there new efficiency possibilities I need to address? How do I get to where I need to be? Is up still up or is it in another direction? (Thinking about astronauts in space…)

Question: Am I missing anything?

Again, if I know myself very well at all, I will start the paper trail of answering these questions only to find a deeper nest of questions I’ve not thought of. Sometimes answers only produce more questions. This can be a fun game of looking for the lowest common denominator, or it can create frustrations like digging a hole in a sand box. Every scoop removed only causes more to slough in.

In my professional life I have had to re-invent myself several times. I say this lightly but it’s not an action I take lightly. Information Technology is a constantly evolving field. Skills come, just about as easily, they head for File 13. Perhaps this is true about every field, but imagine if I still held onto this ancient knowledge as the only way to store data. Remember the Keypunch Card?

Generally, I kept my focus in two places. Right in front of me, and several moves ahead. That way I could start preparing “now” for what I need to do “next”. Trends could pop up and I wanted to be prepared for the next new thing as quickly as possible.

Still, this constantly moving target called “next” never stays in the same place. You must keep scouting ahead to make sure what you think is “next” is really the best place to go.

It’s almost like playing the Stock Market game. You gamble your hard earned dollars on where you think a particular company is going and plop down your stash. Will the stock go up? Down? Can you spot the trend and get out when it’s appropriate?

I know someone who bought Braniff stock just weeks before they belly-upped… I mean, can we not trust their motto? “We Better Be Better, We’re Braniff”. I flew them in the late 70’s and early 80’s while living in Alaska.

Sometimes you must back up, re-think forward momentum,
set a new plan in order, and restart your forward motion,
without changing your end goal.

Early this morning a news item caught my attention. Volvo says that any new vehicle, or revamp of an existing vehicle, after 2019 will no longer focus on using the conventional gasoline engine. It will only focus on hybrid or EV. [Source] Sounds like a leap of faith that this is the¬†only way to go. What is their end goal? To produce a quality product. What’s changing? The internal combustion engine seems to be dying a quicker death than many of us ever thought possible. Are they headed in the correct direction? Time will tell.

Here’s my thought for today. Know where you are headed. Plan to go there as efficiently as possible. Be prepared for divergent directions and needs, but keep your eye on the end goal.

As a Christian, I have learned to keep my eye on the goal, but the journey to that goal is just as important as reaching for the prize. The Apostle Paul speaks to the church of Ephesus, and The Message translation states it like this:

You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. (Ephesians 4:4 MSG)

He goes on to describe the sameness of all Christians headed on the path of life. One Lord. One Faith. One Baptism. One God. One Father who is above all, through all and IN you all. From the foundation of the church in the book of Acts, until Paul continues the theme in his letters, there was this thought that rang out for  every one of them.

Singleness of Heart.

They were focused with a single vision. The goal ahead, and the road before. The goal never changes, but the road will have many a dip and turn. You will need to plan for the challenges of the road, but your goal along the route should never change. Keep your focus. Keep your eye on the prize. (Philippians 3:14)

That’s where I’m headed over the next several days. Keeping my focus, but preparing for the challenges of the daily road.