Where Leaders Come to Think

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You Are Here!


Driving home from Des Moines, Iowa the team and I paused briefly at a rest stop. I like rest stops because they always have interesting facts about the state I am traveling in. My favorite part of taking a rest (beside the bathroom) is looking at the maps. Rest stops are famous for the large map that shows a star and a circle with the words written –

“You Are Here”

I confess I look behind the star at where I have been. Then, like most weary travelers, I lament about how far I have yet to travel. In moments like these, I realize life really is a journey.

However, life doesn’t always come with directions to keep us orientated. Much of our journey feels as if we are traveling at night with no streetlights, street signs or headlamps. Life can feel like a mapless world of speed and darkness.

Most often my gut reaction is to hit the gas and drive fast until I see the light of day. This often leads to a mixed bag of leadership wins and loses.

I long for a map – or at least a way to get my life’s journey oriented. Can you relate?

Often times, the map I yearn for never appears. But, I have found that there are three simple tools you can utilize that will keep your body, mind and soul focused on where you are going and where you have been.

3 Simple Tools For The Weary Traveler

  • Goals

Every since I had the privilege of breakfast with Zig Ziglar I have taken my goals seriously. My very first teachings were on goals, borrowed from Zig and even now useful. The best part of using Goals as a tool is they help to orientate. Here is where I have been, where I am at now, and where I need to go. Spending fifteen minutes a week setting goals is like stopping at a well equipped rest area with a great map. The only difference is that goal setting allows you to be the map maker as well as the traveler.

  • Gratitude

Whenever I get frustrated along life’s journey (and it happens often) my first line of defense is gratitude. No matter the situation when I am grateful I begin to see things from a powerful perspective. A perspective that doesn’t leave me in self-pity, anger or despair. I love to count my blessings and show gratitude for what is working in my life. This way I don’t constantly focus on what is not. Gratitude is a simple yet powerful tool that I rely on to give me the strength to persevere.

  • God

I can’t help but be thankful that I am a person of faith. Learning to walk with God has elevated my thinking beyond the clouds. This faith-filled vision sheds light all along my journey. It’s nice to know that in the darkest moments when I’m tempted to close my eyes and put the pedal to the metal – God is with me. Simple spiritual disciplines help me to navigate an unknown future with clarity.

From one sojourner to another if you’re feeling weary of the journey – give these three simple tools a try. Set clear and measurable goals on a regular basis, End each day in gratitude for what did work and finally connect with God and give your faith a chance to illuminate. These tools are like stopping at a clean rest area, learning something new about Iowa and finding a little “relief”.

What tool would you recommend for the tool box?  (Please share in the comment section below.)

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  1. Eddy

    Great Insight…so true, we want to put the “pedal to the metal” and get through the dark times, rather than keep a consistent pace and enjoy the moments to reflect as we press forward.

    • Mark Mathia
      Mark Mathia08-16-2013

      From one “pedal to the metal” guy to another…There really is wisdom in the reflection process Eddy.

  2. Roger

    Beware of Road Construction. If you don’t embrace the unexpected it’s easy to get filled with some unhealthy emotions. The unexpected routinely happens. Part of goal setting needs to include readjusting because of the unexpected. When on the long car ride we need to stop and readjust ourselves every so often. We refuel, check our fluids, and air or blood pressure, and then resume our trip. When using a GPS to assist us, it helps and readjusts with a fresh eta for us automatically. It takes all factors into consideration and recalibrates automatically. What about the road construction our GPS didn’t know about? We have to take unexpected detours that add time and fuel expense to our trip drastically changing our original eta. Taking time to readjust routinely is paramount. The detours in life are going to happen. If our response is to grumble about them rather than embrace them, we’re no further down the road, we still have to navigate them, and we’re just a little carsick afterwards. My recipe would have to include “Beware of Road Construction”. Without this element we’ll never find contentment in our journey.

    • Mark Mathia
      Mark Mathia08-16-2013

      Thanks Roger = great insights! I think there is wisdom in “readjusting ourselves” prior to the construction zones.

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