This is a map of the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina. If you were driving down a road in this area and suddenly realized you were lost, what would you do?
How do we find our way when we are lost?
Most will quip that a GPS will help them find their way, but in life, there are no personal navigation systems. I would argue, however, that life does have maps and guides, at least in the analogy. With a map and the powers of observation, one can ascertain their present position, and from that, they can correct back to course or chart a new one to the original destination.
For example, suppose you passed Main Street and then Second Street–with a general idea of where you were, you could look on the map to find these crossing roads. With two roads identified, you have both a general position and a direction of travel. Once located on the map, you could project your likely trajectory, and the you should hypothesize that one of the roads farther along would follow next. So you look for Tenth Street, and when you pass it, you verify your position.
In life and leadership and applications of technical tools in general, the roads are not so well marked. We have books. We have the experiences of those before us in various forms of audio and visual media. We have the digital and the virtual collections as well. These works describe the landmarks that others have passed. They are street signs and landmarks on life’s journey.
We have these maps because those leaders who have gone before us shared their observations and their wisdom. And now we must take up their banner and continue to focus our attention and record our observations. We have had guides. And now we must become guides for those who follow.
Navigation along a road or path is not difficult. Charting a course through the unmarked wild, on the seas, and through the air is far more difficult. And these latter modes of travel are more analogous to life.
We come, thus, to the purpose of this column, observations. I have benefited tremendously from the observations of others before me. Even those whose path crosses my own, though it does not parallel my direction of travel, helps me ascertain my position and progress, but only if they share observations from their journey.
Life is a journey. And these are observations from ours.
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