A ship is off course 95% of the time it’s at sea.
Then you might ask, how the heck does it ever get to it’s destination? The answer is simple: it constantly makes corrections to get back on track. At first thought you might think that a ship travels from point A to point B via straight line, but that is so far from the case. There are outside forces that push and pull the ship in directions that the captain didn’t intend for it to go. Forces such as wind and currents, not to mention the storms and hurricanes that could knock a ship off course. A smart captain will account for these trials at sea and make sure that once the storm has passed, he is again checking his charts to make sure that he gets back on course. You could picture a ship traveling not in a straight line but in a zig-zag pattern to it’s destination and just like a ship, this is how most of us professionals travel to our destinations, or goals.
Rarely do we ever plot a course for our goals and it’s carried out exactly like we planned. Those of you with little children know that planning on doing something is tough when you have certain variables vying for your attention. But if this principle is understood then we don’t need to beat ourselves up over not being on course 100% of the time. I hold myself to very high standards as I’m sure you do too, and I normal beat myself up when my plans don’t go the way I want, but I quickly realize that’s just me getting off course and I need to understand where I’m at and get back on track.
We normally view these zig-zags as negatives as if we are going backwards when actually we are just a little off course and we just need a little bit of adjustments to get back on track. I recently had a “zig” in a project as a series of events prevented me from getting some easy work done. If it wasn’t one thing it was another and it seemed that I couldn’t find the time to get this work done. (I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt this.) It wasn’t something urgent but it was something that I had planned for and kept getting push back. Just when I was about to get started, something (or someone) would call for my attention and I’d have to get up and tend to that issue. This work wasn’t like a meeting or anything where I would normally block off time but it just so happened that when I decided to work on it, I got interrupted. I wanted my ship to go in one direction and the tide wanted to take me in another. Once I realized this, I was able to get back on course by slicing up the work into smaller tasks, scheduling a chunk of time to get it done and getting this monkey off my back. A small task turned into a huge ordeal just because of the life that was happening around me. The first thing you have to do is realize you are off track, then the rest is up to you on how to get back back.
Here are some things I use when I want to get back on track:
Let me know what you do to get back on track.