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Internal GPS: Locating the Landmarks

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”—Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

In our generation of MapQuest, PDAs, and GPS, we are rarely without directions.  From the kindly female voice that chimes “turn left at the next intersection,” we have learned to put our lives on auto-pilot and head for the waters of calm seas.  It’s not unusual right?  After all, we all want to have happy, contented lives; however, when we put our lives on automatic and accept the course that is directed by outside voices, we do not really have any control over the outcome and we are rarely prepared to weather the storms.

Many times, outside voices from the media and even loved ones, or internal pressures from doubt limit the horizon of our travels.  We simply glide through life making turns based on what we “should” do instead of what we instinctively believe is the right path.  Days pass by us with the thought that “one day I will” cemented into our consciousness without the realization that one day is always one day away.   And, to state the obvious, each day is 24 hours we cannot get back. 

Like a real GPS, our internal system can be affected by many unpredictable forces.  For example, everyone has experienced a longer trip than planned because of road construction or the addition of a new road.  In truth, any navigation system can only give you directions based on the information available at that given time.  So it is with your internal GPS, which is constantly scanning the feelings and situations surrounding you for ways to interact and travel the path of life.  Not choosing one direction inevitably leads you in another direction.  Sometimes, our internal guide is hampered by the fears and doubts we carry around.  Sometimes, we are affected by feelings of others and or their internal GPS and all of the interpretations it has made for them.

But, for one moment, stop to consider how your internal GPS has changed in the past few years and think about when you stopped looking at the landmarks of your life with the innocent appreciation of traveling the “road less traveled.”  Are you on another road than the one you originally intended to drive or simply on another path?  Getting back on your path, the one you control, is easier than you think.  And, the best news is that it is never too late to chart your course.

 If you are ready get back to the road you were passionate about following not too long ago, try these 7 steps to fine tuning your internal GPS:

1.  Envision the End Result:  Take a few minutes to really consider where you want to be when you arrive at your destination.  Any good trip starts with planning.  Your life path should be no exception to this rule.  You can not arrive if you don’t know where you are going.

2.  Set a Goal:  Once you know where you want to be when you succeed, plan a route for getting there.  Remember the way that a GPS directs you through turns and navigates you through the obstacles?  Do the same thing!  Give yourself a series of steps that plan the route to success.

3.  Baby Steps Count:  Make the first trip a day trip or a field trip.  Often, when we set up goals that are massive, we are setting ourselves up for overwhelm which leads to failure.  No matter what you want to achieve, break it down into several manageable goals to give you a series of small successes that lead to a large achievement.

4.  Locate the Landmarks:  Find where your milestones are for your goals.  Know what each step looks like so you can know when you have reached a landmark. That way, you’ll have both something to strive for on the horizon and a set finish line that does not move.

5.  Find a trustworthy navigator:  Locating someone you can trust to help you chart your trip and avoid the landmines will be invaluable to achieving your goals.  Having a support team in place to help you drive down your road and provide fuel during your trip will give you strength and resilience to keep going when you are tired.

6.  Build in Bathroom Breaks:  Whether you stop to evaluate your route, grab a soda, or take a break, build in time for you to spend with family or do activities you enjoy without thought of your path.  This will help keep your energy fresh and give you focus when you are working to achieve your goals.

7.  Take Responsibility for the Outcome:  As this is your road to follow your passions, you must take ultimate responsibility for the accomplishment.  If you need help, then find it.  If you need support or direction, then locate it.  The trip is not about going it alone.  The trip is about going where you have always wanted to be!

Each of us is born with a sense of where we want to travel in life.  Most of the time, we are also given the abilities to follow that path.  Sometimes, we must weather storms to truly appreciate the value what we want to do, but by fine tuning your internal GPS…you will be able to locate the landmarks that will make your trip a phenomenal adventure.

Join in our efforts to share the word about “Rewrite Your Tomorrow!” by voting for our entry Intuit.  It’s easy!  Vote for my Today is Your WakeUp Call! Life Lessons from a 9/11 Survivor entry and share it with all of your friends please!

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