I was interested to read in the papers recently that some research had shown that people find it very difficult to walk in a straight line in uncharted territory. Most of us in such a situation would aim for a landmark in the distance, but this still results in considerable wandering off the straight. The result is that when you reach the landmark you may be pointing quite a few degrees off course, and the next landmark you pick will not be on the original line.
The secret, known to people like the Native Americans, is to line up two landmarks. When you do this you can easily proceed in a straight line just by keeping the two landmarks aligned. When you reach the first landmark you know you are facing in the right direction so all you have to do is to pick another landmark.
It struck me that this applies to how we go about getting to our goals in our business or personal life. If we aim for just one landmark we are likely to wander about and end up facing in the wrong direction. If we line up two goals then we are much more likely to proceed in a straight line to our desired result.
Let’s give an example of this. We often hear that networking is very important for building a small business. So some people go overboard with networking. They join networking associations, attend lots of events, talk to loads of people, and may even organise their own events.
Then they become disillusioned because their business, far from expanding, is suffering from the amount of time they spend away from it at networking events.
What has gone wrong?
The answer is that they have only lined their actions up on one landmark. They have taken on board that “networking is good” and have therefore lined up on the networking landmark:
The result is that they have just concentrated on doing more and more networking without really considering what the purpose of it all was.
If they had remembered that the purpose of the networking was to expand their business they would have approached the networking in a different more focused way:
——————-> Networking ——————-> Business Expansion
As an exercise, you might take a look at some of your goals to see whether they are properly lined up. For instance what might the difference be between these two?
——————-> MBA ——————> Promotion to Higher Management
or these two?
———————> Going to gym
———————> Going to gym ———————> Increased energy for work
Wherever you suspect that an activity which should be supporting a higher goal is taking on a life of its own, it’s a good idea to carry out this lining up exercise.