I am at the front of our little band, as we follow a path that makes a few traverses on its way up the mountain. Distracted, I miss the turn at one end of a traverse, and I follow a faint path that eventually fades to nothing. I stop and turn around to face the others.
"Oops," I say. "I must've missed the turn. Let's go back."
They razz me mercilessly.
We find the path again, and resume our climb, and I'm demoted. I'm now at the rear. I have time to reflect on paths — career paths and life paths.
When you find yourself on a path, you know some things right away:
- Other people have been here before
- The path might not lead anywhere — it could be a dead end. All you know for sure is that people have been here before. I wasn't the first to miss the traverse.
- You might be going the right way — or not
- Worn paths don't tell you which way people before you were going. Being on a well-worn path isn't evidence that you're going the right direction. And what's right for others might not be right for you.
- A guide can help
- Find someone who's been there before, or get a map. But even if you have a guide, stop often to ask locals about twists, turns, or troubles ahead. If the guide and the path disagree, believe the path, not the guide.
- Paths sometimes detour around obstacles
- Even after the obstacles disappear, the path's kinks remain. Following a path around an obstacle that no longer exists makes little sense.
- Watch for danger warnings
- Sometimes the
- Some paths branch off from the main path, and sometimes they're marked "Danger." Sometimes the warning signs are missing. Sometimes they're wrong. You're the ultimate judge of safety, and you're responsible for the consequences of your choices.
- There's no safety in numbers
- The entire crowd you're traveling with could be heading into trouble.
- If you see a crowd coming the other way, stop and chat
- Find out what's up ahead, and why they're all going away from where you're headed.
- To find something new, you have to leave the path
- On a path, discovery will be rare unless you do something different — like get off the path.
- Turning back is always an option
- If you decide that the path might not be for you, don't keep going just because you came all this way. Turn off or turn back.
- Watch for interesting but ignored diversions
- Sometimes the intriguing side roads hold the most adventure and the prettiest scenery, and maybe even the most fascinating people.
Think about the path you're on. Is there a turn-off up ahead that looks intriguing? Or is there a turn-off behind you, one that you passed by, and perhaps regret passing? Can you go back? Top Next Issue
Love the work but not the job? Bad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? This ebook looks at what we can do to get more out of life at work. It helps you get moving again! Read Go For It! Sometimes It's Easier If You Run, filled with tips and techniques for putting zing into your work life. Order Now!
Your comments are welcomeWould you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenPxaEDTKkpFPTnwLzner@ChacWGzdKCQSoJVYbOFXoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.
About Point Lookout
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.
Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.
Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.
More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:
- Renewal is a time to step out of your usual routine and re-energize. We find renewal in weekends, vacations,
days off, even in a special evening or hour in the midst of our usual pattern. Renewal provides perspective.
It's a climb to the mountaintop to see if we're heading in the right direction.
- Office Automation
- Desktop computers, laptop computers, and tablets have automation capabilities that can transform our
lives, but few of us use them. Why not? What can we do about that?
- Ethical Debate at Work: II
- Outcomes of debates at work sometimes favor one party, not only at the expense of the other or others,
but also at the expense of the organization. Here's Part II of a set of guidelines for steering debates
toward wise outcomes.
- How to Deal with Holding Back
- When group members voluntarily restrict their contributions to group efforts, group success is threatened
and high performance becomes impossible. How can we reduce the incidence of holding back?
- Risk Creep: I
- Risk creep is a term that describes the insidious and unrecognized increase in risk that occurs despite
our every effort to mitigate risk or avoid it altogether. What are the dominant sources of risk creep?
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming February 27: Brainstorming and Speedstorming: II
- Recent research into the effectiveness of brainstorming has raised some questions. Motivated to examine alternatives, I ran into speedstorming. Here's Part II of an exploration of the properties of speedstorming. Available here and by RSS on February 27.
- And on March 6: A Pain Scale for Meetings
- Most meetings could be shorter, less frequent, and more productive than they are. Part of the problem is that we don't realize how much we do to get in our own way. If we track the incidents of dysfunctional activity, we can use the data to spot trends and take corrective action. Available here and by RSS on March 6.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenMFRhrnyoQVzrZFRdner@ChacrGNmngIrkBELUkQQoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.
Get the ebook!
Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:
- Get 2001-2 in Geese Don't Land on Twigs (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2003-4 in Why Dogs Wag (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2005-6 in Loopy Things We Do (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2007-8 in Things We Believe That Maybe Aren't So True (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2009-10 in The Questions Not Asked (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get all of the first twelve years (2001-2012) in The Collected Issues of Point Lookout (PDF, USD 28.99)
Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info
- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.