116: Direction: How Choosing A Path Instead Of A Destination Can Empower Action
In a world where we are constantly told to set goals and strive for achievement, it is easy to get enslaved with our idea of the perfect destination. What if we can choose our life’s direction rather than be tied to a future we may never predict? In today’s episode, let’s explore the idea of exchanging destination with direction and the many ways we can be unstuck and empowered to pursue the things we really want. This new sense of freedom will let you enjoy the process of life you never thought you could.
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Direction: How Choosing A Path Instead Of A Destination Can Empower Action
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I’m excited about having a shorter solo episode. I love having some time each month to share some thoughts and things that I’ve been stewing on. This is one of those. This episode is kind of crazy. It’s been a long journey and I’m so grateful to be here. Thank you for being a part of it. I wanted to talk a bit about this concept of direction. I think that this idea around direction can be freeing and empowering for us. I want to unpack some thoughts on that. I do have a special discount going on with my coaching practice. It’s going to be 50% off to a few of you who are interested.Beyond just making a large number of decisions or choices daily, we are also now equally faced with more options than ever before. Click To Tweet
I wanted to start by a couple of quotes that I thought would set the stage well and are pretty profound. I love a good quote. Christina Rossetti said, “Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun.” I love that because both are sad, but not even beginning the work that you feel called to is inevitably the saddest one because you’re not fulfilling, those roles that you were called to do in life. We’ve each been gifted in so many ways and not beginning the work that you are called to do is unfortunate for you as well as a society that needs that. Another one is from James Clear. He said, “You can either be judged because you created something or ignored because you left your greatness inside of you.”
Putting something out there is dangerous. It’s scary, it’s risky and you will inevitably be judged on it. If you leave it inside you, you will get ignored. It will never see the light of day and it won’t be able to bless others. Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” I love it. It is a simple way of saying you are uniquely you and you’ve been filled with talents, gifts and abilities that are uniquely yours. We have to lean into that and not try to copy other people’s callings, talents or gifts. Lastly, Alan Watts said, “You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago.” This is challenging the consistency bias that we all have of saying, “Because I’ve said this or acted this way. I have to stay on it to be consistent with who I said or who I’ve portrayed myself to be.”
Making Choices And Decisions Daily
This is oftentimes a misconception, misperception, and a false assumption that we make that keeps us in a rut a lot of times that isn’t helpful. He is freeing us from that by saying you have no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago, which is a helpful challenge. Today’s society is filled with so many choices and decisions daily. If we’re honest with ourselves, we have such a high amount of decisions and choices that we have to make every single day. It could be decisions on what shirt to wear, what breakfast to eat, which route you should take to work, what podcast episode you should listen to along the way? What music I’m feeling right now at the moment? What coffee sounds good for my morning cup of Joe?
Maybe it’s about what priorities to accomplish first in the tasks at hand and on and on it goes. These are only some examples from the first three hours of the day. We are inundated with choices. Beyond making a large number of decisions or choices daily, we are also equally faced with more options than ever before. This is the world we live in, a place that has endless possibilities and opportunities. In the same breath, we find herself often in a place where we feel like we have no options or no ability to do anything more than our current work. We feel stuck in the place we’re in with no way out. We feel in a cycle that will never end.
A Blessing And A Curse
This is the spectrum arrange of tensions that we all experience within this land of opportunity that America is. I’ve had many conversations with people on disengagement with their current work or disenchantment around what they’re doing. It’s this feeling of lethargy or frustration of being stuck in a place that they don’t want to be. There’s this weird tension we face between this idea of endless possibilities yet feeling like we have no opportunities beyond where we’re at. I think one of the things to think about is with a plethora of choices, it does provide both amazing opportunities, but can also be equally debilitating.
They can be a blessing and a curse. On the blessing side, we now have the ability to find virtually anything we want. Not just anything but the specific type of anything that we’re looking for in the specific color, size, shape that we want, which can be customized to our own liking. This is undoubtedly a blessing, but on the curse side, when we have endless options or endless decisions. “Do I want this shape or that shape, this shade of blue of that shade of blue? Do I want to buy it now or wait for a better sale, a better option or a better price?” Options can quickly become debilitating if we let them. This is where even I’ve thought about how wonderful it would be to have a daily uniform. I’m going to buy a dozen white tees and several of my favorite jeans. I’m going to wear that every single day so I can eliminate a decision to make in the morning and save it for more important decisions in the day.
We have to start stacking the deck in our favor to eliminate this decision fatigue that we all face from these endless choices. You combine this with another parallel problem, which is the reality of endless of possibilities. Living in America, we do have the ability to almost doing whatever we want. In picking the right job or career, there are endless opportunities, but with that comes a lot of fear around making sure that we make the right choice, that we pick the right path and we choose the right opportunity for what we want our future destination to be. This is the world that college graduates, young professionals and the majority of adults find themselves in. Whether you’re on your first foray into finding a job or you’re on your 10th round of job looking, job applying or job interviewing, the dilemma is still the same. How do I know which path is the right one to take? How can I possibly make the right choice? Which opportunity will lead me to the destination that I want or desire? These are the questions that we face. It’s a modern problem that every person has to come to grips with, which has two different sides.Figuring out the direction to take is always easier than to predict the destination. Click To Tweet
Direction Versus Destination
One side of the coin is decision fatigue and overwhelm that we face from having endless options, a plethora of options. On the second side of the coin is fear and uncertainty of having an abundant amount of opportunities. Since we have so many opportunities, we’re afraid of picking the wrong one. We have many choices and decisions to make in a day that we get worn out and overwhelmed by having to make more decisions than we need to. These are the dilemmas and problems that we can relate to in our own way. The question is, how can we overcome them or live in light of them? It is helpful to understand the false idea of the destination. When we face the dilemma of not enjoying life, wishing we were in a different lane or pursuing different work, we remain stuck far too often in getting caught up in thinking that we have to have the destination figured out before we take any action.
I love this quote from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He wrote a book, Flow. He said, “Success like happiness cannot be pursued. It must ensue as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a course greater than oneself.” If you think that this destination you pick down the road will lead to success and happiness, you’re missing the mark with that because the destination cannot be pursued. It’s inevitably going to be different. It must ensue as a side effect that’s unintended in picking a direction, a course that’s greater than ourselves being dedicated and committed for a longer period of time. What will help free us from being stuck is exchanging the idea of destination with the idea of direction, because figuring out the destination is impossible.
We have to understand that discerning the direction is always attainable. If we wait until we have fully figured out the destination that we want to arrive at down the road, we’ll either wait forever and never take action or we’ll end up blindly following the path that is nothing like we expected or wanted to be. Placing our focus on the direction instead frees us up from the pressure of trying to project the perfect destination. It will allow us to take action sooner while enjoying the process more along the way. Whenever we focus on the destination, we will inevitably miss all the joys of the journey along the way. This is something that I had to learn the hard way when playing professional golf.
I remember my grandfather and others would always tell me, “Thane, make sure you’re enjoying the process. Make sure you’re enjoying where you’re at.” I look back and I’m sad to say that I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t have the joy, happiness and fulfillment that I could’ve had with the places I was at because I was so focused on the destination. I was putting pressure on myself and carrying so much responsibility to reach the destination that I missed the beauty in the journey along the way. I missed the joy that it could have had in each step of the process. The funny thing is we can never know the destination beforehand. We don’t know the future. We can’t predict it.
For us to pick a destination that we won’t reach for five or ten years down the road and say that this is the goal and pursue this endlessly, we’re going to get to that place five or ten years down the road and realize that we’ve changed so much that we don’t even want that anymore. We’d realize that the thing that we thought it was, was so different that we don’t like that thing either and now, we feel stuck in that place. The whole time to get there with was spent suffering just to get to the destination. It’s always easier to figure out the direction to take than to predict the destination, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a difficult task.
The work that I do with individuals in my coaching practice, through it I found one core question that I think is a massive help in bringing clarity around the direction to take. The important thing to know is what direction to take, not what destination end up with and how do we figure out the direction to take. This is the question I love and I’d love for you to sit with it. The question is, “Who have you been created, equipped and called to be?” This is a question I sat with for two or three months as I was thinking through the decision of whether or not I would continue pursuing professional golf or pivot in a new direction.
The two to three months were spent seeking counsel, meditating, praying, trying to sit with, discern, journal, reflect and understand this question. I want to break it down just a little bit further to show why it can be so powerful. The question is, “Who have you been created, equipped and called to be?” The first part is, “Who have you been created to be?” That means, “What are your natural wirings and your inherited tendencies?” The things that you’ve been given at birth with that you’ve been blessed with that only uniquely are your giftings and your talents. The things that you’re naturally good at and the things that you are better at than your friends because you naturally had a knack for it.
The second one is, “Who have you been equipped to be?” What have your life experiences up to this point given you? What is your journey, the different places you’ve lived, the different learnings you’ve had, the different jobs you’ve worked and the different people you’ve met, what have they equipped you with to be right now? “Who have you been called to be?” What is the fire within your soul that will not die? What is the thing that is not in the world right now? You can’t stand that it’s not, so much so that you need to put into the world? What is the thing that the endless driving force for your motivation, your life and your passion?
I love this question because it brings into mind the past, the present and the future in evaluating which direction we should go. I truly believe that if you sit with that question, journal about it, meditate on it, think through it and even asked for feedback on it, the direction will become increasingly clearer. I love walking alongside people in this process. I’m having a fourth-quarter sale with my coaching packages. For the first three people to lock in a package, I’m offering 50% off my standard rates. If you go to ThaneMarcus.com you can book a discovery call to talk more about this work. You can always shoot me an email at Connect@ThaneMarcus.com.
The short version of this coaching work provides you with two things that we can’t get on our own. The first one is objectivity. It’s the ability to see yourself clearly, which is inherently subjective, even to ourselves. The second is accountability. It’s having someone to hold you accountable in maintaining integrity, doing what you want to do or that you’re committed to doing. It’s ultimately holding a space for you to process these things. This is a place of empowerment. It’s trying to help you grow and become unstuck to discover and discern the right direction and figure out the strategy and game plan of how to get there.
I love calling the word collaboration because that’s exactly what it is, a collaboration together. I would love for you to reach out to learn more and it would be such a joy for me to journey together on this path of growth, of taking ownership and never settling for less than you’re capable of. I want to end with a quote from Abraham Maslow. He said, “What you can be, you must be.” I think there’s no better place to sound off.
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