Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Navigating Potholes in the Road to Success

By Kelley Haladyna

Anyone who has ever driven through Michigan during the freeze/thaw season has probably hit a few potholes. Sometimes the potholes are impossible to see before you plow right into them, and other times they are clearly visible up ahead, but you can’t seem to veer around them in time. Either way, they are virtually unavoidable.

Potholes on the road to success are also virtually unavoidable. Each of us has different and likely multiple destinations of success that we drive toward daily. We can’t stop travelling the roads entirely in an effort to avoid the potholes; instead, we each need to find a way to navigate them to reach our destination. Here are a few tips that I’ve found helpful while navigating the potholes in the roads to both personal and professional successes:

1. Keep Both Hands on the Wheel. Because it is inevitable that there will be bumps in the road to success, keep a firm grasp on your goals and know the direction you’re headed. That way, you won’t be discouraged when things get a little bumpy along the way.

2. Pull Over and Assess the Impact. Although you may have hit a few potholes with seemingly little damage, take the time to consider potential hidden impact. Learn from the experience so that you can better navigate the road in the future.

3. Call Roadside Assistance. A strong support system is essential for reaching success, particularly if you’ve taken a hard hit along the way. Even the most competent and independent person requires support now and then. Identify your strongest supporters – friends, family, mentors – and call on them for assistance.

4. Recalculate Your Route. There are many roads to success. The first path you take may be the fastest and most direct, but may not be the best. Don’t be afraid to change your course along the way. The scenic route could actually be more rewarding.

5. Reevaluate the Destination. Your definitions of success may actually change over time. Sometimes we drive so fast toward success we lose track of why we were going there in the first place. Hitting a pothole may help you realize that you’re heading toward the wrong destination. Take a minute and evaluate where you’re going – you may even find that you’ve already arrived!