One of the most frustrating things in life is when you’re driving down a road and you see the signs that there’s construction ahead. I don’t know about you, but I always sigh a little knowing that I’m going to be inconvenienced for awhile as a bunch of guys stand around leaning on shovels.
What’s worse than that though? The “Detour” sign.
Immediately all bets are off. Your carefully laid out plan for getting to your destination is wiped out because the traffic lords are re-routing you through some backwater neighbourhood that you’re unfamiliar with and you’re pretty sure that the everyone who lives there is missing several teeth.
I had one detour last year on a drive from Sydney to Melbourne where according to my SatNav I was in the middle of a paddock somewhere rather than on a brand new piece of very expensive infrastructure. Screw you Google Maps!
I openly admit, I’m not an awesome driver (the dents in my Lexus prove that unquestionably) and my sense of direction is somewhere between “poor” and getting lost just writing this sentence. I grew up in Toronto, so navigation was easy – search for the giant phallus (the CN Tower) and work backwards from there. I’m in Brisbane today and if someone asked me to point north, I’d have to pull out my phone and use the compass app.
Seriously though, who needs to know that? I’m not going to be sailing across the ocean anytime soon battling scurvy and hoping to avoid sea monsters. The most important mapping related thing I do is work out how far away my driver is on the Uber map while I’m waiting.
Anyway, got a bit lost there… Get it? That was a navigation joke. Because I’m bad with navigating and I got off topic.
Where were we? Detours.
Sometimes life tosses up detours at you and you need to cope with them. Life isn’t like Google Maps where most of the time when you run into a detour, you route gets recalculated instantly and shows you the next best way of getting quickly to your destination.
In life, when you come across a detour, it can really set you back especially if you’re an entrepreneur in the early stages of executing your business plan. I’ve mentioned before how I finished my previous job in early June 2015 with the intention of starting Casual Marketer in July and building that up over the back half of the year.
Instead of following that path, life offered up a detour. I was offered a new job somewhat unexpectedly which was really distracting for me. I struggled to get focused on the Casual Marketer stuff because I was thinking about this other job out there that had captured my attention. Then I started my new role in early October, but within a week ended up being assigned two significant projects and now having the bandwidth to focus on Casual Marketer.
By the time Christmas had rolled around I had three weeks off and I used that time to get back on the main road after my little detour. I hammered out a bunch of work to get the Newsletter part of the business up and running in January.
The trips to Brisbane have been a bit of a detour for me as well. For the past ten weeks, I’ve been spending two days a week here. It’s made it difficult to get the things I’ve wanted to do in Casual Marketer done because by Saturday, I’m a write off physically – I need the weekends to recover. I’ve not made as much progress as I would have ideally liked to make.
Today a friend of mine had some news about a job that she was going for deliver some news that tossed some of her plans up in the air. Her plans to achieve her desired goals have been shifting a fair bit recently and every time something changes, she adapts, sets new targets and keeps moving forward. She’s not allowing the changes hamper her longer-term objective, she’s just accepting the detour for what it is and finding the best route she can to get to where she ultimately wants to be.
And that’s the lesson for all of us in our businesses. Having goals, objectives and destinations in mind are great, but when the road ahead changes, you need to be able to accept that there is a change, embrace it and then find a way around it. If you fight these little hiccups that life presents you’re going to burn out very quickly or worse, you’ll make a wrong turn and end up going the wrong way.