If I asked when was the last time you were in a mall and needed directions, you’d probably laugh, right? After all, we tend to frequent our local malls and shopping centers so much we could find our way around blindfolded. Chances are you haven’t even noticed those tall, two sided billboards that house advertisements and store locators. The next time you see those boards, I want you to take note of the map and the big red dot that says, “You Are Here.”
Often, in the haste to get to our destinations, we breeze right past the map and are content to wander until familiarity kicks in and we find our way. There’s really not a lot to lose when it involves a sale at our favorite store, but when you factor in a career, family, health and relationships, the stakes increase dramatically. There is a certain danger in wandering without direction that can lead to delay and destruction. As the saying goes, “If you don’t where you’re going, ANY road will do.”
I have been fortunate enough to find myself surrounded by truly successful people throughout my career. As I studied their actions, I realized success is less of a miracle and more of a discipline. One thing in particular that always caught my attention was that they all operated with a “core compass” that guided them. There was a set of principles that governed their decisions, how they treated others and what they expected out of life. I want to share a few of these “Core Compasses” that may lend direction to you:
- Excellence is not an option: I read a statement last week that impacted me seriously. It said, “Excellence is not my goal; it is my standard.” When you watch successful people, they create an environment where excellence is the expectation for everything they do. They hold themselves and others to the same standard. Remember, if you go in expecting anything less, you will most likely get it.
- Accountability is a must: Accountability is one of those terms that have gained popularity in recent years. Most have lost the essence of what it means to be accountable. It is more than someone checking on your goals; it is a system of checks and balances that ensure you are maximizing your highest level of potential. Accountability is about getting all that you know you can accomplish.
- Control what you can: I’ve learned that highly successful people do not spend a lot of time stressing over things out of their circle of control. In fact, they are locked into those things that they can influence. It’s the difference between a thermometer and a thermostat. One only reads the temps, the other changes them.
- Keep the vision forward: As you progress through situations, it can sometimes become difficult to keep your eyes ahead on what is important. Successful people figure out ways to keep their motivation in front of them. Whether through empowering their teams or governing their own internal issues, they look forward to what is next. If we plan to be successful, we need to focus our attentions beyond our current state and prepare for what is to come.
Those red dots on the mall billboards can take some figuring out. The premise is always to discover where you are before you start looking for where you need to go. How else can you devise the quickest, most efficient route? So often we jump into the joy of the destination and never consider what direction we must take for the journey. Life is about discovering the process. You can’t do that without a compass.