Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The path of least resistance...

Leaving the unforgiving cement and the traffic noise, congestion and "mean street"  environment that often brings an overload to the senses for the friendly, serene, soft footing, and quiet (oh so quiet) environment of a familiar wooded trail is usually a very satisfying experience for a runner such as myself.

Taking to such a trail is especially inviting because the obstacles are known - its familiarity brings with it a sense of comfort and safety. This path, the path of least resistance we will call it, is a safe path, going where others have gone before, providing a clear course on which to tread. 

Then the day comes of the decision to go "off-trail", to journey into the unknown.  Risky?  Sure.  Holes and trip hazards covered by the undergrowth, potentially poison plants, and animals unfriendly to this not before seen intruder all await.  Is the risk worth it?  Well, imagine popping out of the woods and finding yourself gazing out over a ravine or a valley exploding with fall colors under a spectacular sunset and you realize in that moment you are seeing, even more so experiencing, something few others ever will.  Oh yeah, it's worth it.

Do our personal lives resemble one of these images - the path of least resistance or going "off trail"?  How often do we conform to the readily available path rather than forging a new one?  Just last week I was speaking with a recent high school graduate who was trying to decide his path.  Obvious and available were the father's line of work or the opinion of the school guidance counselor.  Might I suggest he consider the question "what kills ya and what thrills ya?", and then carve a new path to where those two items intersect.

What kills you?  What motivates you such that you can’t do nothing? 
What thrills you?  What gets your heart pumping and your imagination running wild? 
Where might these two intersect for you?

Now take those same thoughts and emotions to work.  Might I suggest that we regularly check ourselves and, while weighing risks, consider what opportunities may be calling us to forge a new path for the benefit of the organization?  Consider the risk of not taking risk (i.e. change or die).  Who knows what hidden gems we may discover!  What kills ya?  What thrills ya?  What opportunities might be waiting in the cross-hairs of those answers?

Press on friends.

"The heights by great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night."  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

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