I had the weirdest experience a week or so ago on the way down to Alabama from our home outside of Knoxville. We left very early in the morning, before dawn, to meet up with life-long friends. My husband started out the driving, and since it was still dark I promptly fell asleep. Rather than stopping at our usual half-way point to switch drivers, he kept going, deciding not to wake me up. It’s very rare for me to sleep in the car for hours without waking up, and when we finally did stop, only about 30 miles from our destination, I just could not get my bearings. I know the trip’s landmarks well, having made it hundreds of times. But as I accelerated on to the highway from our quick rest stop, I could not spot any familiar landmarks no matter how I tried. The highway simply didn’t look familiar, and I felt disoriented, not even trusting that I was going the right direction. I had to ask Bill where we were as I stared ahead and tried hard to place myself. After several minutes of doubting what I was doing, I realized that the only thing to do was keep going. Drive on in faith that I was doing the right thing at the right time and in the right direction. Drive on until I became comfortable, and the surroundings became familiar. Drive on and I would arrive where I wanted to be.
The experience struck me as a real-life example of what we so often need to do as we build business. We get into a situation that we think will be familiar, but something happens and we suddenly lose our bearings, not really sure how to proceed. Most often, if we’ll just step onto the path ahead of us, and keep going, we’ll get right where we need to be. We have to quit questioning. We have to accept the uncomfortable and unfamiliar. And most of all, we have to step out in faith that the path is there, it’s navigable, and the end result will be positive. Our belief in our abilities and our direction are key to our success. And our willingness to move ahead despite our doubt is often the difference between success and failure. It is, in fact, the thing that makes our business thrive.