Setting Your Personal GPS: 3 Things to Keep You on Course at Work and in Life
04/26/22 | Motivation
Setting Your Personal GPS: 3 Things to Keep You on Course at Work and in Life
Years ago, during a family vacation, we settled into our hotel and then piled into the car to find something to eat. A quick look online revealed a number of good options. After the cursory “where would you like to go – I don’t care, where do you want to go?” conversation with my wife we decided on a place. I punched the address into the GPS and off we went. I am a big fan of this little device called a GPS which stands for Global Positioning System. This nifty little thing allows you to start at point A and travel to point B in a reliable and predictable manner. On a side note, I believe this technology alone has saved more marriages than Dr. Phil and Dr. Ruth combined. Think about it, I don’t have to pretend to know where I’m going and my wife doesn’t need to make me stop and ask for directions.
As we journeyed along our route, I was comforted by the calm, British accent of our female tour guide. She knew precisely where to turn and I was happy to oblige her every instruction. Life was good as we traveled merrily down the street. And then it happened. From out of nowhere that sweet British accent turned cold and harsh. “Recalculating, recalculating” she cried. Startled by her tone I sat up straight and tried to get my bearings. “Recalculating” “Make a U-turn” “Make a U-turn” she pleaded. At this point, she was screaming in several different languages. Then the suction cup came loose which sent her bouncing across the dash of our rental car and onto the floor just out of my reach. From the floorboard, I heard the word “IMPOSSIBLE!” We all looked at each other and erupted with laughter. As we pulled into a parking lot to regroup, our son Josh pointed and said “dad, the restaurant is right there.” Sure enough, we must have driven past it a dozen times as we recalculated again and again. Turns out we were closer to our destination than we thought.
Later that night I tried to decipher what went wrong. I finally realized that I had entered the address incorrectly. I was one digit off and that tiny error sent our GPS into a conniption fit (that’s southern talk for having a meltdown). I believe life is like that too. We can think we’re heading in the right direction only to find that a slight error in judgment or a miscalculation sends us tumbling off course. I don’t know what your desired destination is, but I want you to know – you are closer than you think. A few adjustments to your personal GPS can get you from where you are to someplace new. What’s a personal GPS? It’s an acronym (I know, imagine that) for three things that influence the direction of your life.
Gifts: Far too many people live life with their light under a bushel. They have incredible talents and gifts and yet keep them hidden from the rest of the world. They view their gifts as a hobby or even worse, they dismiss them as irrelevant in their day-to-day pursuits.
When I hear someone say that they don’t have gifts it saddens me deeply. Society even praises “ordinary” people doing “extraordinary” things. I believe you are gifted and talented beyond measure. We’ve got to do away with this notion that people are simply ordinary.
“But I don’t know what my gifts are?” people might say. Here are a few clues to get you thinking about your “gift zone.”
What is it that you do naturally?
What do you do well that seems difficult to others?
What brings you joy and satisfaction?
What do others appreciate about you?
Here’s an example. I know a woman that is naturally very funny. She is the life of the party. She has a quick wit and a gift for saying the right word or line at precisely the right time to get a big laugh. In a group people gravitate to her sense of humor and yet she does not recognize her humor as a gift/ “it’s just something I do to amuse myself” she often quips.
The fact is her humor gift can be a huge advantage to her at work, at home, and in everyday life. How? It begins with a question. How can I use my area of gifting to add value to others? In the case of my funny friend here are a few ideas.
In a sales situation could she use her humor to establish rapport and overcome resistance to the sales process? Absolutely.
How about in a customer service setting? Could a sense of humor defuse a volatile situation and help find a win-win solution for everyone? You bet.
Could a sense of humor make home life better by helping to relieve stress and tension of everyday life? No doubt.
Discovering your gifts and weaving them into every area of your life is the first step in moving toward your most dominant desires. It will serve the natural desires of your heart and allow you to serve others well.
People: The next part of our personal GPS is people. Comedian Robert Hawkins will often make the following comment to his audience “You know who I hate? Others.” The audience roars in delight because he is willing to say what we have all thought at one time or another – life would be great except for the people.
Stress is stress and a major cause of stress comes from people. Not because they’re bad necessarily, but because we all see life a little differently. People have a huge impact on the direction you go in life. Surround yourself with the wrong people and life can be full of all the things you don’t want. Unless of course, you thrive on tension, chaos, and drama.
To get where you want to go – to move from where you are to someplace new, you have to surround yourself with people who love you, encourage you, and support your vision. Those people who understand you and are committed to holding you accountable to the potential within you. Mentorship is the key to leap frogging the competition. Latch onto the right mentors and the inner circle becomes a place of growth, victory, and celebration…if you have to drag people around you are not getting any closer to your intended destination.
Here are a few thoughts about the people you should seek out to help get where you want to go. And please note I said seek out – not stalk. Build relationships, invite them to lunch and respect their time. Leaders are people that receive a high degree of satisfaction from pouring themselves into others but have a low tolerance for needy people who waste their time.
Surround yourself with people who:
Will hold you to a higher standard and push you to expand your capacity. The people who love you the most will not let you settle for anything less than what you are capable of accomplishing.
Spend time with people that intimidate you. Uncomfortable situations make us grow. Reaching out to the person you admire may be uncomfortable, but it will pay big dividends in your development.
Learn from people that do things better than you. Surrounding yourself with people who are less capable than you, only limits your ability to go beyond where you are right now.
Develop relationships with people who will stretch your thinking. The greatest gift someone can give you is an expanded vision of what’s possible for you. Other people often see in us what we can’t see ourselves. Embrace new opportunities to stretch beyond what you think is possible.
My grandpa used to say “People are a part of life. You can’t live with ‘em and you can’t keep them in the trunk of your car.”
Make wise decisions in the area of relationships and see how life changes direction.
Skill: Our third and final step in setting our personal GPS is skill. Statistics show that less than 50% of adults never read a nonfiction book after graduating from college. What that says to me is that most people when given a choice will choose not to develop themselves. I understand that life is busy. We’re all racing around at warp. Heads down and thumbs moving. I get it. But the ideas, tools, and strategies that can help us smooth out the rough edges of life don’t show up in some mysterious fog that hovers over us raining wisdom down upon us. Granted, some people live in a mysterious fog, but that’s another subject entirely.
Learning takes effort. It takes a commitment to develop the skills that bring your gifts to life. The greatest musicians, athletes, and entrepreneurs have coaches. Many of them have a team of coaches refining and shaping their gifts into world-class instruments of excellence. Developing your skills will help move your gifts from potential power to powerful performance. And the marketplace will pay a premium for it.
Stephen Covey tells us to sharpen our saw. In order to have an edge in business and in life, we have to prepare ourselves to win.
Read or listen to books that will make you better at what you’re good at.
Be well read – stay relevant in your industry and in the areas of vision, communication, and personal development.
Pour yourself into others. Friend and author John Miller said that we tend to teach to others what we need to hear ourselves. Teach others and you will improve as part of the process.
Keep an inventory of your skills. These are the goods that you sell to the rest of the world. Your income is directly proportionate to the quality of your inventory.
I want to close by paraphrasing a story from the late great business philosopher, Jim Rohn.
Jim used to say that there are many things that we can blame for the way our life goes. We can blame the economy, the government, and society at large. We can sneer at our neighbor and despise their good fortune while bad luck beats a path to our door. Take everything that life can throw at us and call it the wind. What’s the point? The point is that life is not perfect and never predictable. The same wind blows on us all. The difference is the set of the sail. Set your sail the wrong way and life blows you on the rocks. Set your sail to harness the wind and it will take you places you’ve never imagined.
I hope you will pay attention to the set of the sail in your life. Program your personal GPS to put you on course to achieve your most important goals and your biggest dreams. Discover your gifts. Surround yourself with great people and develop yourself. I promise you will not hear the word “impossible” all you will hear is the sweet sound of “you have arrived at your destination!”