Road Map Of Life

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If you were going to drive to somewhere unfamiliar - whether cross country or just across the city - what would be the first thing you would do? Map it out? And then after you mapped it out, would you never look at the map again? Not likely.

More likely, you would refer to the map often, to make sure that you were on the right track. You would be able to tell quickly if you needed to make adjustments, correct a mistake, or consider a change of plans.

Posting your goals, standards, boundaries, mission statement, etc. is very much like having a map to refer to - "A Life Map".

In today's busy world, it's easy to get off course. Having a Life Map to refer to helps you keep moving quickly and efficiently towards your goals. It helps you to filter out things that don't belong, helps you quickly correct things when you mess up, helps you navigate
unexpected problems.

But if you don't have the map where you can see it and refer to it often, all the planning in the world won't matter. You'll end up driving aimlessly around unfamiliar territory, being distracted by many different paths.knowing where you want to go, but having no tried and true method of getting there.

What else might that driving map tell you?

Perhaps that there is more than one way to get to where you are going.the freeway or the back way, for example. It may show you various ways of getting to the same place, depending on your starting point. It may show you alternate route which could be used to
detour around unexpected problems (the inevitable construction crew), or obstacles put in your way. It may show you a phone number to call for assistance if you get lost, or an estimated time of your journey, or even a time that you are expected at your destination. It might show you milestones, or landmarks, so that you can chart your progress.

All these things are important for your Life Map as well. Where are you starting from? What are your resources? Do you want to take the fast track, or do you prefer a slower approach? What back-up plans do you have for handling the inevitable unexpected problems? Who do you go to for assistance to make sure you stay on the right track?

Without a map to refer to often, it might be easy to get distracted from your destination. Let's say for example that you were headed to a friend's house for a party, and along the way you might notice a restaurant, or a beautiful piece of scenery, or a movie that you wanted to see. Would you stop and go to the restaurant or the movie? Would you put your ultimate objective on hold because something else got your attention for the moment?

Of course not.

But that's exactly what happens when you let distractions - albeit attractive distractions - move you off your Life Map. You "end up" somewhere instead of where you really want to be. Time and space and conscious choice must be attached to any decisions to
detour or stop along your way. Is there time? Can I do this at another time? Will it detract from my goal, or enhance it?

Don't let your temporary, current desires take precedence over what you REALLY want.

Because, you see, an important part of succeeding is deciding what is and what isn't a distraction. For example, as you were headed to your party, you saw a vendor with some fresh flowers and you decide to stop and pick up some for your friend. In that case, a stop
along the way ADDS to your goal. However, if instead you decide to stop and see a movie and arrive quite late at the party, then you have detracted from your goal.

Each "opportunity" must be evaluated in light of how it will affect your ultimate goal -- will it contribute to it, or will it detract from it?

Therefore, both the driving map and the Life Map serve the same high purpose: To Keep You On Track.

Grab on to the steering wheel of your life. Decide that you will put as much thought into your Life Map as you do into planning your vacation. Check your map often, determine your current location, and move confidently toward where you want to go.

About the Author:

Professional Life Coach Kathy Gates is the author of several e-books and e-courses designed to help people live happier, healthier, easier lives. Sign up for her ezine, "Make It Happen" at www.reallifecoach.com.

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