I’m lucky I had signpost in my life. At important times, I got pointed in the right direction by particular circumstances.
We all have them – comments or conversations, sometimes with complete strangers that we may never meet again. Like a fork in the road these words or experiences land heavily on us and can guide us for the rest of our lives.
The three of my most powerful were:
- Early in my career I interviewed a 48 for a forklift drivers role, he had many different jobs over the years explaining that it was the gypsy in him, that he would just get up and leave every 6 months or so. I get that I wasn’t worldly, and I didn’t even have a family at that stage but remember vividly thinking that there was no way that I was going to leave them (or myself) in that situation – I took from this that I would always be the master of my own destiny.
- I have written before about the terrible experience of the cab & the cardboard box treatment seeing my wife and then 3-month-old on her hip on the front door step. The fear in her eyes and the humiliation I felt personally were something that will never leave me – not a great experience and one I’d wouldn’t with on anyone but one that I’d never change. This laid the foundations of my belief that everyone’s careers are as important to them as mine is to me and should be treated with care and respect no matter what.
- The final one (for this piece at least) was just a few years ago when I’d lost a friend to cancer, been through another restructure at work and spent a weekend with a former work colleague who’d said that she hadn’t heard me laugh the whole time. This taught me the importance of living your life’s purpose not someone else’s KPIs.
What are your signposts?
What meaning have you given them?
How have you used them to navigate your life?
The benefits of reflection are profound; the simple act of thinking about what you did, how you did it and how you could have done it better will help ensure that when next you come up against a similar challenge or experience that you get better outcomes.