Recently, I was having a skype call with a mentor of mine who lives in Dublin, Ireland. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to connect and a lot has transpired in both of our lives.
My mentor, Blair, is someone who I look up to very much. He’s the kind of person who always challenges what you think is true and forces you to look at things just a little bit differently than you did before you got into the conversation.
This call wasn’t any different.
As we were catching up, talking about the exciting (and sometimes challenging) changes that have happened in both of our lives, I started to talk to Blair about something that I’m slowly working on for my own personal and professional development: a personal advisory board.
The idea of a personal advisory board is something I’ve heard about a few times, most memorably from my friend Dev Aujla.
But that’s another story.
As I was talking to Blair about this, I asked him “Blair, I’d like to ask you to be on my personal advisory board. I’d like to check in with you from time to time and make sure I’m on the right path.”
“The Right Path.”
How many times have you thought about that? How many times have you asked yourself, “am I on the right path? Am I heading in the right direction?”
Whether its in our work, our relationships, or in Life, how often do you ask that question?
It’s a question that’s important to us. Because when we know that we’re on the right path - when we feel it - it makes all those negative feelings, those thoughts of self-doubt, and the feeling of failure seem a bit more tolerable.
We can tell ourselves that it’s just a few hurdle in the road to our success.
It seems that everyone cares about being on the right path - making sure that we’re making the right choices, taking the right steps, and doing the right things to ensure that we’re successful both personally and professionally.
But what if success in life has nothing to do with being on the right path?
As Blair tends to do, he gave me something to think deeply about.
Blair says to me, “Matt, I’d be more than happy to be part of your personal advisory board, but I want to talk about something you just said.”
Blair went on to share with me something I wasn’t aware of. He told me that by trying to find the right path, I’m suggesting that there’s a wrong path. In fact, by suggesting that there’s a path, I’m suggesting, unknowingly to myself, that there are a limited number of ways I can reach what I call for myself, “Success”.
As we went deeper into this conversation, Blair shared with me something that I’d never really thought about.
What if, instead of thinking about success as being on the right path, we looked at it as a river?
A river has a current. At times that current will be calm and the water will be flowing calmly and smooth. It may carry us in the direction we want to go.
At other times, that river may be raging. The current may be working against us. It may require us to work hard, with everything we have, to fight that current because where we’re heading isn’t where we want to go.
Maybe, in order to get to where we have to go, we ask ourselves “are you in the right river?” Are you in the program, the relationship, or the job that is right for you?
This conversation has changed everything for me. Once I become aware of this, I recognized that all challenge in my life comes with choice. I can choose to ask others if I’m “on the right path” or I can choose to dive into the river that will allow me to live like water and find my flow.
Matt Tod is an international speaker, leadership facilitator, writer and lover of all things Zombie-related.