Don't Look for a Map ... Make a New Path


Don't wait for a map to show you where to go and how to get there. A map will only take you where lots of others have already gone!

I love the rich and picturesque questions submitted by 48 Days Podcast listeners.  Here’s one:

Dan, I believe I am at a crossroads. I am a product designer and I have finally achieved a life long dream of designing a product that will soon be released. One would think I would be at the top of my career and would be happy but I am not. To achieve this it has affected my life, health, and my new marriage in a negative way. While this has been going on I have been reading business books for the past couple of years and have been thinking I’m in the wrong place. I believe my passions are teaching, art, and then design. I had to become someone I am not to get employment in the first place (conforming to a corporate work horse) and this position makes me feel there is no soul in my work.

I feel as though I am in a gray world where I have been reading about a colorful distant land that is more of an idea than a real place. In my eagerness to get to that place I just fear I’ll get on the Titantic and then – you know the rest.

I know change is in the air. Just looking for the map. Sincerely, Charles


Here’s a piece from Seth Godin’s book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

“Here’s the truth you have to wrestle with: the reason that art (writing, engaging, leading, all of it) is valuable is precisely why I can’t tell you how to do it. If there were a map, there’d be no art, because art is the act of navigating without a map. Don’t you hate that? I love that there’s no map.”

The concept is that successful people can’t be told exactly what to do.  They have to release the artist within to find their own unique success.

Think about that.  Do you need a map for everything you do?  In discussing this with some brilliant friends recently, they quickly decided we don’t need a map, but we do need a compass.  If you’re in the middle of the woods, a map will take you right back to the well-worn path and you’ll see just what everyone else has seen.  However, a compass will get you to the desired endpoint but along the way you may see the baby fawns, magnificent waterfall, and other hidden treasures that have never been put on the map.

And that compass is having a clear sense of your Personal Mission in life.

If you need a map, your work may be predictable but boring.   If you need a map, your religion may be full of rules but missing authentic spiritual experience.  If you need a map, you may give your spouse a gift on your anniversary but be missing her real heart’s need.

Don’t wait for a map.  A map will only take you where lots of other people have already gone.  There is no map for your extraordinary success. Develop your compass – and see your life become rich and meaningful.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Want to see a whole book of people who are leaving a trail?  Check out Joanne Miller and Dorsey McHugh’s new masterpiece:  Be Your Finest Art

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