I have – so many times it’s not funny. Well actually, it IS funny.
Sometimes very funny.
Once, I drove almost 60 miles on the back roads of my own county, just trying to find my way to a main road. (It’s easy to do that where I live.)
Another time, I wandered almost 100 miles out of my way driving across Virginia. Have I told you that story?
I love traveling, even when I can’t afford the time nor the money to do so. So when I was invited to visit Virginia Beach for a one day workshop that I knew would help my business, I really wanted to go.
I tossed and turned and worked on it in the back of my mind. Flying wouldn’t work – too expensive. Riding a bus wouldn’t work – no direct routes. As for driving, it was too far (at least 9 hours each way) to make sense for a one day event.
And then, in the middle of the night, it hit me.
I could leave a few days early, and camp along the way, thus turning a harried, rushed business trip into an easy opportunity for a little much-needed down time. I could camp there and back for four nights total and still pay a little less than I’d pay for one night in a hotel. Really. And I’d enjoy it more too.
So, I left Knoxville early on a Friday afternoon, heading up I-81 into the spectacular Shenandoah Valley, then into and over those rich green mountains. From there, I planned to follow Highway 58 directly east all the way across the state to the ocean.
It was a beautiful, easy drive, and everything was going just fine.
Fluffy white clouds danced on mountain tops every where I looked. Lazy cows grazed at roadside. I sang my way through my favorite CD’s, and stopped every now and then to send out a tweet, just to share the beauty with all of you.
Then, about an hour before sunset, I realized that I hadn’t seen “Hwy 58” on a sign in some time.
“Hmmmmm…That’s odd.” I thought to myself.
So I picked up the map lying on the seat beside me. I looked up the city names I’d been seeing on a few signs, and made a startling discovery.
I was on the completely wrong road, heading in the completely wrong direction. You may recall that I was expecting to drive directly EAST. The ocean was EAST. :)
I was heading straight north.
So perhaps this is why my counseling clients used to look at me like I was crazy when I’d suggest that they should take a trip, maybe a BIG trip, maybe even by themselves.
Because they, too, could find themselves on some skinny unnamed two-lane blacktop in no-man’s land an hour before sunset that’s nowhere near where they meant to be. Aack!
I had plenty, so I was never really worried. Besides, If I had to, I could always sleep in the car. It was mostly an inconvenience I hadn’t planned on – but that’s all. And that, too, is another thing I love about traveling. Nothing ever goes quite like it’s supposed to, and yet it’s all OK.
It’s all just part of the story.
And isn’t that exactly how it goes when you’re running a business?
One minute you’re clear as day about where you’re going. Things are humming along just fine, and you’re happy as a lark.
The next, you’re lost, and feel like you’ve taken a completely wrong road.
It happens when a launch doesn’t work, or an ideal client turns out to be not so ideal after all. It happens when you build one business only to discover you really wish you were building another.
So what do you do at a time like that? Pull off. Figure out where you are. Figure out where you want to be. Pick out a new route. Then drive.
Of course, you might want to stop every now and then and make sure you’re still on the right road. :)
It’s alright. It’s all part of the story that’s unfolding on your way to becoming who you really are. It’s a long and winding road, with lots of twists and turns along the way.
Explore it. Enjoy it. You’ll find your way just fine.
Photo Credit: frankieleon on Flickr, and Wendy Pitts Reeves