Where Am I?

Several years ago, I was in Highlands, North Carolina, heading back down to our cabin near Dillard, Georgia. As I started home, a violent storm came out of nowhere. I crept slowly down the mountain, barely able to see through the blinding rain.

As I got to the bottom, my friend asked, "Bob, did we pass that gas station on the way up?" We hadn’t. Clearly, I had taken a wrong turn.

I went back up the mountain and started over. As I wound my way down, guess what we spotted again? That’s right, that same gas station! I had taken the wrong turn not once but twice — and it got me woefully off course. Ever done anything like that?

Bob Sands here this week for The Writer’s Life. I bet you’ve gotten lost a time or two also! It's not fun. It's worse when you do it in life and, of course, your career.

But isn't that how it works? You start out on your writer’s life journey. Suddenly, you take a wrong turn and find yourself lost and off-track.

What do you do? Hope is not lost. That’s what this week is all about. I’m going to share my “No Bull” Productivity Tips for the New Year.

So what do you do when you’re having trouble getting where you need to go? Don't make the same mistake I did. I failed to ask and answer one simple question, “Where am I?”

Here's a principle to think about for today.

If you're not honest about where you are, you can’t get to where you want to go. It's easy to approach this writer's life thing with rose-colored glasses. We read about many of our colleagues that appear to be an "overnight success." If you talk to them, you'll find they weren’t — they earned their position with hard work. They have struggles and insecurities like everyone else. They freely admit it. The difference is, they keep moving in the right direction.

So, if last year wasn’t your best year, I have one question for you: Where are you? Get honest about where you are today so you can begin making progress on where you need to go tomorrow.

Have you ever made a wrong turn and had to get back on course? How did you do it? I would love to hear about it in the comment section here.

And tomorrow, I'll continue this series on “No Bull” Productivity Tips for the New Year when we look at “why prospecting is so yesterday.”

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Published: January 21, 2013

4 Responses to “Where Am I?”

  1. Many times, Bob! Reminds me of a Daniel Boone quote: "I can't say I was ever lost, but I was bewildered once for three days."

    Looking forward to the rest of your series.

    Steve Roller

  2. Oh, yes, Bob - but if you never risk taking a wrong turn you'll never get anywhere at all!

    To me, the most important thing is to view the journey itself as an adventure worth pursuing (because there's no end, unless you decide to quit.)

    My method is to treat myself like a dog. Yes really! Just like I train my dogs with positive reinforcement and don't get angry with them when they get it wrong. They eventually learn how get that reward, and they never stop having fun along the way!

    Guest (Anne Michelsen)

  3. I made a choice in Jan of 2009 to sell out of a company where I was the president and enjoyed a nice salary. I wanted a writers life and did edit work for a consultant friend of mine. I then chose to work with Non-Profits and grants. I was lost and did not see a gas station. I went back to the top of the mountain, looked down to find a path I knew - business writing. 2013 has started well. I have two ongoing clients - WITH routine income.I am also 2/3 done with my novel. Learn from being lost, and remember a path you know.

    Guest (Scott)

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