June 2020 (Updated December 2020) · 3 Min Read
Maria felt lost. Starting the engine that morning felt right. Her foot lifted off the clutch and she started to drive. Her only need at that moment in time was to get away from the place she had called home and to try something different. After reading that life guru’s column, she knew that following the signs would get her to where she wanted to be.
3 hours into her drive and Maria had seen signs everywhere. Every time she came to a crossroads, a roundabout or a motorway junction, there were signs. There were signs for places to eat, for towns, for places to shop, for lifestyle choices, for everything. The problem was, Maria had no idea what she wanted. Her short-term need was fulfilled and that felt great; she had escaped! Yet, working out what to do next seemed like an impossible task. She ended up driving home.
Paul’s path was clear. He could see the future and nothing would get in the way of him reaching his final destination! Up ahead, about 45 minutes into his drive, Paul saw the sign for a town he had been told was one of the most beautiful ever seen. He didn’t realise he would be passing this masterpiece of architecture, design and je ne sais quoi: 3 of Paul’s favourite things. Still, nothing would get in the way of his final destination. He ignored the sign and kept on going.
As he looked up another hour into his journey, Paul saw a sign for the national festival of music and dance. If there was anything better than architecture, design and je ne sais quoi, it was music and dance. It didn’t matter, Paul drove on.
Upon reaching his final destination, Paul came to realise that it was nothing like he expected. Even the bits he would have enjoyed at the start of his journey seemed to have lost their sense of awe.
Alyona had thought in great detail about where she wanted to be. Her final destination was a long way away but she knew there were a few places she could stop off in between. Feeling assured, she started her journey. Every time she passed a sign towards her destination of choice, she followed it but she always took note of the other signs around her. Her first stop was exactly the paradise she was expecting: palm trees, white sand and a clear blue sea! Perfect.
Driving towards her next stop, Alyona was excited to see the turtles but every time she passed a sign for dolphins, she couldn’t help but wonder… Her number 1 rule when planning was always “plans can change”. With that, she made her way to the most incredible experience of her life and tells the story of Flipper to her grandchildren every day.
These not particularly well thought out stories have many holes in them and we're not just talking about Flipper’s blowhole. Yet, the message is an important one. Planning ahead in business is vital. We need to look into the future to give us a better understanding of how to deal with the present. Knowing where we want to go allows us to put what we are doing into context. If our current actions are getting in the way of our future, are they worth it?
Sometimes, the answer to that question is yes but if that’s the case, it’s a good idea to know why. Maria was lost because she had no idea where she was going but Paul missed out on so much because he was too rigid in his thinking. Alyona was able to progress and found it easier to follow the signs because she had a plan but when something came along that felt more important than her future destination, she embraced it. She could try to reach her future destination later or plan a new trip.
One of the first things we do in the Puck Creations’ Defining Your Brand Workshop is discuss the future. We don’t care if you stick to this plan for the next, 5, 10, 15 or more years. What we do care about is that you have some idea where you are going. As you take your business forward, a lot can be said for following signs but let’s remember that THE signs don’t exist. There are many signs indicating different ways forward every single day. If you know where you’re going, you’ll know which ones to follow.
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