Monday, August 06, 2018

Are You on the Wrong Bus?

When I was in Mississippi several years ago, I heard the story of the driver who was pulled over by the Highway Patrol officer going south on Interstate 55 at 80 miles per hour. The officer asked, “Where are you going?” “To Memphis,” the man replied.  “You’re headed south.  This won’t get you to Memphis.”  “I know,” the driver said, “but I’m making such good time.”

I was reminded of this story when I read Seth Godin’s post about being on the wrong bus.  Yes, it was not easy to get on the bus, you are comfortable, and it’s getting dark outside, but you are still on the wrong bus.  You have made a mistake and you need to correct it. Godin writes, “If you really want to get where you set out to go, you're going to have to get off the wrong bus.”

The moral of these stories is that if you are heading in the wrong direction--in your professional life or with your church or organization, you need to admit it and change direction.

Changing direction is not easy.  You may have to admit that you made an error and lose face.  You may have to confront the powers that be and help them understand that your church or organization can invest all the time and energy they have available to continue along the same path, but it will not get them to where they want to be.

As Lewis Carroll wrote, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”  A wise person or organization identifies a preferred future and starts moving in that direction.  There may be detours along the way, but at least having some clarity about where you are going avoids wasting time, energy, and resources.

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