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Are You Getting Detoured?

When I was a child, my family took a vacation each summer. Our journey would take us to visit relatives half a continent away. On the way, we spent time enjoying the scenery. We detoured to various landmarks and parks, but we always knew where we'd end up.

Life is a journey and not a destination. But you need to know where you're going in order to stay on track. If you don't, you could wander in circles and never get anywhere. In both your personal and professional lives, you must keep your journey's end in mind.

If you don't know where you're going, detours or diversions could take you permanently off course. If it's a temporary diversion, the bypass could give you a new perspective or information. When my family visited various attractions along our route, we were entertained and learned something about the region. My mother, an artist, found beautiful landscapes she would paint. We were inspired and uplifted by our explorations. Most were planned, some were spontaneous. But we always got back on the road to our destination.

Detours can be tempting. It satisfies a desire to experience something new. But if you continue to be distracted, following your interest from place to place, you could find yourself heading in the wrong direction. Eventually, you could get lost. Confusion sets in. Without an objective in mind, you wouldn't even know how to get back on track.

For instance, you have the deadline to an important project looming, one that could boost your career. Instead of focusing on it, you watch cat videos online, rationalizing that it relaxes you and helps your creativity. Although a little break is helpful, you waste half the allotted time on entertainment, which means you have to work overtime to get it done. And because you're tired and rushed, the finished product isn't up to your usual standards.

If you want to drive from LA to NYC, you need to have a plan on how to get there. If you haven't mapped out a route, you could get sidetracked by every place of interest along the way, and there are a lot of them. The Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park. You could zigzag around visiting them and find yourself in Montana when you're supposed to be in New York.

Suppose family is a priority for you, but with your career you have little recreational time to spare for yourself and your loved ones. In a weak moment, you're talked into serving on the board of an organization you support. A worthy cause, but the time and effort you put into it is more than you bargained for, and you spend precious weekends occupied with it. You've allowed yourself to be distracted from what's most important to you, and you and your family lose out.

Your life is created of the thousands of little decisions you make each day. Every choice needs to be weighed against your vision or desired destination. Does it take you in the right direction, or does it tempt you off onto a side road? When you're on a diet, does eating that piece of chocolate cake support or undermine your goal? If you decide to indulge, you'll probably feel depressed about it afterwards, and give up on the diet. One decision can lure you completely off track.

Create a vision and have a plan and process of how you want to move towards your goal. With every action you're tempted to make, ask yourself, "Does this move me towards my vision or detour me away from it?" If it's a detour, ask yourself if it's worth taking. Will it give you valuable experience, information or resources, or are you making decisions that will sabotage you? If you do choose to get diverted, have a plan as to how you'll get back on track afterwards.

Keep checking to make sure you're on target to your destination. If you get detoured, it's not the end of the world. Simply make course corrections. Your purpose is to keep moving in the direction of your vision. When you do, you will enjoy the rewards of your journey a whole lot more.

Copyright © 2009-2023 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved

As a focus coach, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart motivates women to focus and transform their business through deliberate actions that break through distraction and overwhelm to greater success, freedom, wellbeing and prosperity. Watch her FREE training video on Set Your Course to Success: 4 steps to strategically achieve your goals with confidence and ease. Register for the video and accompanying action planning guide at You can contact her at or 928-600-0452.


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