by Kenneth Boa

Leadership Qualities: Purpose and Passion
Dr. Kenneth Boa

"Just turn right after the railroad tracks. You can't miss it." Locals have a quaint way of giving directions to lost motorists. They make a lot of assumptions. "Go past the Johnson's old farm to where the grocery store used to be." They forget about the fork in the road or the new traffic signal. "You can't miss it," they insist. But the problem is that while THEY may not be able to miss it, WE often do. And, after traveling 15 or 20 miles out of our way, we have to turn around, go back to that last intersection and ask for directions again.

Sometimes we move through life thinking we can't miss it. The next turn will be so obvious. There can't be any doubt which way to go at the next junction. But how many times have we discovered, to our chagrin, that we're completely lost and should have taken the other fork 20 miles back?

There's an old story about a pilot who came over the intercom and said, "Good news, ladies and gentlemen: We've got a very strong tailwind and are making excellent time. The bad news is that our navigation equipment has gone down, so we have no idea where we are." Perhaps this is a fitting analogy for many of us. We're making great time on a road to nowhere. We're on the fast track, but we don't really know where all of this is headed. When we finally get what we've wanted all these years, we discover that it wasn't really what we wanted after all. So, we hop on another treadmill, but it leads to the same disillusionment. How far do we have to travel, before we turn around, go back to that last intersection and ask for directions again?

A well-known poem whose author's identity has been forgotten says it like this:

"Across the fields of yesterday,
He sometimes comes to me
A little lad just back from play -
The boy I used to be.

He looks at me so wistfully
When once he's crept within
It is as if he hoped to see
The man I might have been."

I ...

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