Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action -James Levin
A few years back when we were living in Zimbabwe, we used to visit our folks in the Eastern Highlands. The journey had a number of milestones including a place called Halfway House. This was halfway through the journey and is a place where we would normally stop for a number of reasons. I used to enjoy the fairly priced macadamia nuts, cashew nuts, biltong and some dried fruit from the farm store at this place. We would stop to rest a bit, take a comfort break, stretch our legs or body break, grab a bite, check tyre pressure, top up goodies for our folks among other things. At the Halfway House those travelling by bus would also stop for the same reasons, while some motorists would stop to change tyres, refuel or ask the petrol attendants for directions. This was the experience at the Halfway House and there are some lessons I would like to unpack.
This week marks the last week of June, and end of the 2009 first half. How times flies! At the beginning of the year, you set goals you wanted to achieve by the end of the year. You are at the ‘Halfway House’ of your journey, and let’s have a conversation around this place.
Time for A Break
Just as a drive on a long journey takes toll on your body, the pursuit of your goals also puts pressure on you physically. You might be getting grumpy, tensions headaches, muscle aches and general body stress. It’s a sign that you need to park yourself at the ‘halfway house’ and get a body break. A body break allows your body to regain energy while clearing your mind of clutter and giving you an opportunity to focus. Take the day, afternoon or week off. Go on a weekend breakaway to just get your body and mind back into gear. It doesn’t have to cost you money…go to the local city park, go to the village or spend the day at home just resting for a change. From time to time the body needs a comfort break to release mounting tension and negative energy build up. As the negative energy is displaced it is replaced by positive energy which starts to fill up your tank…
Top Up Your Tank
The motorists and buses would normally refuel at the Halfway House. This refill would make them last the whole journey. They would also top up tyre pressure, oil and radiator water to cool down the engines. As the year progresses, your energy and passion tank might be half full by now. This is a time for refilling to make you last the whole journey. The wheels of your goals might be low on pressure and turning slowly, putting pressure on your energy tank. It’s time to add some more pressure to help with a better bounce. Purpose is the fuel that fires the vehicle of your dreams. Goals are the pressure that helps you stay focused on your purpose. Passion is the oil that helps the wheels of purpose to turn. Discipline is the water that helps prevent you from burn out. Once you have enough fuel, oil and pressure in you, you will be ready to finish, and finish strong!
Are You Going in The Right Direction
Along the journey, there was no better place to ask directions than at the Highway House. I remember I would see a lot of motorists asking the petrol attendants for directions or remaining distance. It’s so easy to continue one’s journey without asking directions, but the chances and cost of ending up in the wrong place are very high. Just a quick check of your bearings or directions is a small price to pay than to go through the whole year chasing the wrong goals. Are your goals still in line with your purpose? How much more effort do you need to put in order to achieve your goals. You need to have the reassurance that you are on the right track and that your goal is within reach.
Change Your Goals
If you are on a journey, you cannot change your vehicle, but you certainly can change your tyres. Your vehicle is like your purpose. Your purpose is what and how you are wired. The tyres are the goals on the vehicle of purpose. If the goals are worn out, it means the vehicle of purpose won’t move. Tyres without treads will soon cause a car to crash or slide on slippery roads. If your goals are lacking traction because they are not SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) then your purpose is headed for the skids. The only thing to do is to change the goals and put goals which fit in with the purpose.
I would like to encourage you to strengthen the feeble knees, prop up the drooping hands and square up the sagging shoulders. Take some time to reflect while you are at the ‘halfway house’ of your goals. Confirm your directions, fill up your tank, top up and make the rest of the journey fired up and ready to last the distance.