A couple of weeks ago I took a beautiful hike with my family along a ridge of hills near our home. It had rained a few days before, and the ground was pretty muddy, so we had our boots on, and it was slippery in places.
As we rounded a corner, the skyline blossomed into view, and I found myself gazing at the beautiful ridge line, dotted with cows grazing peacefully, and the grass sparkling as the late afternoon sun.
And then I slipped. I tried to regain balance with my other foot, but found myself comically sliding back and forth, like a cartoon animal trying to run on ice. Time seemed to slow, and it dawned on me that the extra-slippery mud beneath my feet must be a large, fresh cow pie*. Panic set in, as I realized the consequences of falling, so I flailed all the more energetically. After several long seconds of erratic sliding, I found dry land again, stumbled, and promptly fell… on the grass.
I was exceedingly relieved, and promptly took a photo of the offending scene – complete with skid marks.
With hindsight, my mistake was to take my eye off the ball (path) – with the result that I spent a lot of energy going nowhere, and very nearly came to a sticky end.
In fact, in business we need simultaneously to have an eye on the horizon (our goals), while not taking our eyes off the steps we need to take every day to execute successfully. If we spend too much time dreaming, we’ll fall flat on our faces. But if we look only at our feet, we may be very successful at making progress in the wrong direction.
So my question for you today is two-fold:
- What’s on the horizon? What’s the long-term goal you should always be heading towards?
- What might cause you to slip up today? What’s one short-term challenge you’re facing that needs focus to resolve successfully?