Point A to Point B, or Alternate Route?
Updated: Feb 21, 2019
When I need to get somewhere, I go to Google Maps, put in the destination and my point of origin. It pops up a couple of options in blue. I pick one and stick to it. I follow the little blue line and the voice of the Aussie guy tells me where to turn and when.
That's how I get there.
If it’s a place I go regularly, I drive the same route to and from – no matter what:
B-O-R-I-N-G - but easy, mindless and predictable!
Point A to Point B – that’s all I care about.
I don't take alternate routes unless I'm forced to.
My husband on the other hand, frequently spontaneously turns off the “blue line route” and takes so-called “shortcuts.” It used to really aggravate me!
“Where are you going? This isn’t what the map says! It’s going to take us longer! Are you lost?”
(OK, in my defense, I’m not really that bad! I don’t say all that.... but I’m usually thinking it, let’s be honest!)
Usually his shortcuts result in us seeing something really wonderful that we hadn't planned to see! We may happen upon an old-fashioned diner. We might have some experience of a beautiful vista that we didn’t know about. There is almost always something unexpected and interesting.
We always get there, a different route, and it may have taken a bit longer – but it never fails that there is some surprise along the way that makes the alternate route worth it!
His alternate routes almost always create new memories, give us new experiences and result in more fun!
I'm a “point A to point B” person. He's an “alternate route” kind of person.
I’m learning to be an “alternate route” person, however, because I’ve seen the benefits to this mindset first hand.
This applies in so many areas of life.
In coaching we talk about “the gap.” That's coach lingo for the difference between where you are now and where you want to be. The “where you are now” (your point A) could be any situation: a work project, your weight, starting a new business, training for a 10K, how much income you earn, the status of an important relationship.
In real life it is very rare – in fact, it’s the exception – for you to go directly from point A to point B in a straight line with no detours and bumps in the road or accidents to slow you down.
Life is full of “alternate routes” – and we should expect them!
I even say – let’s invite them!
So you have an idea, a vision, a goal for where you want to end up. That's your point B, right?
When you set a goal (identify your ideal Point B) your brain starts to pop up all these thoughts:
reasons why it won't work, or
why it's going to be too hard, or
why you won’t be able to do it.
Your brain is just identifying all the obstacles between point A and point B that will make it hard to get there.
Your brain may even tell you that it’s not just hard, but impossible to get there.
What it wants is for you to stay at point A (because it’s easier and more comfortable). It may even suggest that you forget about “point B”, settle on “point C or point D” (because those are easier, quicker, there won’t be any obstacles in the way because those routes are familiar and easy and you’ve traveled that road before.)
Have you ever said this to yourself when you set a goal (particularly a big goal)?
It's not going to work.
It’s too hard.
I can't get there.
It's going to take too long.
I don't know how to get there.
I don’t know how to do the things that are required.
Your brain is actually doing you a huge favor!
What? A favor?
Yes! Instead of feeling discouraged and wanting to quit before you even start - change your mindset!
You simply need to turn those obstacles into your strategies. They become the roadmap for you to get to your point B.
So instead of looking at them as reasons why you can't get there, look at them as your direction signs and mile markers!
They are the things your brain is pointing out to you - the 'way to go':
“Hey, you're going to have to do this. You're going to have to do that and do this other thing and that'll get you to point B.”
If it weren’t for the obstacles-turned-roadmap strategy, you would never experience anything new.
You wouldn't grow.
You wouldn’t change.
You wouldn’t become more the person who God created you to be!
The obstacles (strategies) are really the heart of the journey because they present the opportunity for new vistas, unexpected experiences, growth and change.
The alternate route to the new destination is a beautiful route.
OK, all well and good. But maybe you’re asking –
“So what? What am I supposed to do with this? How do I turn this into something practical having to do with my goals – some new point B’s?”
Write your goal out – on paper, by hand, the old-fashioned way!
Then when your brain starts rattling off all of the “reasons why it won’t work” (obstacles) write them all down! Those things are about to become your strategies.
Here’s an example - a recent one from my own life.
When I wanted to start a coaching practice, two of the obstacles my brain presented were that I didn’t have a website and I didn’t have the technical know-how.
OK….fairly big obstacles that could have made me turn tail and run! My brain started looking for evidence that it was all too hard, saying things to me like:
“See…I told you, there are too many options for domain names, hosting, templates to build a website. Too hard! See I told you becoming a coach was too hard – you can’t make a website!”
NO! Time for a mindset shift…..
Instead of saying, I don't know how to do it, I shifted that around to,
“I'm figuring it out. I'm learning how to do it.”
When we do that shift, our beautiful, powerful brain starts looking for the solutions and taking the action - the proactive steps to do it.
So, you could stay at point A and be pretty happy and content.
You could just roll around in your comfort and think life is pretty great!
However, what you miss out on is the growth and the opportunities for new things, to touch other people's lives. God intended for us to grow. He didn't intend for us to just be static and comfortable hanging around in one place where we know how to do everything.
It's important for you to identify some goals, some things that will require some “discomfort” and some work.
It's not necessarily the achievement of the goal that is so rewarding and so wonderful.
It's the unfolding of the roadmap, the process of you getting from here to there that's so wonderful! It’s the stretching you’ll go through, the increased dependence on God to give you wisdom, patience and perseverance. It’s the growth you’ll experience as a human being.
You're going to grow more fully into the amazing person God created you to be!
He'll be with you through all of those challenges. He'll be with you when the obstacles pop up. He'll help you turn those obstacles into strategies to get on your alternate route to where He wants you to go.
Your “job” is first to spend some time with the Lord asking him about your vision, your goals. What are the goals that will move you to a place where He wants you to be?
Then, your job is to be willing to take the alternate route!
Enjoy the journey and I'll see you next time.
P.S. You might find my goal-setting freebie ("5 Keys to Make Your Goals S.T.I.C.K.") to be a helpful addition to this exercise – “ Go here to get it.