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On seeing the destination, but not the path to get there

The dust didn’t help my allergies.

I balanced on the top of a tiny foot ladder. My fingers counting tiny little widgets in a dusty old box.

…seventy-six, seventy-seven, seventy-eight…

The box, as it turns out, wasn’t accounted for in our inventory system. And I, as the newly hired supply chain analyst, was tasked to discover how many widgets this dusty box held.

I was 2 months into this new job, my second company out of college. The first company was bought out 6 weeks after I was hired. I tried to stick around, but unhappy with the direction of the new management, I left after a year and a half.

Young and ambitious, I wanted to make a difference with my work. I wanted to find fulfillment. But I couldn’t, especially in the dusty box of widgets.

… eighty-three, eighty-four…Is this my career?…eighty-five…Jumping to a new company every 2 to 5 years?…

I needed a way out, not just from the dusty warehouse, but from the career path I originally set out on. Deep down I knew where I needed to go, I knew self-employment was my ultimate destination.

But I had no idea what path to take to get there.

I faced what so many people in this world face on a daily basis: the ability to see one’s future destination, but the inability to see the path before us.

I knew self-employment was my destination, but instead of giving up hope because I didn’t know what path to take, I started to move forward. I took action. Unsure if each step would lead my closer, I trudged along.

And here I am 2 years later on the cusp of arriving at my destination. I knew if I kept moving I’d end up someplace different from the dusty warehouse.

Find the confidence to take one step into the unknown

It’s not easy knowing where you want to be, but unsure what steps you need to take to get there.

People think it’s an advantage to know the path one must take to arrive at a specific destination. I disagree.

I believe half the fun of traveling toward a better version of yourself is forging your own path. To step into the unknown and figure things out as you go along.

It isn’t the fastest way to your destination, but it sure isn’t boring either.

Actually, and this is a personal observation, I believe in some sense everyone who appears to be on the right path is making it up as they go along too. Life is too unpredictable to follow a specific path to a specific destination.

Where people struggle is failing to take action because a vast void of I-don’t-know-what’s-going-to-happen-next exists between them and their destination. Without a path in front of them, people are afraid to venture out into the unknown.

Why? Because they are afraid it’s the wrong path.

But guess what, there’s no such thing as a wrong path.

That's the secret so many people fail to see.

Action leads to opportunity

J.R.R. Tolkien is my all-time favorite author. I’m not a fantasy buff, but I find a lot of wisdom in his stories.

There’s a poem in The Lord of the Rings called “Roads Go Ever On” which summarizes the point I am trying to make. Here is a snippet of the poem:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

To assume there is but one path that leads directly to your destination is foolish. As Tolkien’s poem so eloquently states, our path always joins up with “some larger way.” What happens then? We don’t know.

To begin down one path will certainly mean finding a new one, and then another, and then another, until you arrive at your destination. Action leads to opportunity. Inaction leads to status-quo.

In the past 2 years of forging my own path, I started a blog, wrote a book, launched a podcast, built a business and even was hired to work as an advisor for another business.

All while working a full-time job and raising a baby.

I’m not saying this to brag, what I’m trying to show is that each path I took lead to a bigger path. The more I moved forward the more opportunities opened up.

As of now, my wife and I are dead set on me leaving my full-time job this summer and finally arriving at the destination I imagined 2 years ago.

I didn't have a path to follow. I stepped out of my comfort zone and starting moving in one direction.

We will never know what lies ahead if we remain still. Have courage and step out on to your journey.

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Hello, my name is Declan. I’m a husband, father, writer, and founder of SHRPA. My mission is to get 1,000 people serious about going after their goals and dreams.

To achieve my mission, I created an exclusive membership site available only for a select few. Are you one of them?

Stay-at-home dad. 9-to-5 escapee. Aldi aficionado. Me in a nutshell→

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