“Surround yourself with those who light the way.”
It was just another pithy Pinterest graphic; worth a nod and a smile. Forgotten in the wake of a great chicken recipe or a cat playing the piano.
But I recently had occasion to reflect on the wisdom of “lighting the path” when a friend and I had a long conversation about career decisions. She’s got two opportunities to choose from, both with pros and cons to them. Meanwhile, I was wondering if my writing career can expand into a website devoted to time management and productivity for fellow writers, and if the Emilia Cruz series will ever get off the midlist.
As we talked, my friend–a social scientist–unwittingly defined for me what “lighting the path” means when faced with a decision:
1.How many people will it help? Do we want a life that is self-contained and narrowly focused? Or a life that impacts others for the better?
Will the next decison create well-being or lead to better health? Solve problems for others?
2. Just because an opportunity is available doesn’t mean it is the right one. Will a short-term gain wipe out the chance to fulfill a long-term dream?
Yes, this is why Penny quit waitressing at the Cheesecake Factory.
3. It is worth spending time defining and owning your long-term goal. My friend and I discussed our career goals. Where would each like to be 5 years from now. Once we did that we could apply one of Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly successful people: “Begin with the end in mind.”
We didn’t bring peace to the Middle East but the conversation clarified things for both of us. We can both see a better–albeit highly ambitious–path.
Now the question is one of courage.
I hope you have a chance now and then to have such conversations with friends who help light your path.
No flashlight? Dead battery? Strike a match and keep going. Brainstorm, weigh options, find your heart’s desire, own a long-term goal. Don’t aim at nothing.
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