The other day I met with a client for a business coaching session and while reviewing her recent updates she told me that she had added several things to her schedule that had nothing to do with her primary focus for her business. Between offering to help friends and to take on projects that seemed to help her business but maybe actually didn’t, her schedule was suddenly too full and I wasn’t sure if any of these new responsibilities were actually helpful to her business. In just 2 weeks since we’d last met, she appeared to be off course. Off course to her goal, her bigger picture, and to the Vision for her business that we had been working to build each time we met. So what had happened? She hadn’t done anything wrong per say, she was just trying to be a good friend. Each of the things she had added to her plate individually seemed small and that they shouldn’t impact her business too much on their own. Even a few of these things may have directly benefited the Vision of her business, however, I thought this might be a good time to do a Compass Check.
What is a Compass Check you might be wondering? Well, let me explain first how to use a compass for those of you who don’t know how. Here is the basic principle:
Look ahead in the direction of where you want to go. Sometimes this is so far away we only have the compass heading to guide us. There is probably a giant mountain, ocean, or forest standing in between you and where you want to go. Let’s just say its a 270* heading that we know will get us to where we ultimately want to end up. But, it’s so far away that we can’t actually see where that is or what it really even looks like. We just know that that is where we need to end up. Compasses are accurate and yet they can also be really touchy. It’s important to constantly check your heading and readjust to make sure you’re still heading in the right direction since you haven’t actually seen where you’re going to end up. How you keep on track is picking small landmarks off in the distance that you can still see, walk towards the object, then recheck your compass and your heading and adjust as needed. Then do it again, pick your next landmark as far away as you can actually see, walk towards it and when you get there, look at your compass again and readjust. If you do these small readjustments on a regular basis while following your compass, than you will reach your heading within a few feet of where you want to be. If you never look up from your compass and check that you’re still on the right heading and readjust, than you very easily could end up miles and maybe even hundreds of miles off course! If you don’t believe me, then go grab a compass and test it out!
Now that you know how to use a compass, lets relate this to your business or even your life. A compass is a metaphor for the heading that you’re taking to reach your business or life goals. It’s also a gauge you can use to see if your life or business goals have veered off course. Maybe you working towards doubling your profits, or maybe you have a goal to save up for an amazing family vacation. Perhaps you’re looking for your next career move or clarity around your spiritual journey. Whatever the goal might be, it symbolizes your Big Picture Vision that you would have for your business, life, family, spiritual journey, etc. The “landmarks” that you’re spotting along the way metaphorically symbolize mini-goals or action steps that you’re completing in order to accomplish the Bigger Vision and goal. These mini-goals and action steps keep you on track along your heading and let you know if you need to readjust in order to reach the bigger goal.
When we did a Compass Check for my client that day, we had to ask some tough questions. We had to directly and openly look at whether these new added responsibilities were keeping her on course towards her business goals or if they were guiding her off track? Quickly she realized that all of these things expect perhaps one would really take her away from her compass heading and the Vision she was working so hard to achieve for her business. There was one added responsibility that could be in alignment, but would need one really strong boundary to be set to keep it heading in the right direction. With doing that quick Compass Check, she was able to readjust and get right back on track moving towards where she ultimately wanted to be in her business.
When was the last time you did a Compass Check for your business or for your life? Are you on track and readjusting to your heading every mile or so? Are you consistently setting mini-goals and actions steps to keep you on course? Or, has it been ages since you’ve looked up to check your compass? It might just be time to readjust your heading…
Tabitha enjoys living in Tucson, Arizona with her husband Jared, and her adorable doggies Shadow & Scooby. Stay tuned for Tabitha's upcoming book Serendipity in which she takes us through her time in Africa.