I was traveling a few years ago and had a layover in Houston.
I had about 20 minutes to board my connecting flight that was on the other side of the airport. Now, if you’re not familiar with the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, it’s huge. I rushed off my first flight and caught the SkyTrain and made it on right as the glass doors closed.
I could breathe. I’d be on the other side of the airport in no time. I pulled out my phone to respond to a few client text messages and catch up on some emails.Ten minutes later, the automated voice announced we had arrived at the final terminal, but we still hadn’t passed the terminal I needed to be at.
I was on the right train that was supposed to take me to the terminal I needed to be at but I boarded it going in the opposite direction. Instead of checking to make sure I was on the right train, I relied on my assumptions.
Here’s the thing. I was really upset at the moment because I missed my flight, but looking back on it now I’ve realized a few things. First, the train truly accomplished its goal. It arrived on time at every scheduled stop. Second, I was still on time to catch my flight if I had only headed in the right direction. Third, I handled a lot of important matters in the process but the result was still negative.
It got me thinking about how this applies to pursuing your goals. I see guys who are making amazing progress, often in the right vehicle, but they’re headed in the wrong direction or to the wrong destination. Just like I was on that SkyTrain in Houston. I took care of some business texts and emails while set to arrive on time, but I still ended up in the wrong place.
How often does that happen to you? Probably at least once recently. If you’re not paying close attention it’s easy to get in a groove of productivity but not notice the overall direction you’re headed in. There are three lessons you can take away from this example and apply to your reboot.
1. You are always heading somewhere in every area of your life
Whether you realize it or not, you’re always headed in one direction or another in all aspects of life.
In your relationship, you’re either headed toward greater intimacy, better sexual satisfaction, growth, and self-realization, or you’re headed toward loneliness and emotional pain. In terms of your fitness, you’re moving in the direction of improved physical function, better strength, mobility, flexibility, and breathing, or you’re moving in the direction of weakness, injury, low mental function, and disease.
It might seem like a drastic all-or-nothing way of looking at things but it’s true. Every choice you make pushes you in one direction or another. Now, you’re not going to be able to head in one direction all the time in every situation every single day. But on average you’re heading one way or the other based on the choices you make most of the time.
Is the direction you’re heading in the place you want to end up at? If it isn’t then you need to make some changes right now at this moment because you have the opportunity to make a shift.
2. Your direction shouldn’t contradict your intention
In the story I told above, my intention was making my connecting flight. It was a pure, good intention but it didn’t matter since I was headed in the wrong direction. The direction I went completely contradicted my intention.
There are plenty of situations where direction contradicts intention. For example, let’s focus on finding freedom from your compulsive behavior. Your intention is to end your behavior with pornography and masturbation so you invest in a course, work with a therapist, and get involved with a 12-step group.
You work hard at your new commitments but you don’t take much of a break and neglect your self-care. Not long after you find yourself overcommitted, stressed out, and overwhelmed with all the things on your plate. Eventually, that leads you to medicate your stress with porn and masturbation and you’re right back where you started.
You had the best intentions with everything you signed up to do but you were ultimately heading in the wrong direction. When you’re pursuing your goals you have to make sure that you’re taking the right actions that will get you to where you want to be.
3. Your direction should always come before action
We always talk about the importance of action but the direction is what’s most important. It doesn’t matter how much action you take if you’re heading in the wrong direction. Think about it. I took action. I got on the SkyTrain, contacted a few clients, and the vehicle moved right along. But because I didn’t prioritize the direction, and even though some of the actions were positive ones, I still ended up in the wrong place.
Before we begin any project at Porn Reboot, the team here defines what success looks like. We decide what the goal looks like when we accomplish it long before we even begin. Once we know what the result should be, that’s when we go back and plan. We work backward from the goal that we’ve set.
When you get on a call with me or one of our strategists we do the same thing. What is your goal? Where do you want to be? Is it realistic? And then we work our way backward. The direction always comes first.
So what direction are you heading in right now? Are you moving towards your intended result or away from it? Even if you’re making some good progress along the way, where is that going to land you once it’s over? Set your direction from the beginning to ensure your actions don’t go to waste.