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Destinations and Transitions

Greetings from beautiful Kalispell, Montana

I’m spending a few days near Glacier National Park to combine a mastermind meeting (with a couple of friends and colleagues) and a speaking engagement on Wednesday.

On the way here, I made a flight connection in Salt Lake City. Once our plane landed, then taxied to the gate, I jumped into the aisle and prepared for the sprint across the airport to the commuter prop plane that would take me onward. As we waited for the aircraft door to be opened, the Delta flight attendant spied my desire for a quick escape, and asked me a question:

“Sir, is this your final destination?”

I responded, “My final destination? I certainly hope not!”

The off hand remark made us both smile, but afterward the good feeling lingered, long enough to pierce the growing anxiety I had been experiencing.

Perhaps you have felt it also – an increasing sense of discomfort and uncertainty. With the economy in question, the stock market performing daily “e-ticket” roller coaster rides, and the political climate charged to the max in anticipation of next week’s election, I’ve noticed that many people, myself included, seem to feel more vulnerable, on edge, and even fearful of what is to come.

What I took away from that brief encounter with the Delta flight attendant was a sense of perspective. Regardless of what happens with the economy or the election, it is not the “final destination” for any of us. What happens next is simply another chapter, a state of transition, and a new experience that will arrive, unfold, and change once again.

“Off Balance” Amplified

I teach living “Off Balance On Purpose,” and this has become my personal mode of operation. I believe that achieving life balance – affecting a perfect symmetry between the demands and events of life – is an unrealistic objective. You will never get there! “Off Balance” is how you learn, grow, love, serve others, and fully experience what is happening around you. The question is: Are you off balance in response to your world? Or, are you deliberate and proactive?

What I think has happened recently is that the “Off Balance” aspect has been amplified. The pace of change is quickening. Worldwide, economic stability is faltering. Nobody can confidently predict where we are headed. As a result, we feel like mountain climbers ascending a treacherous peak in the fog, stepping carefully on rocky terrain that may give way without notice.

By living Off Balance On Purpose, we add intention and meaning to the effort. Instead of simply responding to the events and demands of life, we can initiate action and take responsibility for our roles in ever changing circumstances. Each day presents new demands and opportunities for you to embrace or reject.

Destinations and Transitions

Our culture has placed great emphasis on the destinations of life, beginning at a very early age. We routinely ask children “destination questions,” like:

What are you going to be when you grow up?

In our adult years, we focus on destinations, such as:

Where do you want to live and work?

What are your goals?

How do you envision your retirement?

A compelling vision of the future is important. It propels us forward and gives us a sense of purpose. But the experience of living – enjoying your days and making meaningful connections with the people around you – is not about pursuing destinations. It’s about making smooth transitions.

Especially in uncertain times, we need to abandon expectations for specific outcomes and timelines. We need to think less about destinations and more about transitions. Look forward with curiosity and interest. Remain joyful and optimistic about what is to come, and assume the role you play to shape your events and surroundings.

Life’s transitions and segues from one scenario to the next are shaped by your input. The experience, even when it is unanticipated, can be purposeful, when you validate that you can make a positive difference. Play your part with enthusiasm and emotion, and become a master of transitions.

Into Action

  1. Make adjustments – Just as we have shaped our consumption habits relative to gas and other items, we can make other adjustments to tame the transitions. Adjust the way you interact with others. Be a little more encouraging and thoughtful. Kindness doesn’t cost anything, and the return on investment is off the charts!
  2. Anticipate, but Adapt – Forecast the future and make plans, but be willing to adapt. The future, when it gets here, will always be different in some way from our imaginings – perhaps for the better.
  3. Step up your Service – Get more involved with helping others in your community or family. Share your time and resources during this time of transition.
  4. Stay True to your Principles – When we navigate violent and unpredictable seas, our beliefs, values, and guiding principles are the beacons of light that steer us safely from disaster. Follow them always and reject the notion that “desperate times call for desperate measures.” Challenging times call for character.
  5. Keep Looking Up – Look for the good news that is still all around you. (Hint: It’s not on the TV or radio.) Remain optimistic and upbeat when others choose desperation, and you’ll discover it is far easier to keep pressing forward.

In the end, the real question isn’t “What is your final destination?”

It is “Are you making meaningful connections along the way?”

Wishing you smooth transitions, now and always,

Dan

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