The Difference a Turn Makes
It was quite a few years ago now but I remember it clearly. I remember because I was scared that I was going to die. Driving through the neighborhoods on an icy winter day, I neared an intersection ready to turn right.
My brain was in neutral as I subconsciously hit my turn single only to find my steering wheel fight back.
Ever have your power steering go out?
Normally, you should be able to turn the steering wheel with little effort whenever you want to steer the car into a curve or around a corner. If you find it a major effort to turn the steering wheel to turn the car, your power steering system is going out.
In this case, what was meant to be a 90-degree turn became a 45 degree turn as my car veered towards another unsuspecting vehicle stopped at a stop sign. I slammed my brakes on just in time to avert the collision, but I had to use all my strength just to turn the steering wheel.
Think about it, the ability to travel to a destination is dependent on the capability to make turns.
In previous articles we have been looking at the need to make the decisions which build momentum. It starts with the realization that leaders are destination experts. Then we choose to not travel alone, as leaders become developers of people.
This final article in this series on building momentum addresses the ability to make turns along the journey.
When traveling, it is crucial to know how and when to make turns, after all, no destination is reached by maintaining the same direction. We always need to see the turns coming, we always need to adjust, and we always need to recover.
Seeing the turns up ahead
Three years ago, Steve saw what was coming. As Pastor of a 40 year old church, he saw that he and the leadership of the church had become focused on “how to make their church better” instead of on “how to serve their community and others.” It was subtle, and it felt almost natural. After all, many books and conferences were challenging leaders to make their programs better, fix their buildings, create pathways for their existing people to grow. None of those things are bad in and of themselves, except that the mindset becomes about us, instead of what the true mission is.
Steve saw where it was leading, and with the help of his team, designed a right turn. Time to refocus on the mission.
Time to stop thinking just about ourselves.
Time to intentionally plan on when and where they would turn, to build relationships with their community and serve it.
What do you see when you look ahead? More than likely, you see the need for a turn. Will you plan for it?
If you do, momentum is soon to follow.
Need to adjust
But planning the turn is not enough, you also need to adjust.
On the way to an appointment, I suddenly realized that my pre-planned route was not going to work. It was a Sunday evening and the highway department in the fine state of Illinois decided to close two of the four lanes on the highway, and traffic came to a screeching halt as drivers in the left two lanes began to frantically merge into the other two lanes. I was going to be late, unless I made an adjustment to my route. Thankfully, I could pull off and create a different route to get to my destination.
Did you catch that? Same destination – Different route.
- Momentum is built when we adjust to the detours that we encounter.
- Momentum is stalled when we stop.
- Momentum is destroyed when we constantly create new destinations because of detours.
Maybe construction makes us late… but don’t let lane closures change your destination.
Recovering from a missed or wrong turn
When was the last time you were lost? Technology certainly has helped, as I have three different GPS apps on my phone. Despite all the backup, during a trip to Charlotte about a month ago, my GPS directed me to an empty field.
Unbeknownst to me, the address I had entered was missing a letter. It was N 181 Street not just 181 Street. I made a wrong turn.
It’s not the first time I have made a wrong decision. As a matter of fact, I have realized that it happens all the time.
- We miss a turn when we don’t recognize a great opportunity to love people.
- We make the wrong turn when instead of developing others we do everything ourselves.
- We miss a turn when we choose programs over people.
One thing that has helped me is realizing that I am at least partially responsible for every bad choice I have ever made. If that is true, then when I realize I missed a turn, I need to ask three questions:
- What’s my next turn, to will get me back on course?
- What did I learn from this missed turn that will help me along the journey?
- How do I keep from making this turn in the future?
One thing is for sure, making the right turns along the path is crucial.
One last thought: It’s not just the turn that’s important, there is a need for power steering. As leaders set the course, make the adjustments, and recover; it’s all irrelevant if our vehicle’s power steering is broken.
Just remember where our power comes from…
One turn to make is getting outside help. Intentional Impact has a variety of resources to help you. You can start with a free call, any time. Intentional Impact is ready to help. Contact us today to get started.
When have you failed to turn? Or, are you trying to discover which way you should turn? Let me know below in the comments below.