How Do We Know Where to Go?
Recently I was driving a couple of my kids back from a Saturday morning baseball game. It was held at a park next to an elementary school, and as we were leaving, a lady swerved all over the place trying to enter the parking lot. I had to stop and wait for her to pick a direction, and I casually said, “She has no clue where she’s going.”
To this statement, my daughter responded: "How would she know where to go?"
I appreciated the way she empathetically felt for this other driver. All I felt was annoyed.
As I thought about her question, I decided to find a good answer to it. Eventually I settled on this idea: The easiest way to know where you’re going is if you’ve been there before.
The irony of this is that I’m not good directionally. Unlike my wife (who as a realtor, seems to have all of Arizona mapped out in her head), I rely heavily on my Waze app. But I can appear very proficient directionally if I've been somewhere enough times to lock it into my memory (as I was doing that day).
I thought more about my dislike of not knowing where I'm going. I bet you do too. It's why we often shy away from learning new skills because we don't enjoy the feeling of being bad at something. We often shy away from trying new things because we don't enjoy the feeling of looking silly. We often visit the same places instead of exploring new ones because we don't enjoy being outsiders.
But I've also found that life is better when we give ourselves the grace to try and make mistakes. Have you ever found yourself saying things like, "We should have thought of..." or "I should have brought..."? My wife and I do this all the time. These days I'll counter that we need to stop "shoulding" ourselves whenever I realize we are falling into this trap again. It's easy to know what you should have done AFTER you've done it. But that's the point.
While I've had lots of experience in public speaking, until recently, I had very little experience podcasting. That's why I was excited to begin podcasting with a friend as we recorded numerous episodes of us talking through different books of the Bible (see: The Forest and the Trees). This experience helped me learn many things about podcasting and the fact that I enjoy it.
Recently I decided to build on that and launch my own podcast (see: Cabernet and Pray). Even though I felt much more comfortable podcasting, I wanted to try adding new software and hardware this time. And that means I need to give myself grace to learn and make mistakes.
As a case in point, my camera was out of focus in the first episode. The audio files I played live cut out on the recording in the first two episodes. But because I'm giving myself grace, you'll notice that episode three (which posts next week) looks and sounds much better. That's because I'm constantly learning and refining my craft.
So this is your reminder to keep at it. We tend to be hardest on ourselves when we don't thrive at something like someone else. A commitment to improving on something means it gets easier. But you've got to be willing to make mistakes even to begin.
If the easiest way to know where you’re going is to have been there before, you've got to go places and get lost to eventually know the way. How do I know how to podcast? I've driven that road enough times that it is starting to feel familiar.
What road do you want to explore? Allow yourself to use that metaphorical direction app until the route feels familiar. Especially if you have no clue where you're going.
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