We thrive and succeed when we know what we stand for and where we are going. Unfortunately these two seemingly simple foundational keys to life today are actually very hard to maintain and sustain.
Feet Firmly Planted / Eyes On The Prize. Have you noticed that the “thought leaders” you follow have one thing in common regardless of their personal/political/ideological points of view? They all have built a foundation to stand on. It is from this position of having their feet firmly planted that they are able to keep their head in the game and their eyes on the prize.
If you happen to not consider yourself an esteemed “thought leader” you may fall prey to joining the growing population that seems to be tossed about like a ship without sails or rudder. Not hot, not cold, not left, not right, but simply going about daily activities. If this position created peace of mind I for one would consider trying it on for size but from my own experience when I am ambivalent with my thoughts it invariably yields chronic stress or anxiety.
There is something definitive and foundationally satisfying to think through your core beliefs, consult with friends, listen to a couple of experts and step onto a firm foundation.
Here is an example. As a kid I spent hours in the forest with my dogs and an air rifle. As soon as I could get my hunting license and get organized I started hunting local black tail deer. By 16 I was all in. My bedroom looked like a trappers cabin. Clearly I had built a foundation and had my eyes on a prize. Then post secondary school, living internationally and interacting with lots of non-hunters stimulated my habits and beliefs and wouldn’t you know it I became ambivalent about hunting and harvesting meat.
In this area of my life I became a boat without a rudder in a sea of strong minded influencers. While this example might not have caused copious amounts of stress or anxiety it did place me in the lukewarm water of the hunting and forest harvesting ideological camp. Not ideal and not personally inspirational.
If you add another 10 lukewarm positions in your life soon you will look down and realize that your personal foundation is less than adequate and your vision for the future is very murky and hard to achieve.
Over the past 13 years Switchback has worked with exactly 140 organizations. Amazing!! We recently had a Switchback staff meeting with the main goal being to discern our focus and direction for the next 5-10 years:
1. Who do we want to serve?
2. Who treats us the best?
3. Where can we make the most positive influence?
The US Forest Service and their participation in Interagency Wildland Fire ended up being the very top of the list. Since this staff meeting it has become crystal clear again:
1. Who we are.
2. Who we serve
Of course if an organization within a sector we have never worked in calls us up for help we will try our best to assist them. But this does not mean we shift off our core foundation.
Our Feet are Firmly Planted and Our Eyes are on the Prize.
Note: This fall I’m shifting back to my hunting foundation that I stepped off of in my late teens. My brain and hopefully our freezer will thank me for getting my feet planted and my eyes on a prize in this one area of outdoor pursuits.
1. Consider your life.
2. Think through your core values.
3. Strengthen your foundations.
4. Get your feet firmly planted.
5. And your eyes on the prize.