Jason Hietbrink

When Your Path Forward Doesn’t Seem Clear

When Your Path Forward Doesn’t Seem Clear

In July I took my son, Tate, on a trip to Moab, UT. If you haven’t been, I’d highly recommend it…just not going in JULY! It was 105 degrees every day and over 90 degrees in the evenings! 😊 


I also took my daughter, Jayde, on a trip to Canada. Both of my kids love nature and enjoy hiking so I always make a point to try to find some great hikes when we’re on trips together.

There’s just one problem with me and hiking. I have a terrible sense of direction.


It didn’t help that on the Moab hikes there often wasn’t a “trail” to follow. Instead, these “trails” involved walking on enormous rocks with no clear path to follow. At times we were hiking and it was indistinguishable where the trail actually was and whether we were going the right direction.


Sometimes I thought I was headed on the right path to get to the destination I wanted, only to realize I was on the wrong path, headed in the opposite direction.


At various points throughout the hike, we’d wait for someone else who had perhaps already completed the ascent to come down and verify that we’re going the right direction. Due to the difficulty of the hike and the fact we were traversing this hike in the heat of the day, we were one of the only people out there.


We got turned around multiple times and deliberated whether we should just head back.


One of the reasons I love hiking is because there are SO MANY applications to life and business.


Here are a few applications you can take with you:


#1 – You can’t determine if you’re on the right path by standing still.

Often we want validation that we’re going in the right direction. And that’s not a bad thing. But the only way you can know for sure is to keep moving.


Standing still doesn’t get you any closer to your goal. And unlike most hikes, there is no road map to follow in every situation.


Your next step will reveal itself only after you take your next courageous action.


#2 – Don’t be so arrogant to think YOU know what your path should look like or that you know where your current path will ACTUALLY lead.

When circumstances aren’t going the way we designed or imagined them going, when our current results don’t seem to be leading us closer to our desired outcome, we get frustrated because we think “we know” how things “should go”. I get it. I can feel the same way.


However, that belief is incredibly arrogant.


When have your plans to achieve something big EVER gone exactly as you imagined?

What makes you think you know best how things should go?

How many times in the past have you THOUGHT something was headed in the wrong direction only to discover the new solution was actually not just new – but “new and improved”? 


Recently I had a new client tell me that he NEEDED 3 things in order to get to where he wanted to go in his life and business. I challenged him with this question:


“What if what you THINK you need most is actually the LAST thing you REALLY need?”


  • Don’t hold so tightly to your belief of how it “ought” to go.
  • Don’t get discouraged or frustrated when circumstances seem to be pulling you in the opposite direction.
  • Embrace where you are, keeping the faith that it will be a building block to lead you to where you should be going.


Sometimes, what’s happening is EXACTLY what you need to get where you want to go and you wouldn’t have arrived there if it weren’t for what at first appeared to be a wrong turn.


In my hike with Jayde in Canada, we went down a different trail than we had planned and initially felt frustrated by it. But look where it led us (below)

#3 – As a high achiever, the journey is often lonely.

When you’re a high achiever, you’re often one of the very few people walking at that elevation and therefore you can’t wait for someone else to verify and validate that the decisions you’re making are the right ones. Odds are, you’re one of the few people traveling the road you’re traveling. It’s why you’re a high achiever!


You can’t always know whether the decisions you make are the right ones until AFTER you’ve made them. And even if you make the wrong decision and go down a path that doesn’t lead anywhere (that happened to us multiple times) – as long as you are committed to keep going, you’ll find your way.


In summary…


Often in business the path forward is unclear. In those moments what we want more than anything is to know for certain that the strategies we’re using and the choices we’re making, are going to get us closer to our ultimate goal. It’s human nature. But remember, you don’t need certainty.


Keep moving forward. Be willing to forge a new path on your own. Take action before you have “the right answer” because often even your best laid plans can take a detour…one that leads to an even more beautiful version of the destination than you initially imagined.


The good news for all of us is that even when things don’t go as we expect, it doesn’t mean we’re not on the best path to reach our goal.


The journey will always look a bit different than you imagined, and that’s more than okay.

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