Choose the yellow brick road – or a narrow path

Dorothy, at the start of her grand journey through Oz, pauses to consider which way to go. (The Wizard of Oz film photo)

Dorothy, at the start of her grand journey through Oz, pauses to consider which way to go. (The Wizard of Oz film photo)

By Vickie Elmer

Sometimes the best career path to take isn’t even on the path or a map.

In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is trying to decide whether to go to her left or her right. “If we walk far enough,” says Dorothy, “we shall sometime come to someplace.” 

Perhaps she ought to go straight ahead through the cornfield and snaking around the stream. Or maybe she’s supposed to stay right where she stopped, for a few hours or a few days as she fills sacks full of corn and other provisons for the crazy uncharted journey ahead.

We also want to choose which way we’re headed, and then sprint ahead into our future.  Yet sometimes, makes sense to think through out hopes and dreams and destination before bounding off.

Here’s three questions to answer for yourself, or with a trusted friend or partner, when you must choose a path:

  1. Where do I want to end up? What’s my ideal destination?  How do I describe the best outcome? Perhaps use vision writing to clarify.

  2. Who else will have maps and a life-GPS or other useful tools for my journey?  Who could be your guide, advisor or companion?

  3. What traits or resources do I need to locate or pick up right here before heading onward?  This question is especially useful if you’re thinking of quitting a job, or giving up a prestigious nonprofit board seat. How can you gather up resources now so your unpaved route is not so difficult to traverse?

Another way to look at this: Think about what your legacy will be, and how you will leave your mark on your city, your profession, your circle of friends. Then ask yourself questions that advance those big goals.

Some would say that action and moving forward are crucial, and I agree, but moving toward a specific place

The Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz learns a lot about what he really needs.

The Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz learns a lot about what he really needs.

or career goal or skill (or heart or brain) means you do not have to backtrack or change directions too often. Sometimes the best decision is to wait a while, think a bit and carefully consider the right route. For we are all becoming, and those who carefully aim themselves are more likely to hit their targets.

It’s true that as we go along, we find new insights and new paths that seem more suitable.  But those may be adjustments based insights.  As the Wizard of Oz once told the Scarecrow:  “Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on earth the more experience you are sure to get.”

 Please share your best questions or approaches to discovering your path.

 

 

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