Asking ourselves this important question, can really open our minds: “I’m I a navigator?” At first read, this might seem as if I am speaking about a person who steers a ship, boat or some other mobile traveling vessel. But, we can go beyond this literal thought to express an even deeper understanding. In my journey to develop as a leader and add value to my circle of influence, I am learning how to navigate the course. If you find some time to study the work of John C. Maxwell, you will learn this amazing leadership principle that propels you to the next level. In John C. Maxwell’s book, the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he gives us pertinent direction how to develop in this area of our lives. Law #4: The Law of Navigation, speaks to me strongly because I have both had experiences in this as a leader and still learning assiduously as I become a top notch navigator – leader. In this law, John outlines, “Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a Leader to chart the course.” There is so much packed into that one statement and the current forum would not allow me to express what this really means. In fact, because I am still learning how to apply the Law of Navigation, I would not want to do too much explaining. However, I can share one experience.
Like a captain of a ship navigating the seas and determining the best path to take, we too must do the same in our life to get to where we desire and deserve. As I reflect, I can see multiple situations where I was blessed to use the law of navigation to get me to where I am today. Let me share with you a brief story. It all happened while I was completing my Master’s Degree in Environmental Sustainability, Health and Safety Management at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. My journey on that campus has so many life lessons that I hope to share one of these days, but I am going to stick to the one about navigating my way to help lead a Toastmasters group on campus. The reason for my love of Toastmasters was that I believe wherever I have a club I have people that I can connect with. My first couple of weeks on the campus I started asking. Sadly, there were no Toastmasters groups on campus. The ones which were in the area was too far away, but I had in my head that if I find one my life would be so much better.
My search finally led me to connect with some other enthusiastic people who were passionate about the experience as well. It took me an entire semester to find this connection, but I did. I heard there was a demonstration meeting on campus and because people had heard me share my interest I was immediately invited. After meeting the group for the demo meeting – if I must say it – the rest is history. Tiger Tales Toastmasters was born and we have metamorphosed into one of the largest and strongest clubs in District 65. This is how I applied the Law of Navigation in my life. I saw what I wanted and did what was necessary to get there. I can assure you that we had our challenges, but we were determined to leave a legacy for countless generations to share in. Though this is not my strongest area as a leader, I have noticed how I can develop a strategy to get what or where I wanted. I believe John C. Maxwell sums it up beautifully in this acrostic so we can understand what it means to chart a course with a navigation strategy. He shares:
Predetermine a course of action. Lay out your goals. Adjust your priorities. Notify key personnel. Allow time for acceptance. Head into action. Expect problems. Always point to the successes. Daily review your plan.
I have learned some valuable lessons at an early point in life, that we should do things that we want to use to serve others. There are so many areas in my life that I am learning to navigate and become a better servant for the people around me and those I hope to meet. We are on a journey in this life and if that journey needs captains, I am one of the first to sign up to take the lead and act. Today, you might be wondering, “How can I get started?” I suggest PLAN AHEAD. As you try to figure this all out why don’t you do the following as well:
Ask yourself, “What do I really want?” What I’m I willing to do to achieve it? As a navigator, we can see what we want and relate it to the trip ahead. In essense, “What is your calling?”
Know what you are looking for! It is amazing what you can see when you know what you’re looking for. It is amazing to hear when you know what you’re listening for.” ~ Scott Fay, Senior Vice President John Maxwell Team
Draw on the experiences of your past. Build on your experience. Do not be the guy or the girl with the 20 years of experience and has not grown through the process. It should not be one experience at the same level for 20 years. Scott Fay says, “Gain experience and gain it massively.” Follow the principle of John C. Maxwell where he has dedicated over 40 years to Read, Write, Think, Ask Questions and File every single day. He focused and mastered his ONE Thing!
Have Faith and Facts. This allows you to forge ahead knowing you have a vision and through faith, you will develop the facts to get you there.
As a Navigator, listen to what other people have to say, but make sure you are listening to the right people.
My friend, I encourage you to continue to grow and discover where you are as a navigator and leader. Develop the mindset that allows you to question where you are today and become the navigator who examines the conditions before making commitments. This is such an important step to learning in our desire to be great and stay great.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” ~ Psalm 1: 1-2
#Keep Doing Your Best Work!