I have been thinking about this missive since chatting with one of my college friends living in the upper Midwest some time ago. He is a sailor and I was rather surprised that he had not taken advantage of opportunities for sailing locally on one of the many beautiful lakes in the region. He explained that there was not much to enjoy just sailing around a lake. He was accustomed to sailing along the east coast where you pick a destination and set your course. The fun is not just in the journey but in successfully reaching the port of interest and exploring before returning home again. Hmmm..........I heard him but honestly I didn’t quite get it.

My antennae were up and I found the topic creeping into my thoughts fairly regularly. I hopped on my bike and started off on one of my daily rides. My first thoughts were, of course, where to? I observed that nearly every outing was preceded by a loose plan on where I was going and my stops along the way. Even when heading out for a leisurely Sunday drive, I have a destination in mind and a thoughtful plan for some twisty roads and nice views.

What really drove home the importance of a destination (as well as having an inner voice that drives you) was a day hike at Glacier National with my son. This was day 2 of our adventure and we were looking to take it a little slow after a long hike the prior day. The ranger recommended a trail that forked and allowed you to choose a mellow destination or a pretty challenging hike.........or both. We set off with the plan to first hike the easier trail and then decide at the fork if we were going to do both. Of course, the BIG VIEW was on the tougher trail.

The words we said out loud did not match the compass that we both set internally. There was really no doubt that we were going to do both as the BIG View from the Ptarmigan Tunnel was not to be missed. The second half of the hike was not a big challenge for my son, but it was a lot of elevation at altitude for me and I was a little wiggly in the legs. With the promise of a big reward and the internal voice guiding me I’m glad to say we enjoyed a spectacular view and safely returned to the trail head.

As Stephen Covey aptly said, start with the end in mind. It’s probably the best advice that you’ll ever get. Planning is not in everyone’s genes. It ranges from those living in the moment to the obsessive compulsive crowd. In the middle are those that value planning but find it difficult to take the time to develop a plan when things are going well. My view is that is just the time to do it to insure your continued success. As we end the year, it’s the perfect time to reflect and reset your goals, the inner voice that will drive you to succeed.