A few years ago, I was managing a project that required frequent travel between my central Illinois headquarters and a satellite office located many hours away.
I was fortunate to have access to corporate transportation at the time. Instead of driving, I hopped aboard a little puddle-jumper airplane which shuttled my colleagues and me back and forth between sites.
On a number of these trips, I found myself seated at the front of the plane, directly behind the pilot, where I could watch him work by simply peeking over his shoulder. To me, the gauges held no meaning, but I took comfort in the fact that he was a competent, experienced pilot who knew exactly what each dial meant.
Even while in a bank of clouds, where the windows would become blank sheets of white, the pilot had his dashboard for navigation. He knew where he was headed and his gauges would surely tell him if he strayed from the appropriate path.
Have you created a similar dashboard for your own business or personal development? Or do you find yourself taken off-course by the eruption of daily crises, competing priorities and the constant needs of others?
When you face pressure from many different directions, it can be easy to lose sight of the things that really matter—your personal or business mission, your core values, relationships with loved ones or even your own self-care.
Creating a dashboard requires no complex methodology and the elements can be easily captured on a single page. Here are a few key questions you’ll want to include, although you can certainly add to the list if you wish:
- What do I want my future to look like?
- What are the roles which matter most to me right now?
- What are the key measures that tell me whether I’m doing a good job?
- What projects are most likely to move me forward toward my vision?
- What relationships do I need to sustain or improve?
- What skills, knowledge or behaviors do I wish to gain?
As you answer these questions, focus on being as honest and authentic as possible. The only person who will see this document is you.
When you’re satisfied, keep your dashboard someplace where you’ll be reminded to review it often. In times of chaos or stress, use this simple, yet powerful, tool to filter through what is really important and what is ultimately inconsequential.
Focus on your dashboard and, in no time at all, you’ll navigate your way through life’s little cloud banks. TPW