September 5, 2014
When I was 11 years old, my parents took me on a road trip to see my Great-Uncle in Navajo, New Mexico. It was a long drive from my hometown in Gardner, Kansas.
We drove through most of Kansas, the panhandle of Oklahoma, and all the way across New Mexico. And we did it without Google Maps, Siri, or an in-car navigation system.
Well, that’s not totally true. We did have an in-car navigation system. It was called a “Road Atlas” and it was extremely well used. The pages were faded and torn. Half of Kansas wasn’t even attached anymore. But it still got us to where we were going.
Nowadays, our nav systems are very high tech. They tell us the road we’re on, where to turn, and what exit to take. Some even tell us when we’ve made a mistake.
My Audi nav is very nice. When I turn right instead of left, she makes the course correction without pointing out my mistake (I’ve always had trouble telling my right from my left…).
My old Garmin nav, however, seemed very irritated when I turned the wrong way. In a condescending tone, she would say, “recalculating.” The message was ok, but I could have done without the tone.
Last week, I attended Chuck Blakeman’s BLI lunch and his speaker guest was Tommi Wolfe, The Startup Expert. She helps entrepreneurs build their dream businesses.
While Tommi had lots of great wisdom to share, she said one thing that really resonated with me. She said most of us beat ourselves up with a lot of negative self-talk when we make a mistake.
We say things like, “If only I would have…” or “How could I have been so stupid…” or “That was a dumb thing to do…” or worse.
Instead of beating yourself up, though, Tommi says you should take a lesson from your car’s nav system and simply say, “recalculating.” You made a mistake. There’s no sense dwelling on it. Just recalculate your course and continue on your journey.
I think this is a good first step to stopping the negative self-talk, but I like my Audi’s approach even better. It makes the course correction without saying anything. It skips the self-talk altogether. I think that’s the real end-goal.
Looking back, it’s hard to believe that old Road Atlas got us all the way from Gardner to Navajo. That worn out, faded, torn up book of roads was nothing compared to today’s high-tech nav systems.
And yet, for some reason, I still have a Road Atlas in the trunk of my car. Even though I have an in-dash nav and two different map apps on my iPhone, that atlas is still there, just in case, someday, I have to kick it old school.
And if that day comes, I can rest assured that, just like my Audi, my trusty old Road Atlas won’t point out my mistakes, either.