Coming home it was a stormy day in Florida and most of the first part of our trip home was through a pretty solid cloud bank. We did briefly see Orlando as we were taking off and were treated to momentary views of Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, much to the delight of my daughters.
My older daughter told me several times on our trip out that she hoped we would get to fly through clouds. Now she’s bored because the view never changes. There is no landscape below, no sunshine above, not even any different shapes or patterns in the clouds. It’s just an endless gray wall that never changes and seems to have no end.
As we traveled across the country, I thought about how our plane trip was a little like being in business. It’s a lot like flying through the clouds. In the beginning, I could see just enough of the ground below to have a pretty good idea of where we were. But as the clouds got thicker, it was much harder for me to guess where we might be or, since I wasn’t the pilot with the instruments, if we were even headed in the right direction.
Unlike a great plane trip on a beautiful sunny day where you can see the countryside (or the ocean) as you fly over, where you can see that you are progressing toward your destination, and where the journey is interesting, flying through the clouds can not only become boring, but dangerous. Pilots who spend their day flying through the clouds must rely even more heavily than usual on their instruments because not only can they not see the ground, they also cannot see any possible hazards in the air. They must have a way to know if they are on course and approaching their destination. Entrepreneurs need their “instrument panel” of goals to stay on course and avoid any hazards that may crop up along the way.
In business, like in flight, you need to take off knowing where you’re headed. Sure there are times when a flight gets rerouted or you need to change your business destination, but more often slight course corrections are all you need to stay on track. When the clouds come in business—and they nearly always do—your goals and your focus will act as the instruments do for a pilot—they will enable you to know where you are and how close you are to that destination. They will also help you to avoid some of the hazards of your flight of self-employment that could result in a spectacular crash.
Your goals are your key to business success. They will not only get you off the ground, but they will keep you on course throughout your journey. While it’s important they not be so rigid there is no room for course correction, they need to be focused enough to guide you to your destination.
How is it with your business? Do you know your flight plan? Are you prepared to fly through the clouds?