Time for inventory

Nobody I’ve ever met likes to take inventory of anything because it’s a tedious and time-consuming process. With my background in a variety of accounting-related tasks that spans nearly three decades, I know just how important a precise inventory is as far as business decisions go.

How about personally? Every now and again throughout the journey, we need to stop and take a little personal inventory. Here’s some questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I on the right track?
  • Is this path getting me closer to my goal, or might a different path be better?
  • Why do I want this goal anyway?
  • What about me has changed? What else might need to change?
  • What other goals do I want to set?

It might be easier to keep on plugging away without the introspection, but that would be like driving “anywhere” without checking the map. Sure, it’s fun sometimes, but if you have a specific destination in mind, adherence to a map is fairly essential.

I remember when my husband and I were on our honeymoon. We were in Great Britain, and after we found out that I simply could not get the hang of the right-hand driving (don’t ask how many curbs I hit!), I became the designated navigator. Every evening, we would take out the map, decide where we want to spend the next night, and what places we wanted to visit on the way to the next destination.

Specifically, I remember one day when we were in Northern Scotland, north of Inverness. We intended to drive the coastal route around the northern tip of the Scottish mainland and head back down the western coast to stay in Inverness again that evening. At some point during the day, we realized that the trip we proposed was not possible in a single day’s drive, and since we had left all of our belongings in the hotel to which we intended to return, a different evening destination was not possible. I directed my husband to turn west and follow a road that would ultimately lead us to the western coast. I remember him asking at one point if we were on the right road. In extreme northern Scotland, as I explained to him, there are two east-west roads and about four north-south ones. As we were heading west, we had to be on the correct road, even though it seemed to be taking longer than we thought it should. We found out on that trip that telephone boxes are more plentiful than rest stops, and that sheep are the most frequent road hazard.

My point is that we had to take inventory of where we were, decide if it was going to help us reach our intended destination, and make any needed course corrections. What I’ll never forget are the unexpected sights we saw along the way that day as we made our way across very rural areas: a pheasant (up close and pretty personal), lots of heather, beautiful rolling hills. Of course, there was the occasional terror of “oh shoot– ARE we on the right road?”

Once in a while, stop and take inventory of your life. Are you on the right track toward your goals? If not, why not? What beautiful experiences have you had along the way that were unexpected?

Remember this: Any destination is possible, as long as you have an idea of where you want to go.

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