While growing up in Central Illinois and camping with my Scout troop, I vividly remember a day where perception of a situation prevailed and I learned an important lesson about reaching goals. As we ventured out that day on what was supposed to be a 10-mile hike, some things started working against us. The trail map was not quite accurate and some of the hikers did not get along with each other. However, we had our compasses, wilderness survival knowledge and strong youth leadership. Off we went!
But the trail markers were not clearly labeled and, before we knew it, we were off the trail in the middle of what seemed to be a vast, untamed wilderness. We were lost. Or at least that’s what we told ourselves until one of the older kids gave us a pep talk of sorts: “We’re not lost. We know exactly where we are; we just don’t have a clear path to where we’re going… yet!” He was right. We were still in the middle of the state park and knew roads surrounded it. Worst- case scenario, we would walk in one direction using the compass until we hit a road, follow that back to the state park entrance, and be back in camp in time for dinner.
Tired, weary and about 20 miles later, we made it back. We had worked as a team and even smoothed out many of the pre-existing thorny relationships. I still think back to that time whenever I get into a situation where the path to the end goal is not crystal clear. The lesson: As long as you know approximately where you are, and the nature of where you want to end up, the path will present itself if you are working toward that goal.