The Lesson From the Paper Maps from Service Stations

Chances are many of you don’t even know about let alone remember the paper maps we used to get at Service Stations or as we say from where I’m from, Filling Stations. For those of you who do remember, I’m not talking about the patience it took to fold those suckers back like they were before you opened them.

You see back in my day (Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I just said that) when we traveled to some place we hadn’t been before, we would stop by the local Gas Station (yet another word for the same) and get a map or maps so we could route our way to the desired location. State Farm Insurance had a handy Road Atlas that made it nice and many of you fellow Baby Boomers may still have one in your car as you read this. Triple A (written as AAA) actually offered a service for their customers where you could call and tell them where you intended to travel and they would send (or I guess you could pick up) a set of maps all highlighted with the best route to get to your desired destination.

Now, we just type in the address and Mother Google or some other mapping entity does the rest! But that isn’t my story… at least not in this e-mail! Maybe next week!

Here’s the lesson… we had to know where we were going in order to get there. duh?! In order for AAA to chart our best course. In order to know which individual map(s) to purchase to mark out our course, in order to know which page to turn to in the State Farm Road Atlas.

Know where we were going? Yes! I don’t know the number of times I’ve talked to a business person (some brand new and some seasoned) who, when I ask “What does this (your business) look like when it’s all said and done?” and I get a deer in the headlight look. Not a clue!

Here’s a great question then.. “How will you know when you get there?” or maybe “How do you know you’re not already there?”

Get a clear picture of whatever your endeavor is and then ask… that to happen, what has to happen first (before) and simply walk backwards from your answer to “What does this (your business) look like when it’s all said and done?” to today. Then, guess what… you have a plan! Now go do it!

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