Beware of rabbit holes.

#15 in my series of Lessons Learned blog posts
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.

I love literature and, again in 2010, I took many queues from words in books I’ve read. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there” is a phrase attributed to the 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The phrase does not actually appear in the novel; but the reference comes from Chapter 6:

Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat.
I don’t much care where– said Alice.
Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, said the Cat.
–so long as I get SOMEWHERE, Alice added as an explanation.
Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.

Simply put, work is a series of decisions.  Decision making on a college campus is a thing of fascination (think positive spin). So often, we don’t decide. Why? Because decisions are hard, we might tick someone off, we’ll have to tell people about the decision … (add your favorite reason here).

I submit that having concrete goals will help you decide (eating fewer calories will help you lose weight too). Yes, it sounds obvious but knowing what you need to accomplish is the perfect way to narrow options you are considering. Knowing your end game is the ideal way to gather whatever data you need prior to the decision. Of course I realize it’s not always easy but I think reminding yourself of where you’re trying to go is at least step one toward making a good decision.

This is my last post in a series about what I learned in 2010. Today is January 15, the year is still new. For 2011, I don’t have complete information but I have a good sense of my direction.

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.

If it’s cliche, I don’t care. The phrase works for me.

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Author: susantevans

Susan T. Evans is director of corporate and foundations relations at the College of William & Mary. She is a proven strategic leader with deep expertise in advancement, communications, brand management, marketing, digital strategy, technology, administration and organizational development. She is known for creative and strategic approaches to challenges within higher education, nonprofits and business.

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