At the crossroads, I look at my grandsons; take a coin from my pocket and say, “Heads we turn left. Tails we turn right.”
I use a simple coin game to teach my grandsons an important life’s lesson. We walk to the end of the driveway and flip a coin. If it comes up heads, we turn left and begin walking. Tails we go in the opposite direction. At each intersection we stop, flip a coin and turn left or right. We walk and talk a lot but rarely make it to the playground … they’re preferred destination. After the boys grow tired, they ask “Pop, can we stop flipping and go to the park?”
The goal of my coin-flipping trip through the neighborhood has a purpose. I want my grandsons to learn three important lessons of a successful life:
- When simply left to chance, rarely do you reach your desired goal or destination.
- When you leave a decision to chance, you have no control of the outcome.
- It’s far better to rely on wisdom than chance when you stand at a crossroads.
In past centuries, crossroads were simply sites where roads intersect. In the 21st century, crossroads are more commonly understood to be situations where we make critical decisions. Common crossroads include:
- Do I marry him/her or stay single?
- Do I ask for a divorce or seek reconcilement?
- Do I become a parent or wait?
- Do I relocate or stay?
- Do I make changes to my business or sell?
- Do I remain in my current career or change?
- Do I choose faith in God or ignore Him?
Instead of flipping a coin at an important crossroads, successful people rely on seven sources to chart their path:
- Talk to people who’ve experienced the same crossroad. Seek people who have knowledge, experience, wisdom and discernment. Ask “Which way did you choose and why?” The odds are good that persons older than you will say, “I’ve been down that road. Let me tell you what happens!”
- Think about the consequences of crossroads before they happen.Ask what-if. What-if I’m asked to relocate? What will happen if I say “yes”? What happens if I say “no”? What if I treat the wrong person I married right? What’s at the end of the road I’m about to choose? Is it really what I want or need?
- If you’re a married man, seek your wife’s intuition. More often than not they’re correct. As a sign in Albert Einstein’s office is rumored to have read, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Facts are important at a crossroads, but feelings should not be discounted.
- Seek input from optimistic people. Negative thoughts lead people to do nothing or make poor choices. Optimists look up. Pessimists look down. If you look down, you won’t see where each path leads.
- Success is not logical. Following a crowd is logical and instinctive but often leads to destruction.Don’t dismiss the illogical choice … the road less traveled. Robert Frost says in his poem The Road Not Taken:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
- Slow down and read the road signs.Much like highway intersections, personal or professional crossroads have directional signs if we’ll simply pay attention. You can’t read signs if you’re going too fast. If you think you’re in love but your potential spouse has $20,000 credit card debt, speaks hateful to their parents and drives recklessly on the highway, read the signs!
- Seek God’s will for your life. When you choose the road God approves, He smoothes the way and provides the resources you’ll need. Everyone has a road to success. God knows where it is. You’ve got to find it with His help.
At My Crossroads
I sought those seven sources when I arrived at a very important crossroads this month. After much thought, discussions with my wife, advice solicited from valued friends, and much time in prayer, I’ve chosen a road less traveled.
On May 31, 2006, I will walk away from ICMS, the Activity Based Management consulting, training and software company I founded in 1988. Beginning June 1st I will assume the newly created role of Executive Pastor for a rapidly growing mega-church in the DFW area. The name of the church is Crossroads Christian Church.
I will forever be grateful for the thousands of customers during the past 18 years who placed their faith in the principles of ABM and the products of ICMS. I am also thankful to the many people, including my wife and daughter, who were willing to work along side me during those years to serve our customers.
If perchance our paths cross in months or years to come, be sure to wave and say hello when we pass at a crossroads.