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Why You'll Want to Give Yourself Permission to Explore Off the Beaten Path

(First appeared in WRAL TechWire.)

I don't know where you're at on your journey, but today I'm popping in to remind you that the best stuff is almost always found when we venture off the highway.

As you know by now, roadmaps are central to our business. One of our mottos is “Be a Traveler, not a Tourist,” and this is rooted in the firm belief that you have agency over your life. You’re not being herded in a tour bus to places you don’t want to see. Nor do you need to live your life married to the route Siri chose for you. You’re on a life journey, and your current route may be charted to take you from point A to B, but you have options. You don’t have to stay the course—especially not if somebody else chose it for you.

And why would you want to stay on autopilot when there are exciting off ramps to explore? These detours are the very experiences that can change your life journey entirely. If I’m driving somewhere and I see there’s weather ahead, I’m going to alter my route, right? Or if I choose to take an offramp to enjoy a festival, I may have my best experience of the entire trip. Maybe the sights I see on that overlook may inspire me to change my route altogether, and may result in me choosing an entirely new destination. All this is possible only if I keep my mind and eyes open. 

I see this with the 28 Days of Reinvention Travelers all the time. Women who decide to take their foot off the gas, look around, and explore something new. Many of them set out in one direction thinking they want to achieve a very specific goal, but on the way, they discover an unexpected path that takes them to even greater heights.

So here’s my admission to you today. Turn off cruise control. Take a look around. Pay attention to the many options that come your way. Stop at the overlooks; take detours! Investigate options and give yourself experiences.

Here are some questions to help you take notice:

  1. When’s the last time you gave yourself permission to try something new? What was it? How did you feel? Before? After?

  2. Zoom out to take a birds eye view of your current course. Did you design the route you’re on, or did you just fall into this? Did somebody else plan this route for you?  Is there another road you want to explore? Maybe something less traveled or more inspired?

  3. Take a look at your calendar. Do you have anything exciting on the horizon? No? Maybe it’s time to find an off-ramp to explore!

Now that you’re itching for an adventure, do the work required to chart the best course for yourself. Look up ideas. Talk to people about what they’re doing. See if anything sparks your interest. Lean into your intuition, and give life a chance to surprise and delight you.

Then report back on what you find down those backroads. I can’t wait to hear what you discover!


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