Tue | Jul 14, 2020

Trevor E.S. Smith | Reaching life's crossroads

Published:Tuesday | November 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Trevor Smith

Pitfall or opportunity? Blessing or punishment? Advancement or regression?

Life is tricky to navigate at times. Be it at the personal, family, work or national level.

We find ourselves at crossroads, and we are not clear which road to take.

Here is some advice: Use the practical, physical road scenario as a template!




In the travelling situation, the first key is to be clear about your destination. Don't leave home unless you know where you are going!

Well, that's a powerful starting point for navigating life's crossroads. Review your hopes, aspirations, capabilities, potential, responsibilities, and your sources of support and empowerment. Draw from that a clear description of your destination.

The more detailed and graphic the description the better. Spend time mentally savouring life at your destination. Take mental selfies in the new location.




If you need to click your fingers to tell right from left, you have a problem.

You must have some sense of the direction.

Faced with crossroads, you must have a clue as to whether to go straight, right, left or if you should turn around.

Similarly, in life we need to be able to detect which paths are likely to move us towards our goals and which ones are leading us away from our objectives.

That is why it is important to describe your goals and objectives in detail. That way, you can readily identify things that conflict with your objectives.

For example, if maintaining integrity is integral to your plan, then lying to get a dream job is not an option.




Alone at night at a crossroad, waiting around is not advisable.

Apply the same principle to life's crossroads. Back yourself to make the right call. Get a strong sense of the direction to take from your detailed description.

Be decisive. Back yourself and move forward!

Too many people get stuck at crossroads and end up missing opportunities.




One foresight that automakers had was the need for reverse in cars. How many times have we made a wrong turn and yet got to our destination?

Be confident and courageous in your decision-making. If you make the wrong call, hold firm to the assurance that you can fix it and get back on track. That is why there is an R on gear levers!




In days gone by, if you got lost you had to figure it out yourself.

Now, handy mobile devices can connect you to informed sources.

Also, you might be blessed with GPS.

Life also provides informed sources. Everyone should take care to develop relationships with people who can provide sound advice.

The quality of the advice is influenced by the extent to which the individual knows you and your situation. That requires you to be open and transparent.

There is also life's equivalent of the GPS. They are called values and belief systems.

Those are the core principles that guide us day by day, turn by turn, to ensure that we stay on track.

Take time to be consciously grounded by an appropriate set of anchoring values. That is an essential feature of navigating life's crossroads.




"Trevor, what if I don't know what I want to do in life? I am just going along with the flow and responding to prods. I have no clear plans of my own."

My advice is that you go back to the first step. Shut out what you have done or have been prodded to do.

What is it that you enjoy doing? What is it that you do a little better than others?

When people interact with you, is there a topic that comes up frequently? Why is that so?

If money was not a consideration, what would you like to do?

Those questions can give you a kick-start. If you want to get out of the situation you are in, you need to take charge of your destiny and prepare a detailed description of your destination. A behavioural profile might be helpful. Ask me about one.

- Trevor E.S. Smith and the Success with People Academy team prepare and certify leadership professionals and coach/mentors and develop engaged, high-performing teams. Hire Smart with their recruitment solutions. Now enrolling leader/coaches in the ICF/SHRM-accredited certified behavioural coach programme.

Email: info@successwithpeople.org