On the Love Like You Mean It Cruise last week, we had docked for a half day at Key West. They’d told us over and over again that it was very important we be back on the ship at 1:30 p.m. as the ship was leaving the port at 2 p.m. and they didn’t want to leave anyone behind.
We made sure to verify the time before we caught a free trolley and headed out for a morning of exploring Key West. We were engaged in conversations with friends and weren’t really paying attention to how the trolley got us into downtown nor where the trolley was supposed to pick us up once we were ready to go back to the boat.
We loved the shops, the beautiful weather, visiting Harry Truman’s Little White House, and taking pictures of James Audobon’s house (we tried to find Earnest Hemingway’s house, but we got messed up on directions and missed it!). A little after noon, we decided it was time to start heading back in the direction of the boat. We felt like it was only a mile or so away and we had lots of time so we didn’t even mess with trying to figure out how to take a trolley back. We just started walking on foot.
We could see the ship docked next to our cruise ship in the distance, so we both confidently walked for blocks and blocks until we reached that ship, thinking it’d be easy to then just walk a little farther to get to our ship. However, when we got to the second ship, we discovered that you could only board that ship from that dock. Our cruise ship was right next to it, but the docks weren’t connected and all of the passageways were gated off.
So, we retraced our steps, and then headed in the direction of our cruise ship. After walking and walking, hitting dead end after dead end, we started realizing that this was nowhere as easy as we thought it was going to be. By this time, it was around 12:50 p.m. and we were beginning to panic a little knowing that we only had 40 minutes left before we were supposed to be back on board. Since they had no way of contacting us on shore, if the cruise ship left, we were stuck in Key West with nothing but the clothes on our backs and a little money. Not exactly what we’d choose
And not only were we panicking about the fact that we might be left behind, but we were now also in an area of Key West that was off the beaten tourist path. In fact, it started to look quite run down. There were people milling about who were very clearly not tourists — and it was pretty obvious that we were tourists — and lost tourists, at that.
After encountering a few rather creepy individuals, we decided to just start running for the nearest busy thoroughfare we could find — even though it was blocks away and we had on flip flops. (It’s amazing how those little details fade when you feel like you are somewhat running for your life!)
We finally breathlessly made it back to a more touristy part of Key West, with just 30 minutes to go until our ship was supposed to leave port. We were exhausted, out of breath, and still very lost.
Feeling a bit helpless, we did what we should have done from the start: we found a trolley that was stopped at a stoplight and asked for directions. The kind woman started to trying to explain to us how to get to back to the ship, but then she said: “Nevermind, it’s really hard to explain. Just get on the trolley and I’ll take you there.”
Let me tell you, those were sweet words of relief to us! With her experience and navigational skills, we ended up making it back to port in no time at all.
We both realized we learned a good lesson that day: if you don’t know how to get somewhere, it’s much more efficient to ask for directions from the get-go than to go on a wild goose chase trying to figure it out yourself.
We can apply this same lesson to our finances or to other goals in our lives. So much of the time, we can know the end destination of where we want to get to — be it to become debt-free or to lose 20 pounds or to build a successful business — but we really don’t have a clue how to get there.
So we try all these different rabbit trails and dead ends to get there, too embarrassed or proud (or just plain stubborn!) to stop and ask for directions from people who have been where we want to go. In the process, we end up wasting so much time and energy and end up making no progress.
Where do you want to go? Find someone who’s been there and ask for directions.
- Do you want to get on a budget? Read books and blogs with practical financial advice on living on a budget. Find someone in your circle of friends who is living on a budget and ask them if they’d be willing to review your budget with you and give you some pointers on what you can do to improve. Ask them how they’ve achieved the financial success they have. Encourage them to check in with you regularly to make sure you’re staying on track.
- Do you want to start a business? Read books and blogs on leadership, entrepreneurship, and marketing. Pick the brains of anyone you know who has or has had a business. Ask them to share their successes and failures. Ask them for their top three best suggestions for you, a budding entrepreneur. Ask them if they’d be willing to critique your business idea/plan.
- Do you want to be more successful at goal-setting? Read books and blogs on goal-setting and intentional living. Find a friend who does a great job of setting goals and ask them to mentor you in this area. See if they would be willing to help you determine what your pitfalls to goal-setting success are and to regularly check up on your progress.
Note: Don’t ever expect or ask for someone to spoon-feed you or try to leech off of someone else’s success. This is a guaranteed way to meet an instant closed door when you approach a successful person. However, most successful people will be more than happy to give you at least a few pointers if they see that you are motivated, teachable, and truly want to learn.
What area(s) of your life do you need to ask for directions in today? Who’s an experienced navigator you know whom you could go to and ask for some guidance from? Tell us in the comments.