At the intersection of 168th street and Broadway (in New York) there is a subway station with two tracks and two side platforms.
This station is particularly deep and dark, its surrounding energy a bit ominous and not as upbeat as the ones I frequent downtown.
Stand above, on one of the bridges that connects the two platforms and you will see trains coming and going, one after another.
Sometimes, if timing allows, one will arrive at the same time another departs. Trains pass through this station nonstop. Where are they coming from, going to? Which one do you take?
As I find myself at my own crossroads, this station comes to mind.
Surely you know what I mean by crossroads. We all have times in our lives when we ask ourselves, where now? Perhaps you’ve just graduated, just moved/are moving, finished a job… And now you’re in that place between where/who you are now, and where/who you’d like to go/be next.
Whenever I find myself at a crossroads, I always read and wander, as sort of a brainstorming exercise. In fact, the other day I stepped inside The Strand Bookstore for the first time (now one of my new favorite places) and stumbled upon a book: The Decision Book: Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking. How aptly titled, huh? I flipped through and landed on a page titled “The Crossroads Model.”
I kid you not. It really is called “The Crossroads Model” and it was inspired by The Personal Compass, developed by a San Francisco consulting agency, The Grove.
Here’s what it said:
Where Have You Come From?
* How have you become who you are?
* What have been: main decisions, events, obstacles in your life; who are your influences?
* Think about: your education, your home, where you grew up.
* What are key words that strike you as important.
What Is Really Important To You?
* Write down the first 3 things that come into your head.
* What are your values?
* What do you believe in?
* Which principles are important to you?
* When everything else fails, what remains?
Which People Are Important To You?
* Who’s opinions do you value?
* Who has influenced your decisions, who affected your decisions?
* Who do you like, who do you fear?
What is Hindering You?
* What in your life prevents you from thinking about the important things?
* Which deadlines are in your head and what prevents you from making them?
* What do you have to do, and when?
What Are You Afraid Of?
* List the things, circumstances or people that cause you to worry and rob you of your strength
* What things, circumstances, or people make you worry?
Look at your notes:
* What is on your list, what is missing? What is your story?
Now look at the roads that lie ahead of you.
There are 6 examples. Imagine each one.
The road that beckons– what have you always wanted to try?
The road that I imagine in my wildest dreams, regardless of whether it is achievable or not- what do you dream of?
The road that seems most sensible to me, the one that people whose opinion I value would suggest to me.
The road not travelled- one you have never considered before.
The road I have already been done.
The road back, to a place you once felt safe.
It’s a lot to think about (I know), but so important especially as millennial. I know I’ll be taking the time to decide where I want and need to go. Going back to where I came from and doing what I’ve already done is of no interest. It’s time to catch the next train.
But that’s the thing. There’s always a train coming, I just have to be sure I catch the one that’s right for me.
As I use “The Crossroads model” as a guide, I’ll try to remember not to compare where I am with where everyone is. There is no right or wrong path, good or bad. Just different ones. Perhaps even a Special 1.
Here’s to figuring it out and to starting again, or rather, iterating. Here’s to the Special 1’s.
As my friend says,
Evaluate, Adjust risk. Execute.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”- Confucius
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