Crossroads

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

-AndreaM

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”- Confucius

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