Have you ever thought about how sheep get lost? Even with a shepherd, they still get lost. How does this happen? The one thing I know for sure is that they did not start out lost.
The issue for sheep is their ability to stay focused. They see a nice patch of grass and think, "Mmm, this looks nice, maybe I'll have a little taste." They finish the bit of grass and without looking up, they move and continue grazing. They nibble a little here, then a little there. They take a few steps and nibble a little more. Before they realize it, they are lost. Sheep made a series of small choices that led them away from the flock.
The same holds true for people. People don't start out lost, they end up lost. Throughout the course of our daily lives, temptations to nibble and move away from the flock are everywhere. Opportunities to get lost are around every corner. People end up like the sheep - lost.
It is easy to lose your sense of direction and fail to see where you are going. Then before you know it, you look up and ask yourself, "Where am I and how did I end up here?" How can you avoid being lost?
Keep focused on where you are going. Would you set out on a trip without knowing where you are headed? It is easy to get lost if you fail to establish a destination. Set priorities and goals for your life and keep them in focus. Look to these to help keep you on track. Use your priorities and goals as a map to ensure you are moving in the right direction.
Don't be greedy. Every patch of grass will appear more lush and better than you have ever tasted. For example, people often become lost when they covet the possessions of others; a bigger house, more expensive clothes or extravagant things. They overextend themselves trying to keep up with the Jones's. Before they know it, they are lost in a financial wilderness. Establish boundaries for yourself and know when to say when. Take stock every day of what you have and be thankful.
Be disciplined. Becoming lost is sometimes a daily occurrence with sheep. They lack the mental capacity to stay on track. They constantly need their shepherd to keep them from getting lost. For people it takes personal discipline. Everyday you will face opportunities to stay on track or stray from the path. Will you hold to your exercise commitment? Will you operate within your budget or will you overspend? Will you stay the course? Be disciplined and make wise choices.
Stay close to your shepherd. It is easy to become lost while following others. Putting your trust in the wrong people can lead you astray. Inappropriate relationships can blur your focus. On the other hand, you must nurture positive relationships. Surround yourself with family and friends that support you and hold you accountable. In the event that you do begin to become lost, ask someone you trust for directions.
Live with confidence. Becoming lost is easier when you lose confidence in yourself; when you doubt yourself and your abilities. You can "self-talk" yourself into difficult places. It is during these times that you will make poor decisions. Be confident and proud of yourself. When you are down, pick yourself up and make good decisions, even when they are not easy.
Getting lost usually is not the product of a single wrong turn, but a series of wrong turns. If you begin to get lost, make corrections as soon as you can. Do not be afraid to ask for directions and start to turn back. Do not let your pride get in the way of your better judgment. Don't be like sheep; make it a priority to stay focused, stay on track, be disciplined and live with confidence.
Copyright Anthony Mullins
Elite Coaching Alliance 2005
Anthony Mullins is the President and Life Coach for The Elite Coaching Alliance. He specializes in personal, leadership, marriage, relationship and family, christian based coaching. He is the author of the upcoming e-book "Finding Fulfillment in and Unfulfilling World". He can be contacted by phone at 770.587.3545 or by visiting his website http://www.elitecoachingalliance.com