Success is Not Linear

Overpasses, underpasses, jug-handles, U-turns — no, these are not directions to grandma’s house, they’re the route to success.

The difficult and sometimes random nature of success is like travelling on the highways, byways, roads, and paths to a destination. Sometimes there’s construction or detours but you keep moving. Things can seem like they’re going well and suddenly a setback, U-turn, or obstacle comes out of nowhere and all the hard work to get where you are seems in jeopardy. Slow speed, high speed and everything in between.

If you’ve ever seen a scatter chart that is what success really looks like — some highs, some lows, and some direct hits scattered around a target or goal. Certain assumptions will be challenged or proven completely wrong while others are going as planned.

Sometimes one of the lows feels like you’ve taken two steps back but only one step forward. Get used to it because that is exactly what will happen. Remember, however, that there will be times that you also feel like you’ve taken five steps forward and one step back.

It’s the trend line that makes the difference, the odometer that keeps ticking over. This same chart with a line running through the center shows that in spite of setbacks progress can and does continue.

It’s when the line begins to dip and there are more lows than there are highs that things need to change. Take setbacks in stride but keep a watch on the trend line and keep driving.