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Overcoming “The Drift”

What exactly is “The Drift?” The Drift is the natural tendency we have as men to coast, and in a way, take our hands off the steering wheel of life and allow ourselves to be controlled and put ourselves at the mercy of all that life offers.

The fact is that there are forces at work against us that keep us from accomplishing what we truly want in life and, unless, we’re actively engaged in the process of intentionally living our lives, it’s very easy for us to get off course.

Today, I’m going to share with you why this happens but, more importantly, 3 measures you can take to ensure you maintain the course you are meant to maintain.

The reason I thought this might be something worthy of talking with you about is because I was in my Scout the other day and I dropped my comb on the ground. I leaned over to pick it up and took my eyes off the road for a split second.

And, in that split second, the drift took over. When I popped my head back up I realized the drift had caused me to veer into the left lane. Fortunately, I made a minor correction and was back on the right side of the road. No one was hurt and I did not run into anything.

But, it got me thinking about how quickly and easily it is for this drift to take over. In my truck, it could have happened for any number of reasons: the alignment in my truck could have been off, I could have hit a small rock in the road, the slope of the road could have been trailing to the left, the wind could have blown me that way, and again, any number of other reasons.

So, how does this apply in life?

How is easy is for you and I to get off course? Pretty easy, right?

First, most of us don’t have any direction in the first place. That being the case, the drift doesn’t really apply because you don’t know what you’re drifting away from.

But, there are other things that happen as well. Distractions from family and friends. Discouragement from those closest to you. The fact that you’re extremely busy as is so even thinking about adding one more thing to your plate causes you to shut down. Even success to a degree can cause drift because you’re content with yourself and you ease up.

Eventually The Drift takes you down a road you were never interested in going down in the first place: a job you hate, a relationship that feels more like living with a roommate than your wife, a lack of connection with your kids, success in certain areas at the expense of what truly matters to you.

These are all symptoms of The Drift.

Which, begs the question, how does one combat the drift?

Three very simple steps I want to share with you.

CLARITY

The first step is clarity. If you don’t know where you want to go, the drift will take hold of you and destroy any chance you had of thriving your marriage, your job, your fitness, and you life.

You have to, at least to some degree, understand what you want in the first place. I know this can be a challenge. It seems to be one of the most frequently asked questions I get – how do I figure out what I want?

Simple, you ask. You ask yourself. You ponder. You give yourself the margin to reflect and think about your life.

And, remember, you don’t have to have it ALL figured out today. Figure out what you can now and refine the focus more as you go. This is not a one-time process. This is a lifelong refining journey.

But to start, I’d recommend focusing on 4 areas: Calibration (which is a focus on your mind and soul), Connection (which is a focus on relationships), Condition (which is a focus on your physical fitness), and Contribution (which is a focus on becoming a man of value in your career or community service).

This isn’t an exhaustive guide to clarity but it will get you started in the right direction.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Now that you have an idea, at least to some degree, of what you want, you need to build in some accountability.

There are two ways to do that: accountability to yourself and accountability to others.

When it comes to being accountable to yourself, create processes and systems that literally allow you to check your progress off each day. I personally use our Battle Planner which you can find at www.orderofman.com/battleplanner but, as long as you have a system for checking your progress, its’ fine.

When it comes to being accountable to others, I recommend building a band of brothers. These are men in your life who have willingly accepted the position of keeping you in check and keeping you on track according to what you said you wanted.

Again, this is not an easy or exhaustive guide to making this work but I will give you a resource at the end of this show to help you tap into a band of brothers. In the meantime, you might be interested in my interview with Stephen Mansfield on the subject.

RECALIBRATE

So now you know what you want, you’ve got some accountability in place for yourself and from others.

Next, you need to be constantly recalibrating. During the course of your day, week, month, and year, you’re going to get off course. It’s inevitable.

So, you need to have a system in place that allows you to recalibrate or adjust along the way.

When you notice yourself getting off track in your relationship, what can you do to adjust?
When you notice yourself losing control of your health, what steps will you implement to get back on track?

This is done through what I and the military (and a lot of first responders) call and after-action review. This is a simple process you go through at the end of every day, engagement, conversation, encounter, and project that will help you identify what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and what you need to do moving forward. If you want the list of five questions I go through, head to www.orderofman.com/afteractionreview to download those questions.

Remember, the natural tendency we have to drift is natural and inevitable. Allowing The Drift to take us somewhere we don’t want to go doesn’t have to be. Gain clarity, build accountability, and recalibrate along the way and you’ll stay on course.

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