Marching Into the Unknown
By: Beth Graybill
I’ve always had a fascination for maps. I love to see the big picture, to know where I’m going, to see where one road intersects another, to explore the many possibilities of getting from one place to the next, and the joy of the adventure along the way. I love the challenge of figuring out the most direct route regardless of where the GPS is telling me to go.
That is, until a recent move.
A few months ago, our family moved to a new area – one that I know little about and have traveled to very few times. It’s an area where four different roads have the same name and all go in opposite directions. It takes me a few miles to get my bearings straight. Sometimes I use the GPS to help with navigation, and other times I convince myself that I will find my own way this time. Most often, I wind up lost… again.
This drives me crazy — not knowing my way around, not knowing what lies ahead, not being able to anticipate the next turn or the final destination. It feels a little out of control, a little uncertain, and maybe for the passengers in my car, a little unsafe. As hard as I try to remain calm and confident, they know… “She doesn’t know where she’s going.”
The truth is that we’ve all been here before – uncertain as we lead.
This reminds me of Alexander the Great (stay with me!).
Alexander was known as one of the most reputable leaders of the ancient world during the Greek and Roman Empires. At 20 years of age, he inherited a successful kingdom and an experienced army. By the time he was 30, he was the commander of the largest known empire in the ancient world, stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Himalayan Mountains.
When Alexander’s empire reached the Himalayas, he sent scouts into the mountains to report what was ahead. His men nervously reported back:
Sir, we’ve marched off the map.
They had marched to the edge of charted territory — there were no maps for what lay ahead.
Isn’t this true for most of us in our personal and professional lives? We get promoted to a position with more responsibility and leadership expectations and we’ve marched off the map. Our organization is growing faster than ever, and as we respond to the growth, we realize we’ve marched off the map. We transition a family business from one generation to another and we realize that we’ve just marched off the map. We become a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, a mentor, a leader in the community and we’ve marched off the map.
Have you marched off the map? Are you leading through uncertainty?
You’ve truly entered leadership terrain. My encouragement to you: Keep moving forward.
Beth Graybill is a Spiritual Maturity Minister at Saddleback Church in Southern CA. She has a background in Organizational and Leadership Development and has worked with Propel Women, Zondervan, North Group Consultants and several churches over the past few years. She is married to Matt Graybill, also a Pastor at Saddleback Church, and has two middle school boys, Kallan and Aaron. She loves coffee, curious questions, good books and traveling to new places.