I love The Lord Of The Rings by J R R Tolkien. I first read the book in Year 9 at high school (too many years ago to divulge when that was!) and when I finished it, I immediately started at page one and read it again so transported was I. I must have re-read it a dozen times since, and no doubt I will again. I am also a fan of the Peter Jackson movie series, and fondly remember spending every Boxing Day for 3 years being transported in a different way to Middle-Earth. I was quite upset at the conclusion of “The Return of The King” that the journey was over, but again I have spent the last two Boxing Days watching The Hobbit and am eagerly looking forward to the final instalment this year.
The central theme of this epic story is a journey, as most great stories are. At several points in the journey, the characters are given a choice of paths which they can take which they hope will lead them to their desired destination. Sometimes the choices end in a dead end, such as the Fellowship’s ill fated journey over Caradhras, sometimes the choice that they make leads to disaster, such as when they choose the path through Moria, sometimes members of the company have to take different paths, all with the same aim of arriving where they need to be.
For most things in life, there is no single means of achieving our goals, and there is no certainty that whatever path we choose to follow we will have chosen the right one. In fact for most desired outcomes there are multiple ways of arriving at our destination. Some of the paths will be more dangerous (risky) than others, but may take less time to travel. The long way round might be easier and less dangerous, but may not get us to where we want to be in time. Sometimes of course, we need to be mindful that the journey is very often as entertaining as the destination, and arrival will sometime be tinged with a hint of sadness, but that’s OK.
A guide (or a coach, or a mentor) can often help us make the right choices when we come to a fork in the road. This is the best part of the work that I do, helping people to make those choices that they need to make to get to where they want to go. Sometimes the choice I recommend will not lead them down an easy road, sometimes the path might be uphill, sometimes there could even be dragons! Other paths could be chosen which will lead to the same destination, but in the end I can only recommend one, and the one I recommend is that which in my estimation, maximises the likelihood of arrival safely.
So why don’t I just come out and say it, “I will show you the BEST way to get to where you want to go”? If I am any kind of a guide isn’t that what you expect? The truth is, in most circumstances there are so many choices that there is no way of telling which one is “best”, because no-one can know all the ways that there are to get to your destination. What I can show you is “my way”, the way that I choose and recommend given all of the circumstances. Someone else might know a better way, I can only show you the “best way I know”.
Of course the worst kind of guide is the one who just points and pushes you down the path. That is definitely not my way, I want to come along, because the journey is very exciting and dangerous and interesting, and there are more choices to be made along the way, and I want to help you make them. The great thing is once we arrive, we can celebrate both the journey and our arrival together. Coming?
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