Ever had that sensation? You know, where there’s this metaphorical clock—perhaps a cuckoo one—dangling on your shoulders, chirping incessantly? “Prove yourself, prove yourself,” it squawks, urging you to show something, anything, to the Instagram horde or, even more daunting, to your own reflection in the mirror.

But then… a plot twist.

The seasoned traveler in you, probably donning a rugged hat and some worn-out boots, knows something: Forget the cuckoo clock. Embrace the compass. Because while the clock is doing its neurotic tango, reminding you to hurry up and “make it,” the compass is your Zen friend, nodding towards the uncharted, whispering, “Growth is this way, buddy.”

Life’s funny. One day you’re trying to strut, wanting everyone to notice the fabulous shoes you’re metaphorically (or literally) wearing, and the next, you’re wondering: Are these shoes taking me where I truly want to go? Or are they just stylish foot traps, causing blisters in places I didn’t know could blister?

The thing is, clocks are everywhere. From the beeping of your morning alarm (which, let’s admit, is set to an ungodly hour) to the deadlines at work—they’re the ever-vocal critics of our lives.

But the compass? It’s that subtle mentor, nudging us when we’re about to detour into “Trying-Too-Hard Town” or “Impostor-Syndrome Ville.”

So, the next time you’re faced with that daunting crossroads—wondering whether to take the flashy highway of instant applause or the scenic route sprinkled with lessons and personal tales—remember this: It’s not always about showing we’ve arrived. Sometimes, it’s about savoring the ride, blisters and all.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.