The Story Economy Blog

If You’re Turning Right, Look Right

arrowsIt’s amazing how many people pull up to an intersection and turn right, without ever actually looking in the direction they’re turning. (As a runner, I see this daily—and I’ve learned to be very careful when crossing intersections.) They get a general sense of things to the right as they’re moving toward the intersection. But it’s a very limited view and doesn’t take into account two things: (1) the view from point A isn’t the same as the view from point B, and (2) they don’t expect anything to be to the right. So they hit the pedal without even looking.

It seems simple enough: Look in the direction you’re going. But lots of times, we just don’t do it.

This sentiment applies to so many (less dangerous) situations. Like when I’m in yoga class, hanging out in down dog and waiting for the next cue, the teacher will often say: “Now, bring your head forward, look in the direction you’re going, and hop to the front of your mat, placing feet between your hands.” I used to find hopping to the front of the mat from down dog awkward and almost scary. But once I started looking in the direction I was going, it suddenly became much easier. The move was the same: all that changed was my gaze.

I mean, just look in the direction you’re going. Duh. Right?

Of course, it’s more than hopping and bad drivers.

Align With Your Direction

I can already see this message could be misinterpreted as paralyzing caution: I can’t see exactly what I’m supposed to do, so I just won’t do anything.

The bigger message behind looking in the direction you’re going isn’t about trying to see everything first. It’s about noting the direction before you act. Or rather, trying to act in alignment with the way you want to head.

Let’s take an example of a big thing heading somewhere, like our economy. Our economy used to exist along a fairly straight path: build a thing, market it like crazy to anyone and everyone, and repeat. Our economy was built from straight lines, ordinariness, big budgets, prime time advertising, and the lowest common denominator. There are still a lot of straight lines in our economy (hence, Super Bowl ads). But more and more, we’re headed toward looping, interconnecting pathways. Toward . . . that’s right, a Story Economy! Toward extraordinariness, niches, and weirdness. Toward community-building and intense sharing that happens long before money changes hands. Toward vulnerability (to bring in last week’s newsletter) and soul.

I am all about this direction. So I’m looking toward it. And then trying to act in alignment with it.

You could break your company culture down in the same way. Because most companies are always heading somewhere better, right? Always aspiring to be a little more open, more creative, more empathetic, more encouraging, more joyful, more precise, more audacious, more generous, or more playful.

Whatever your direction is, look that way first. When you do, it becomes so much clearer how to get there (and less scary).

Actually, it’s way more than looking. You can substitute pretty much any action verb that speaks to the particular moment you find yourself in today, this month, or this decade.

Write in the direction you’re going.

Design in the direction you’re going.

Market in the direction you’re going.

Innovate in the direction you’re going.

Live in the direction you’re going.

Talk in the direction you’re going.

Work in the direction you’re going.

Love in the direction you’re going.

Parent in the direction you’re going.

Exercise in the direction you’re going.


Where you are now and where you want to be might seem very different. But if the direction is the same, there is a pretty good chance you’ll get there.

And seriously, look right before you turn right.


  • Marjorie Strebe

    Posted by Marjorie Strebe on 02/26/14 11:30pm

    Awesome post, Judi. And such common sense advice. Thanks

  • Marjorie Strebe

    Posted by Marjorie Strebe on 02/26/14 11:33pm

    Awesome post, Judi, and such common sense advice. Thanks.

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