What Platform?…What Train?…Where am I going?

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Recently, I was in London and when I am there, I am always hoping on a train or using the Underground to get where I need to go. The process is to buy your ticket, stand by the boards and watch when your platform comes up so you know which train to get on. While standing there, you see people rushing about and asking the station master, ‘What platform?’, ‘Which train?’ and then they rush off. What I do is continue to watch the overhead board and wait for my turn. Once my train is ready, I casually stroll to the platform, insert my ticket and get on a car and look forward to arriving at my destination.


On one particular rainy day in London, I was at Waterloo station and while waiting for my platform and train, I walked about and looked around and it reminded me of a thought that is reflective of life. The individual is lost in life and career, they run into the station, buy a ticket to where they think they want to go and run through one of the platforms and get on a train.  The train departs…but where is the train going? Are they even on the right train? Do you even know where you want to go? They never checked the board!


So many conversations and coaching sessions that I have done sound like the person rushing to get on a train…any train, in the hopes it will get me where I need to go or get me somewhere. They are on the train but it may not be the right train to the right destination or it may get there after many stops but is not the best option. Let’s take the train station situation and move it to one’s career. Have you taken the time to stop and consider your journey? What have you done to prepare yourself for the train ride…your career?


Most conversations I have, the person is moving forward without the idea and plan…or as I call, the anchor points to figure out which train or which career. I have a solid base of five things I am not going to compromise: servant leadership; storysharing; activator/igniter; champion/enabler; creative collaborator. Those five things enable me to know exactly which direction to go. It is as if I look up at the board and wait for the train (opportunity) and the clarity is there. So let me ask you, what are your anchor points, the things you are not willing to compromise? If you are not sure, let me share the following keys:

  • Reflect on the pastTake time to consider your previous experiences. Jobs you have had, classes you took and what you do on your spare time. What do you enjoy about them or not enjoy. Start making a list of words that describe the experience.
  • Why?Once you have reflected on the past and considered some of the key aspects, ask yourself why the words you wrote down matter or don’t matter. Start narrowing the focus so that it starts to reflect who you are.
  • Start somewhereCome up with five words or descriptors you are not willing to compromise or that resonate with you. These become the starting place to your anchor point.
  • Now compareOnce you have the five anchor points, now compare them to your job or career. Is there alignment?  How many do you hit? If only 1 or 2, you are definitely on the wrong train. Don’t quit your job, NO! Instead, start considering how you can incorporate more of the five aspects into your life and career.
  • Not sure of the words?Start asking close people if the words you chose resonate or what words would describe you. You would be surprised at what words you might gather.
  • Careful what you sayMake sure the words have a positive tone. I have had people put words that may represent them but they are not flattering such as, ‘I am lazy at times’, or ‘I can be stubborn’. NO, you want the words to be positive!
  • What if they are not the right words?No need to worry, as you start this journey of nailing down the five foundational aspects, they will change over time. As you experience life and aspects of your job, you will change the words…I have.
  • Make a statement!Once you have your five words, now try stringing them together into a statement that represents you. Start with, “I am an individual who…(fill in the rest)’ and create a powerful description of yourself. This has the sense of confidence about who you are.
  • What does 5/5 feel like?You do five out of five, you don’t have a job or career, you have fulfillment and you are on the right destination/journey. Now isn’t that the best ride to be on?


Understand, you are not defined by what you do, but rather who you are. Take the time to appreciate who you are and start laying down the foundation. If you start now, you can be on the right train to where you would like to go. My goal is to get people looking at the overhead board, realize what train they need to be on and get them to the right destination. It has worked for me countless times. So if you see me standing at the station in the future, looking up, stand next to me and I can help you find what direction you might want to go.

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