Three Reasons Why Life’s Detours May Be Just What You Need

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I was driving to meet a client recently and ran into a detour, which at first irritated me. I didn’t want to be late or have extra time added to my trip. However, I had no choice because the road I planned to take was closed so, I was forced to re-route my trip. What I experienced was not only the beauty of a road I’d never driven on before but I also ended up discovering a new winery and an orchard my husband and I had been talking about the week before. The drive to meet my client ended up being much more productive and enjoyable than I originally anticipated, all because of a detour.

The same holds true for many of the detours life presents us; those seemingly annoying changes to our plans that cause us to have to take a new path or re-route ourselves to get to our intended destination. We typically don’t view life’s detours as pleasant because they often show up as disruptions or interruptions along our intended path. However, these detours are often exactly what we need. Here are three reasons why:

You Experience A New Part Of Your Journey
One of my clients was planning to leave her job and start a new business when she was offered a new opportunity to lead a new project inside the company she was intending to leave. She was loyal to this organization and to her boss so felt the timing was no longer right to leave and start her business. She struggled a bit with the decision yet, ultimately decided to stay and work the new project to completion. This was a definite detour along her path to start her business but what it did for her was expose her to things that ultimately assisted her when starting her business. Many experiences working on this project directly related to the new business she wanted to launch and became very beneficial to her when she finally started her business. She would not have had these experiences if she were not detoured. Just like with my detour in my car a few weeks ago, my client got to experience a new part of her journey via her detour.

You Learn New Things and Meet New People
When I got detoured I discovered the route to the new winery and orchard my husband and I wanted to visit. I learned the way there without even intending to. My client learned many new things on her detoured career journey. She learned key aspects of being a leader on a big project, which assisted her when it was time to lead her own business. She also met people she wouldn’t have met had this opportunity not presented itself. Some of these people actually became clients of hers when she launched her business. The detour actually resulted in new clients for her new business – something she hardly expected or anticipated when the detour began.

You Might End Up Someplace Better Than You Originally Intended
Although most detours typically re-route you to your original destination, they don’t have to; they can lead you almost anywhere. This happened with another client of mine who was presented with a big life detour when her husband unexpectedly left her. She was suddenly on a new scary path without any idea where she would end up. She couldn’t have imagined the new destination would be someplace so much better than where she originally planned to be. But, it was. The new path led her back to school, into a new career, and eventually into a happy new relationship. I’ve also seen this happen when people lose their jobs. They think the detour caused by the job loss is a bad thing (and it often feels that way) when ultimately it ends up putting them on a path to something much better: a new career in a better organization or doing something much more fulfilling than what they were doing in their previous job.

Detours happen all the time, both on the road and in life. We tend to resist them for fear that they will get us off track and lead us astray. Instead, we often discover that they are just what we need and put us on the exact path we’re destined to be on. Next time you’re presented with a detour, either on the road or in life, try to embrace it with a mindset of curiosity. After all, you never know who you’ll meet, what you’ll learn, or where you’ll end up; chances are the detour can be a wonderful experience if you allow it to reveal all the beauty along the way.

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