The Simple Philosophies of Life, Part IV – Finding Your Way Home

Posted on Jun 7, 2016 in Articles | 0 comments

graycat_black_AA few years ago I had dinner with some business colleagues and we were discussing certain philosophies that we live by – both professionally and personally. Each of them tossed out their favorites and when it came around to me, I said that one of my prevailing philosophies is the following premise: “Can you find your way home?”

As imagined, they all looked at me with a puzzled look on their faces and asked me to elaborate. I started by saying that I was a “planner” (shocking, I know) and many of my decisions that I make in my mind always have this mentality in place. If something were to happen, could I always find my way “home”. I also explained that finding my way home isn’t by happenstance, but rather I was more aligned with the ant that worked to store up food for winter in the Aesop Fable as opposed to the grasshopper that has spent the summer singing.

My answer was broken into two parts: physically and mentally. I started by giving them a literal example of physically being able to make it home. I used the example, if you were five miles away from home and your car broke down, could you figure out a way to get home without calling anyone? Are you in shape enough to walk and or run? Can you be intuitive enough to find a way home without a phone or a way to contact someone? I explained that often I tell my son “always be thinking of an escape route” in the event of catastrophe or if an issue arises. As a 2-million mile airline flyer, I am constantly thinking of the “what if” escape scenarios if certain events present themselves. In a nutshell, are you physically prepared to be able to adapt to quickly changing environments and find your way “home”?

The second example I gave them is mentally being able to “right the ship” in a time of crisis and get back to your driving principles. Have you developed the inner strength to face adversity and re-balance yourself when times are dire? Can you pick up the pieces and move forward after the death of a close relative? Or after a job loss?  Finding your way home in my opinion is being able to “circle the wagons” after adversity and be able to get back to your safe zone.  I am a believer that while you may be able to lean on others to help you get back to your sweet spot, there is no substitute for your own perseverance to get yourself home. After all, you are the only one that can know exactly where that is.

Web-John Matthews

John Matthews is the founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises, Inc., a strategic planning, operations and marketing services firm that specializes in helping businesses grow in the restaurant, convenience and general retail industries.  With more than 25 years of senior-level experience in retail and a speaker at retail-group events throughout the U.S., Matthews has recently written two step-by-step manuals, Local Store Marketing Manual for Retailers and Grand Opening Manual for Retailers, which are available at