The last few months have been crazy! I had reroutes! Since winning The Biggest Loser in 2009, I have made my living primarily from motivational speaking which requires a lot of travel. Last year I made the decision that my speaking wasn’t going to be enough, and now I’ve gone back to work as a Professional Licensed Land Surveyor. Being a Land Surveyor is a noble profession. After all, 3 of the 4 faces on Mount Rushmore were Land Surveyors. But at this point in my life, I was perceiving it as a defeat.
I love to speak. I still speak! In fact, this year I have spoken for multi-billion dollar corporations in several states. But deciding to go back to Land Surveying felt like going back to something before my victories on The Biggest Loser, and that seems like failure to me. Why can’t speaking be all I do? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I know there is a purpose in whatever I do. That was made clear to me last week while overseeing the project of a 26-mile long pipeline in Southern Oklahoma. Let me explain.
I have been a Land Surveyor since I was 9 years old. My father took me to the shoe store in 1979, and I thought I was going to get a new pair of sneakers. When we ended up in the work boots section I began wondering what was going on. We tried on boots, and my father said, “Well son, here’s your first pair of work boots.” I replied, “What are these for?” He answered, “You’ll find out soon enough.” And boy did I find out! Since then I have surveyed – for 36 years – and I thought when I won The Biggest Loser that part of my life was over. Yet now I find myself working for Lemke Land Surveying, a division of EnviroClean – a larger company that I had ever worked for. For some reason, Land Surveying isn’t done with me yet!
I’ve done every kind of surveying you can think of: Boundary, civil, commercial real estate, highway, as-built surveys, subdivisions…You name it. Every kind except one: Oil and Gas Services. What am I doing right now? Oil & Gas Services. During the oil pipeline project I am managing right now, I’ve had to do several reroutes.
You see, laying 26 miles of pipe underground is intense and complicated! We first make a set of plans for the route the pipeline will take. There are roads and ponds we have to do horizontal drilling bores underneath, property owners to deal with, and all kinds of obstacles along the way. We have a beginning point, an ending point, and a planned route, but along the way we often hit some obstacles – just like in life – that cause us to have to do a reroute.
Last week alone, I had to perform 4 pipeline reroutes, or changes to the originally planned route, because of a problems with a horizontal drill, a newly found pipeline that we have to avoid, or an upset owner that wanted us to avoid their property altogether. Sure, it’s a pain to have to divert from the planned route. This causes delays, station-equations (where a reroute causes more or less feet of pipe than originally planned), and more work for our crews. But in the end, the pipeline goes through and ends up exactly where it was intended to end up. The route might have changed, but the pre-determined destination is still reached.
So you might be saying, “Danny – what the heck does this have to do with me or my life?” Well, going back to Land Surveying wasn’t exactly what I had planned, but my dream and destination are still the same! This is simply a reroute of my life. And I have to believe it is for a reason that I may not understand or see right now. According to my plans, I was supposed to ride off in the sunset, inspiring individuals to overcome their adversities, realize the dreams they had lost, and coach them along the way! What in the world does Land Surveying have to do with that?
I can honestly say that I don’t know the whole answer now. But one thing I do know is that every reroute I have had in my life that I didn’t understand at the time inevitably became crystal clear in hindsight. Now I can look back at that time my first girlfriend broke up with me, and then look at my wife and children, and I completely understand! I couldn’t possibly understand back then, but now, as I write this blog, my first child is sleeping in a bed across the room from me in a hotel in Missouri after we caught our limit of trout and spent the day pondering our roles in life together over a Mexican lunch. Ah-hah! Now I see a reason! My focus on my family is more important right now than any dreams or plans I might have for myself. And those dreams and plans are still there; my course has just been altered a bit.
Don’t constantly question your reroutes in life. Know that there is a purpose; a purpose that you probably can’t see right now. But in time, with your diligent steps forward, you’ll be able to look back and see every reason why things happened the way they did. It might not be exactly the route you planned, but it will be the way God planned it for you. There is a lesson to be learned, or a purposeful delay to avoid a pain we may not see. In the end we must trust that we do have a destiny. And we must trust that we will reach that very destiny in time – and probably with a few reroutes along the way.
Every month in The Journey Training, we see people questioning their reroutes. We see people in the middle of one, or possibly just getting back on track, realizing the reasons why things happened the way they did. Wouldn’t you like to know that your destiny is still within your reach? Wouldn’t you like to dream again and know that it may not happen tomorrow, but with your purposeful pursuit of your destiny, it can and will happen? I’d like to suggest that you sign up for the very next Threshold class at www.thejourneytraining.com and begin to identify your reroutes – and possibly the reasons for them!