Sometimes the GPS is wrong: set your own course

The voice seemed to grow more insistent: “Take exit on right.” “Make a U-turn.” Did I imagine the “Recalculating” sounded irritated? Derisive? I could clearly see that I was on the right road no matter what the ‘voice’ next to me said. Undeterred, I was certain the GPS was going on old information. Sometimes people in our lives are just doing their jobs, trying to provide helpful information and guidance but do so without the same information you have. While it’s easy to dismiss the guidance of a GPS when you can see there are no off-ramps, it can be more difficult to stay true to your chosen path when someone you know, respect, perhaps even love keeps insisting that you are making an error or should take a different route. So how do you stay the course?


  1. Realize the person is trying to help and is coming from a place of caring and concern.
  2. Ask them how they came to the conclusion that you should change course. Really listen. It may help you identify their incorrect assumptions or could provide valuable insight.
  3. You don’t have to agree but genuinely thank the person for their concern.
  4. Validate for yourself that your assumptions are sound, aligned with your values and that you are, in fact, headed in the right direction.
  5. Set key milestones and celebrate achieving them.
  6. Ditch persistent detractors. There is a difference between helpful insights and negative influencers. Spend your time with people who understand and appreciate the direction you have set for yourself.

Has this ever happened to you? How did you stay on course?

Published by Dominique O'Rourke

Public Affairs professional, City Councillor, MA Leadership graduate, problem solver and lifelong learner.

4 thoughts on “Sometimes the GPS is wrong: set your own course

  1. I really like this post. I’ve had this happen with navigation and actually begin questioning myself, “the navigation must be right, I should follow the instructions.” All the while I have a sense that I should be breaking off and following a different path. It’s great to solicit advice but sometimes we have to have faith in ourselves and take the path that we believe to be the right one.

  2. Hi Dominique, great post as usual. I especially like that you’ve mentioned the importance of being in allignment with your values. It is my belief that you can’t be living with personal integrity unless you are. For those times when people who care about us, voice their opinions and offer advice, I believe that they too, are living in accordance with their own value systems. So, I guess it becomes a balancing act: stay true to yourself and remain open minded. In response to your question, yes, this has happened to me and I imagine it will continue to do so throughout the course of my life. Some situations being more of a challenge than others. I “aim” for the balancing act. Cheers, Glo

  3. I enjoyed this post. It rings true for me as well. Following your own course may be trying at times but listening to your own inner voice is always the best navigator. Sometimes it can be hard to listen to that voice when others influence you with their advice. But staying true to your own goals and aspirations will always leave you satisfied. Keep up the great blog! Cathy xo

    1. Thanks for the insight, Cathy. The problem with trying to ignore the inner voice and your aspirations when you think others are ‘right’ – and, they may have a very compelling argument – is that you will always wonder what would have happened if you had been true to yourself. What if Bill Gates had been convinced to finish high school?

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