How I Got Lost in the Woods

It happened this way. My husband and I were paint blazeon a trail in the Berkshires marked with blue blazes. At least mostly. Just before we got lost, I was chuckling and actually taking pictures of the blazes at the right because they were such a perfect example of clarity blindness, which, like color blindness, you don’t know you have until until someone shows you what you are missing.

Without writing a lengthy primer on trail markings, here is a quick description of three levels:

Level 1: A worn path. Hikers watch for evidence of previous traffic sign blazeand hope for an occasional sign post. This approach is not recommended for remote areas or hikers without knowledge of the trail, topo maps, and compass. Snow, mud, autumn leaves, and disuse can easily obscure the trail. Nonetheless, many people have never seen a trail marked in any other way.

Level 2: The trail is marked with paint swatches on trees and rocks that differ in color and shape from those used for near by trails. Consistency  is critical. A sudden change in the color or shape of the blazes alerts hikers to the possibility that they have missed a junction and inadvertently ventured off on the wrong trail. When done well,bad blaze the standing pauses spent searching for the next blaze are short, few, and far between. The first time you experience this great, universally understood system is exciting and eye-opening. It provides a new level of clarity you may not have known existed.

Level 3: The best trail markings I’ve ever encountered adhere to additional conventions to warn you of turns and junctions. Suddenly there is no doubt where the trail is going. Standing and searching is completely unnecessary. If you’ve never seen this system, I doubt you would ever imagine that anything could beat level 2 short of turning the trail into a totally civilized roadway with signs, pavement, and painted lines.

I could tell you now how I’ve helped clients jump to a new level of clarity that doubled trust and commitment, cut their meetings in half, and more, but let’s get back to how we got lost in the woods!

We were on a trail marked with the second level of clarity. At least mostly, as I said. But it failed the consistency test miserably. Sometimes the blazes were single blue vertical paint swipes and other times they were blue triangular signs nailed to the tree. It was this third blaze that inspired me to backtrack and take pictures of the other two. This was the worst example yet of messy variations on the theme!

I won’t tell you how far we had walked and slid down a scary steep slope, hoping we weren’t about to dead end above an impassable cliff, before I realized the true significance of that third bad blaze!

Wondering where you are Clarity Blind? Not sure where your opportunities are for better results faster with greater confidence and commitment? Wish you could achieve that Level 3 Clarity that you can’t even yet imagine? Let’s talk! 800-527-0087.

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