Life is busy. There’s a lot going on. It’s easy to feel disorientated and to get off track. Getting back on track again is a vital skill. It’s an essential part of learning to live and lead effectively.

Reading time: 2 mins

Wildlife trackers are themselves off track much of the time. The ever-changing environment and unpredictable nature of the animal makes this inevitable.

They understand this. It comes with the territory. They do not get discouraged and give up. For them going off track is an opportunity to slow down and to adapt. Being flexible, honest about the facts, open to continuous learning and expecting change helps them to deal with this.

There’s a great story to illustrate this. Janetta is the Operations Manager at Tracker Academy.

She was tracking a white rhino in the Great Karoo.

Her students were watching, and she felt pressure to perform.

The trail quickly shifted from a sandy riverbed to very stony terrain. Janetta was immediately challenged.

She slowed down, barely able to discern the now feint tracks. Soon all sign completely disappeared.

What did she do next?

Without hesitation Janetta acknowledged her setback. She made no excuses and no attempt to conceal the facts. She had lost the track.

She also did not give up and sink into despair.

Janetta went back to the last known track. She re-doubled her efforts and meticulously searched the ground for any missed signs.

Her perseverance paid off.

After an extended time, Janetta rediscovered the rhino’s track. It was marked by the faintest scuff on the ground. Wiser from her experience and back on track again Janetta found the rhino resting in the shade of a firethorn thicket.

It was a magnificent tracking effort.

What do we learn?

Janetta saw the challenge as a chance to learn and grow. She immediately acknowledged she was lost. This took courage, especially in front of her students.

She became curious. The rhino had disappeared, and she was determined to unravel the mystery.

Returning to where she lost the track she doubled down on the detail. It was hard work in the hot sun. But she never gave up. To her this was a setback – not a failure – and her dedication to learning sustained her. Getting lost made her stronger for future tracking challenges.

2024 lies ahead for all of us. Who knows what’s in store. The future is never easy to predict.

Whatever happens it’s wise to remember Janetta.

Her journey that day illustrates that setbacks aren’t barriers but steppingstones for growth.

And it’s up to us to frame it that way!

Our wellbeing this year depends upon it.

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