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Edgware Road, not Edgware

On Saturday evening, while on my way back home, a stranger stopped me to ask for directions. I was happy to help and took a look at her phone, which had a map image showing her destination details. After studying the map for about a minute, I realized that the address and map details showed that she was miles away from her intended destination. We were outside Edgware Station (HA8) and the address and map details showed that the stranger’s intended destination was in Edgware Road (W2). She was a bit frustrated since she was meeting friends for dinner and had been given the wrong address. We spoke for a few minutes, and I gave her instructions on how to get to the correct address, but she decided to go home instead.

As we parted company, it made me think. Sometimes even with the best intentions, we can end up at the wrong destination, sometimes even with the best will in the world, things don’t go according to plan. So, what do you do when life happens but it’s not as we had planned. Here are my tips:


1. Ask for help - Reach out to family, friends, colleagues, therapists, or coaches. Acknowledge that you are lost or have taken a wrong turn and ask for help. Even a stranger can guide or inform your next steps.

2. Get back on track or go home - Decide whether to get back on track and reach your intended destination, or head home based on new or better information.

3. Be kind to yourself - Mistakes happen (of our owing making or via the actions of others). It can be so easy to blame ourselves, and it's easy to blame ourselves. Hindsight is 50:50, so we’ll never know. Dust yourself off, remember that you are human, you have made mistakes before and you’re sure to make some more. Remember to have self-compassion and forgive yourself. If appropriate, see the funny side and share the experience with others. Who knows, in months or years to come, this might be a funny story my stranger gets to share and laugh about with friends.

4. Learn from your mistakes - Use the experience to learn and avoid similar mistakes in the future. Develop new routines based on your learnings, like checking Google Maps or planning to meet a friend halfway. My stranger is unlikely to make this same Edgware Road / Edgware mistake again and might even be more cautious if she had to head to either destination in the future.

I’m not sure what the stranger did i.e. go home as she mentioned or decided to get to her destination later than planned or how she felt about the incident i.e. upset, embarrassed with herself etc. But these things happen to all of us at some time. I hope these tips help you the next time you face a similar situation.

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