What’s Your Trail Look Like?

Pam and I recently traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe we’ve been married for 15 years but we have.

Whenever we travel by plane, we rent a vehicle. We’ve thought about trying to do the whole Uber thing while we don’t have our own personal vehicle but it doesn’t make sense to us. The cost to Uber places would outweigh the cost to rent a car and sightsee. Thus, we rent a vehicle.

Red Toyota Rav4 stopped at a crosswalk

Photo by James Coleman

This time around, Hertz put us in a Toyota Rav4. This vehicle was nice. It came with all sorts of features our older, paid-off vehicles do not have. But it did not come with one feature I expected it to have.

I drove off of the Hertz lot and we drove from the Santa Fe airport to our hotel at the Hilton Buffalo Thunder. The drive seemed fine. I could see in front of me and we made it there safe and sound.

The next day, I learned everything wasn’t okay.

Around 6 PM at night, I had another driver pull up next to me and signal for me to roll down the window. He told me that my rear lights were only on when I hit the brakes.


That is a huge problem. I had been driving and seeing everything in front of me clearly. Those behind me? They had a bit of trouble.

My fellow drivers couldn’t see the rear of my vehicle because the lights were not fully on. I couldn’t see this problem because I couldn’t see behind me. Only those coming up from behind could see the problem.

What’s Your Trail Look Like?

This experience made me think of the trail we leave for those we lead. We’re called to make a trail for up and coming leaders to follow. We also need to make sure those we’re leading can see what the path looks like.

The problem is, many times, we’re oblivious to what our trail actually looks like. You can see the path clearly in front of you. This is due to the fact you have your lights on.

But what about those behind you? Can they see you and what you’re doing?

My guess is they cannot. You haven’t turned on your lights all the way. You only have the front headlights on. You’re missing your rear lights.

This blurs the trail for those you’re leading. They can’t see what moves you’re making or, even, you clearly. They can see some shapeless blob up ahead but they’re unsure of where to go and what you’re going to do next.

It’s your responsibility to turn on all of your lights as a leader. You need to know where you are going. You also need to provide a way for others to follow you safely.

Turn on your rear lights. Make sure you’re providing a clear and easy way for others to follow you.

Question: Do you have all of your lights on? If not, what do you need to do to make sure others can see you from behind? Share your insights in the comments below.

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