Earlier this week I woke early with the intention of going ‘tulip sighting,’ since it’s nearly the end of April and the tulip season is therefore coming to its predictable end within days. It’s been too cold for me to make this annual pilgrimage until temperatures rose this week.  Tuesday morning wasn’t exactly balmy, but I bundled up, slipped on my gloves, and shoved off on my pistachio green bike, heading north for the Bollenstreek (bulb region).

I wasn’t prepared.  I knew what direction I should generally cycle, though got lost early on amidst some twisty, narrow lanes.  I then whipped out my phone and plugged in the name of a town I knew was in the heart of the Bollenstreek.  That produced a set of directions which I then set out to follow.  As I cycled along, I began to wonder why my Dutch friends’ photos of their tulip-sighting-pilgrimages looked so very different from what mine was looking like. Theirs had images of lanes just for cyclists, snug up against vast fields of eye-popping multi-colored tulips. Mine looked like … the bike lane of a major road, with the occasional almost-cleared patch of tulips here and there behind an industrial-looking building.

Uninspired, tired, and a bit peeved, I headed back to Leiden.  As I was getting off my bike, my neighbor Hans asked me where I’d been.  After hearing my story, he laughed good-naturedly and told me that next time I should ask him for guidance, since he’s done this trip so many times and knows the dedicated fietsroutes just for cyclists, the prime viewing spots, pretty detours, and places to stop for good coffee.  He even offered to accompany me when tulip season comes around again.  Hans has great stories and is good company.  Seems like a no-brainer.

Upon reflection, this all seems like a perfect metaphor for the benefits of leadership job search coaching. You can know the general idea of where you’re heading, and hack your way that direction, which may or may not get you where you think you want to go.  OR you can seek out the guidance of an experienced ‘tulip finder’ (aka leadership search coach), who has gone on those routes several times with other drivers, who spends time with you up front to find out what’s important to you about the trip and the destination, who can scan the horizon for challenging weather patterns or road construction that might suggest a delay or detour, who can serve as good company along the way, and who will be there to celebrate with you when you find that exquisite patch of eye-popping multi-colored tulips (aka that great next leadership post).

Consider me for your next tulip-hunting-excursion (aka leadership job search).  I don’t think they make sidecars for bikes, so I’ll just ride alongside you on my pistachio green mamafiets (look it up!).  

Yours in savvy traveling,