Most likely you’ve heard the expression “enjoy the journey, not the destination.” What does that really mean? And how can you do that? Often there are risks involved, costs to incur and time and energy to expend. How can you enjoy what you’re striving for with all that pressure? First, it means understanding what it is you are working towards. At first, you’re motivated by something that drives you to spend time, energy and money—perhaps at the expense of sharing time with others who would be supportive of your endeavor—and then along the way you become a part of the process. With each step and action you weave your spirit and intention into creating, forming and shaping your plan. Then, ultimately this plan becomes a part of you and you feel in sync with your ambition. That is the goal, anyway.
Let’s break it down. A goal is an intention—something to work toward, a plan for actively doing something.
A deadline is a time restriction—a time limit for an activity; the time by which something must be finished. One sounds flexible, the other sounds rigid and unyielding.
“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs.” – Jillian Michaels
It is important to know when you want be finished with something. That’s part of the motivation. However, if you become focused on the deadline only, the attention to details, growth and quality can suffer or be overlooked altogether. The “a-ha” moments are part of the transformation, the real pieces that create a shift in our action or activity. Those are the silver linings you want to appreciate and let sink in. They build confidence, wisdom and satisfaction. If you are rushing to “make the deadline” these nuggets lose their full value and leave you second-guessing yourself. You can’t appreciate the process nearly as much. And you miss seeing them come alive within you.
With a deadline, we are on edge or wound up so tight that the least little change in “the plan” sends us spinning or scrambling. That attitude can push others away and diminish support. When you turn back to the plan, or the goal for focus, the edge softens and you see what really matters. The love for what you are working towards becomes clearer. A great attitude becomes a great day which becomes a great month which becomes a great year which becomes a great life.
“My goal is to create a life I don’t need a vacation from.” – Rob Hill Sr.
The pressure of a deadline and its limitations increases intensity and stress when things aren’t going well. These attributes can produce negative energy. They are what push people to need a break or vacation from their work or life. Imagine if you woke each day with anticipation of being able to take action toward your goal. Just enjoying each part of the process, whether mundane or grand. How would this outlook make you feel? I believe it would increase your happiness factor and desire to keep on growing.
“At first they’ll ask you why you’re doing it. But later they’ll ask you how you did it.”
If you want to know how long something takes—ask someone who’s already done it. There is nothing more empowering than knowledge. Do your research. Make your path easier to walk by asking others about their experiences in reaching similar goals. Nothing is going to replace getting your hands a little dirty by proving to yourself what gets you to where you are going. It is, however, smart to look at the examples of others. Find what pieces of their journey fit into yours. Take the knowledge and put what is useful into practice for yourself. As you get closer and closer to your goals, your confidence and wisdom grows. Before you know it people will be asking you “how did you do that?”
So, bottom line . . . be ambitious and set your goals or objectives without getting a “locked in” mentality. Step back and look at your progress objectively along the way! You will be enjoying the “getting there” so much you’ll be thinking about any deadlines with a lot less stress.