Embrace Your Journey

I received a great message over the weekend, that totally made my day. I’d just had a total fail of an attempted trail run, and I was feeling all dark and gloomy about it, when this came through from an old schoolfriend who’s now a successful health and fitness guru:

“So I just checked out your website. I knew you were badass, but it’s pretty epic.”

(I know right, how nice is that?! Exactly what you need to hear when you’re all muddy and sad.)

As we chatted, he went on to say: “I just read your blog on the habit is the result – that’s massive on the health side, because people are all over the outcome and don’t really embrace the process.”

I’ve been thinking about that conversation ever since. What is our deal with that? Why do we spend so much time berating ourselves for not achieving a certain result, and so little time embracing the journey?

I work with public sector clients of all shapes and sizes (much like my friend!). In some ways, all of their goals are the same: to produce awesome outcomes for their community, in smart ways, that respond to the changes and challenges they’re facing. But in so many other ways, their goals are completely different. Because we all start from different points, and have different challenges along the way – our journeys are all different.

Breaking down the journey into milestones and focusing on wins that honour our progress along the way is super important – not just to give ourselves a pat on the back. When we don’t respect our place in the journey, we’re actually setting ourselves up to fail long-term, when the result that we’re after fails to satisfy us.

It’s kind of like that terrible Adam Sandler movie ‘Click’ where he fast forwards through all the tough stuff along the journey to get to the good bit at the end. Only when he gets to the end, he realises that the journey itself was the good bit, and now he’s all sad and alone.

(Is it just me, or do all Adam Sandler movies end like that now?)

Ever worked somewhere that had a ‘white knight’ project or vacancy? I see these all the time. “That will be captured by the *insert project here*” “I imagine that will be handled by the *new role*” These white knights generally fail to live up to their promises by the time they come around – partly because only 5% of public spending initiatives actually achieve the full range of intended benefits, and partly because there was no learning or adaptation along the way to support the changes needed to really get the value out of it.

When babies learn to roll over, we aren’t disappointed that they don’t crawl. When they crawl, we aren’t disappointed that they don’t walk. We’re stoked at their progress, have full confidence they will get to where they are going and embrace the learning and incremental development of each stage.

Time to be more like a baby, and less like Adam Sandler, I reckon.

How to: Embrace Your Journey

  • Enjoy the process – The tough stuff is usually the good bit in disguise. Don’t be like Adam Sandler.

  • Only ride one horse at a time – Focus on your journey, nobody else’s. You’re not on the same path as them.

  • Be more like a baby – Celebrate progress and incremental learning with absolute faith you will continue to get where you need to go

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