Four words you probably said to your parents when you were a kid, and now as an adult think when you sit in a meeting that lasts longer than scheduled, or listen to a talk that goes on and on and on, and maybe when you talk about your career and work. There has been a lot written about “it’s the journey, not the destination,” and that is true. I say it myself–all the time–to clients as they work hard towards finding a new job or adjust to a new role through career advancement. I find myself saying it this time of year to nephews, nieces, and neighbors’ kids as they are about to complete college or grad school and set off into the world of work.
I tell both groups, yes, It is very important to have a vision and goal of where you want to end up. Map it out, plan and prepare an itinerary, make time for the side trips. Be patient when you need to travel the longer route or change course because of a few detours. Learn how to get back on track after a missed turn, and absolutely take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime choices and opportunities that will come your way.
But I’ve learned to remind my clients and others who are keeping their eyes on the road ahead that it is even more imperative to remember that success happens along the way in many forms both large and small. As we settle into January and look ahead at the new year, be sure and stop often along the way and celebrate where you have arrived at that point in your journey. The big successes are obvious: the soon-to-be-newly-acquired degree, landing a first job or a new job, or receiving an award. Success also happens day to day: receiving a thank you for a job well done, getting to know someone and making a new friend, spending time with an old friend, landing that client who kept telling you “no.” The list is endless. Find ways this year to celebrate more of the everyday successes. When you do, you will discover more rewards–and joy–in your work-life, and you may find your mantra changing from “Are we there yet?” to “What a great journey!”