I trust your week has been successful, productive and happy. I’m pretty sure, though, that some of you – if you’re anything like me – spent some time thinking about where you are and how different it looks from where you want to be. All I do is werk, werk, werk, werk, werk but I’m not seeing any payoffs as yet.
I’ve been working on this dissertation forever! When am I going to graduate?
When is this business going to become more profitable? My social media followers are lurkers and never buy in.
I pray and I fast and I do everything I think God wants me to, but I still feel confused.
I eat my greens but I am still in love with cupcakes. When will my one-pack separate into six? Ok, four?
If you’re motivated and working to be higher in any area of your life, you can relate. I was inspired to create a series just for us called Embrace the Journey. These are lessons I’ve learned in the last few years, or even more recently, on how to actively pursue my goals without burning out and losing momentum.
Embrace the Journey: YOU CAN’T RUSH IT.
Clothes were strewn everywhere. Makeup brushes and bottles were displaced. I kept stabbing my toes on heels. It was a mess! I was rushing to catch a show and had barely placed my shoes on when my sister honked angrily outside. She was doing me a favor by driving me to the dollar van, which would carry me to the train station. I needed the frenetic driving of my fellow Jamaicans to get me to the train ASAP. But as I sat in the jerking van, I realized my sister was right – I was probably going to be late. I should’ve gone without makeup, I thought. Too late to change what I’ve already done but it’s not too late to change the course now! So I hopped off the dollar van early, got on the Long Island Rail Road (a quicker route to the city), and then landed in Midtown only to find the train I needed had a 16-minute wait. Impatiently, I left the station and took 10 minutes to hail a cab that, of course, got stuck in traffic. This was the worst part because there was nothing I could do. I was tempted to hop back out and get back on the train but there was no guarantee that another would come quickly. So I settled myself in, and finally got to my destination –tired and disheveled.
Somebody say dangggg. Only thing missing was a plane; I took a car, a van, the LIRR, (attempted) the train, and a cab. Before I left my house, I knew that my destination was two hours away. As I was applying eyeshadow, I knew that my destination was two hours away. No matter how much I tried to change it, I was not going to get there any faster than it took. Thirty dollars later, I still arrived two hours later.
The same lessons I learned in this scenario applies to life, and our goals.
- Shut off our brains. We can’t control it all. In the middle of heavy traffic, I eyed my driver like, “why did you take me this way??” And then I asked him. It turns out that the other way was blocked off. I was forced to sit back and find a way to distract myself from the disruption. Just chill.
- We’ll end up paying more for what could’ve cost us less because we were trying to rush it. And end up no further. If I just accepted that I would be late, I would’ve paid $4.50 instead of $30. While there are things that can make your journey more comfortable, you can’t pay your way to the top. Inevitably, there’s a big price tag.
- Know thyself. I admittedly….ahem… take a while to get ready. I like to assess my outfit, coordinate my scent with my mood, etc. Knowing who we are helps in our life journey because we can make accommodations for our needs and not feel bad about it later.
- Have faith. This is perhaps the hardest of them all. Trust that in spite of some personality quirks, attitude adjustments that are in process, and the grind of the journey itself – it all will work out for your good.
Some things just take time. This takes humility, learning from others and assessing our own experiences. Most people are unable to finish a PhD dissertation in 3 years, or lose 100 pounds in 4 months. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that you’re in the company of many.
Let’s talk: In what ways have you tried to rush your success? What did you learn?
Photos by Shawn Arlington Photography. Makeup by ShalomaLoganMakeup (me).