This week’s quote in my planner by Iman Europe made me think about the magic of the journey. “Become less connected to the outcome and more committed to the work.”
Made me pause.
You see, a very wise coach and mentor has been encouraging me to fall in love with the process—the journey—rather than fixating all my thoughts on the end result or destination. Otherwise, she said I’d be missing the magic.
This all started a couple of years ago when I was in the thick of rediscovering myself and designing a new chapter after leaving my corporate career and losing my identity. I was in a mastermind with about 10 other amazing women who were in various stages of uncovering their genius, building a business, or just reconnecting with their authentic self.
I remember that mastermind vividly.
When it was our turn, we were to tell the group one success we’d had over the past couple of months, one challenge we were facing, and a couple of ways the group could help. I shared my success (the easy part), but I’ll bet you can’t guess what my challenge was.
I was too old.
There, I said it. With tears streaming down my face, I told my mastermind friends that I was too old to accomplish everything I wanted to do in this season of my life. I was going to run out of time.
As my friends started writing down thoughts and ideas to share with me after the 10 minutes of silence, my coach jumped up, turned the flip chart around so we couldn’t see what she was doing, and started writing. It seemed like she was writing a novel on that sheet of paper…in different colors no less.
When everyone else was done sharing their thoughts (which, by the way, usually started with, “You’re not too old!”), my coach turned the flip chart around. She hadn’t written a novel, she had drawn a picture of a stick figure (me) on the left side, a beach on the right side, and a magical forest in between.
It was my journey.
Then, she began. “Christy, you are looking at this too linearly. You have this magical forest in front of you and you’re missing all the awesomeness coming your way because you have your head down, thinking about and focused on your destination.”
She was right. I was connected to the outcome, and focused on the end result. I was frustrated because “it” was taking too long and I was going to run out of time.
I needed to fall in love with the process so I could enjoy my steps—my journey through the magical forest. While I firmly believe in following your dreams and having goals, I needed to be more comfortable with also living in the present moment.
The switch in my belief system didn’t happen overnight. But I can tell you it did happen.
How do I know?
Yesterday, this same coach had her monthly office hours call. I didn’t really have anything to talk about, but I thought I’d join the call. Now, mind you, this coach doesn’t really care if you don’t submit a question beforehand. She’ll just put you in the “hot seat” if she has time. She had the time, and she loves putting me on the hot seat.
So, there I was.
She asked me what was going on. I told her things hadn’t quite come together the way I expected the last couple of months, but I was going with the flow and just the last couple of days things seemed to be more clear and coming together in ways I hadn’t even imagined. “It’s all good,” I said. “In fact, maybe even better than good.”
Without skipping a beat, she said, “Well, look at you! Do you see the difference between that person who thought they were too old and running out of time and this person who is going with the flow and soaking up all the magic?”
Yeah. I fell in love with the process. I learned to focus on doing my best in each step and learned to enjoy the journey. A couple of things happened when I made the switch. I relaxed. I gave up control, and when I did, all the frustration that comes with feeling out of control went away. I found magic in living in the present. I wasn’t as stressed out either! If you want to know more about what stress can do to your productivity check out my Let’s Talk Stress blog.
Our life’s journey isn’t linear, is it? It’s full of twists and turns, and often times, if we just take a few deep breaths, let go of control, step out in faith, and fall in love with the process, we’ll be able to be less connected to the outcome and more committed to the work. And, in that work—the steps we take on the journey—we’ll find the magic.
If you’re interested in learning more about managing life’s transitions and the fear, anxiety, and stress that comes along with feeling out of control or not having enough time in life to get everything done, I have some free resources that may help. You’ll find them here.