Enjoy the process
The other day, a brilliant client of mine told me something that made my heart sing. “What stopped me is, actually, my goal, or how I relate to it, I should say. I thought my objective is career transition, but I felt so heavy every time I thought about it – I need to do a lot of research, talking to a ton of people and making many connections. It is an obligation and I have to do it. I pushed it through with my willpower. But when you asked me how I want the experience to be something else came to my mind. Now I feel that my real goal is exploration; to see what else is out there and get to know the unknown. That makes me excited and drives me to take actions.”
What a common experience that is! When we try to accomplish certain things, especially if it is challenging and important, we tend to heap a significant amount of weight on it while slogging through the process. We forget why we want to do it to begin with, we lose sight, we get buried in the day-to-day tasks, and we don’t enjoy ourselves at all. Where does it lead us? For some people it leads nowhere; they stop because pushing through with willpower alone is too freaking hard. Willpower can only get you to certain point. Other people manage to push through and reach their goals, but, for them, the joy of success is diminished by the gruesome process. And some people take their accomplishment for granted rather than celebrating their wins. In their mind, they deserve to get what they want since they have suffered and worked hard. And then without proper reflection, they move onto the next goal immediately.
It not only happens at the individual level. We, as a society, are so focused on the results and only the results. We are soaked in this environment every single day. I vividly remember conversations and commentary during the recent Olympic games. All we talked about is which team won and which team lost, who broke the world record, and who got the highest score. Don’t get me wrong – those are important; however, I believe that Olympic spirit is more than the medals. We ought to know more about the athletes who competed on this greatest world stage regardless of their final standing. We deserve to hear about how they truly love their sports and how they’ve spent four or eight or more years preparing to compete. They can’t just be ignored if they lose. But, oh yeah, that is how we’re conditioned to relate to winners and, naturally, that is how we end up relating to ourselves. We want the result, we want it now, and it is better to be winning. To get somewhere quicker and faster becomes an obsession.
But what if, as that brilliant client suggested, process is actually the goal? We can design how we want our day to look like, make decisions aligned with our commitments and experience the process between point A and point B. Rather than fixing our attention only on the end results and complaining about the setbacks, we instead create more room for learning and more flexibility for adjustments. Without the burden of getting somewhere at the fastest speed, we can actually stay present and live a whole life every day. By focusing on the process, we will empower our choices by taking more intentional action and celebrate our humanity by allowing mistakes.
It takes practice to think and do things differently, and I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you want to go about it! What shifts are you trying to make? What do you need to do differently? What do you need to remember? Dream big, take bold actions and enjoy the process because you sure can have it all.