Appreciating the Journey, Not Just the Destination

There’s a popular expression that goes “Stop and smell the roses”. It is typically used to direct people to the life they’re missing out on by busily running from place to place and keeping a full calendar. Few of us realize how much this applies to our professional lives as well. If you’re working at a job, do you know why? Is it to advance your career, make money, achieve a more desirable status? Imagine for a moment that you are at the peak of your career, have as much money as you want, and you’re accepted by your peers as who you want to be. What does this look like? Are you happy? Does any part of this image seem fuzzy because you are unsure how it would look or feel? If so, “stop and smell the roses”, and find out what you really want this image to look like and if the path you’re on will lead you there. If it does, great, if not, start pushing yourself in that direction even if it means taking small steps.

I’m in Seattle this week on vacation, and something I’ve realized that is a direct benefit of being self-employed is the ability to make vacation plans on a whim. There’s no requesting time-off, calculating accrued hours, getting approval. I simply just feel like clearing my head and getting a new perspective from my surroundings and book a flight to stay with a cousin for the week. It’s the simple things we sometimes overlook that are actually worth the most to us in terms of enjoyment in our lives. Personally, I love to travel and experience new places on a regular basis, so being limited from these opportunities by 2 week vacation limits directly impacts how much enjoyment I can get out of life. Everyone has their own passions and activities that make them feel happier in this world. Is your professional life constraining you in any way from experiencing these things? If so, “stop and smell the roses” by examining parts of your career you could re-shape to allow yourself to start experiencing more of the things you enjoy.

We live in a time where things happen at lightning fast paces. The internet has allowed instantaneous delivery of media and hyper connected us to each-other through services like Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. It’s very easy to get caught up thinking we’re on top of everything when consuming all this media because it makes us feel busy and productive when in reality it’s actually taking time away from ourselves that could be spent reaching our goals in life. I read a quote recently that succinctly puts this in context: “Many people are so concerned with adding days to their life that they forget to add life to their days.” – Harriet Meyerson, President of the Confidence Centre. We see our professional life as this zero-sum game where we must work hard now in order to retire so we can enjoy life later. Why can’t we “stop and smell the roses” so we enjoy each and every day the process of achieving our goals rather than solely looking forward to how it will look or feel like in the future?