It’s about the journey

Do you remember the last road trip that you took before entering the working world as an adult? What do you remember about that trip? Do you remember the way that it felt when you placed your hand out the window as the cool night air passed through your fingers? Do you remember the music that was playing as you and your fellow travelers sung along, albeit out of key? What about the scenery? What do you recall about the landscape as you drove through a country road?

Most importantly, do remember the camaraderie that you and your travelers shared on that trip?

It’s about the journey.

It doesn’t matter where you start or where you end when it comes to a road trip. What’s important is the journey. It’s an experience. It’s the process in between the start point and the end point that makes a road trip memorable. Without that, a road trip would be nothing.

Yet, in the working world, the emphasis is on getting “it” done. Whatever “it” may be. We are so focused on simply getting to the end of a process. We want to know when will “this” be done? How much money are we going to make? How much longer is this meeting? Insert any phrase that you will.

Shifting your viewpoint.

We cannot change the fact that this world operates in a model where the focus is on the end. What you can do is change your viewpoint about the process as a whole. Rather than being so focused on getting to the end of a project live in the moment and embrace it as it is.

Embrace the learning opportunities.

During the process is where mistakes are to be made. That’s a good thing. Without making mistakes and understanding failure, how can success be judged? Without learning from the past, we cannot appreciate the end results.

Appreciating Chaos

When you see a project as a whole, rather than looking to the finish line, you can see the errors, the bugs, and the chaos as it approaches from your peripheral vision. This makes it significantly easier to mitigate. Think of it as approaching a busy intersection. If you are focused on nothing more than making it across the street you are blind to what’s on the side. You won’t see the truck that is pummeling through the red light and approaching your vehicle at full speed.

On the other hand, when you see the event as a whole you know what’s coming in the moment. This gives you options; you can slam your brakes or speed up to allow the chaos to pass. You can also turn the wheel and take a completely different route to the destination. Often, the new route is the longer and full of new obstacles, but ultimately the proper course of action. You can appreciate the chaos for leading you to this route out of necessity.

Look around, not forward.

If you are overly stressed from a project and all you can see is the finish line, it’s time to stop. You need to look back and analyze the journey thus far. Think of the obstacles and the solutions you found to avoid them. Look around and see what is in the now. There is the only moment where you truly have control. This is where you can blaze a new trail, or analyze the obstacles that you currently face. Most importantly, this is where you remind yourself to enjoy the ride.