The American dream, to many, is having the opportunity to succeed. Our success and journeys are unique to each of us. No two travel the same path, although there may be similarities. For example, someone who has experienced a loss can empathize with another person experiencing loss. We all must start our careers at the bottom, and it is normal to try various things before you find the right fit. Reaching your dreams requires hard work. The greater the goal, the harder you must work to achieve it.
We can get caught up in the busyness of life, often moving through the days consumed with the little things and ignoring the people and things that matter most. Stop and enjoy the journey.
Do you get so focused on the end goal that you do not recognize and appreciate the beauty of the journey? I love road trips. My ex-husband did not like to take detours or stops as we traveled. The best part of road trips is the spontaneity with unplanned stops. I enjoy the detours and fun surprises that I have experienced on many of the road trips I have taken. Regardless of the detour, you will always end up at your destination.
The secret to happiness is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of each day. It does not matter how old you are, what you have done, or how much money you have. Our journey is personal and full of lessons. We must stop comparing ourselves to others and recognize how full our lives are.
I have not always appreciated where I have been in my journey. It is natural, and why are you experiencing a specific challenge? Those very challenges shaped me into the person I am today. You may not be where you think you should be, but you are also in a place you never imagined and succeeding.
Six ways to find value in the journey.
- Show gratitude.
- Find something every day to be thankful for. Tell others how much you appreciate them. Start a gratitude journal.
- Be committed.
- The most worthwhile goals take the greatest effort. Stick to your goals. Do not be worried about the time it takes to achieve the goals. Just keep working at it.
- Cherish your friends.
- Be around people who love you, not your success. Nurture your relationships and be a true friend without judgment.
- Be a lifelong learner.
- The world is constantly changing, and so should we. Whatever your interests are, follow them or tackle something new.
- Balance your life.
- It is okay and necessary to leave work behind and recharge. You always return better and rejuvenated, ready to tackle the next mountain.
- Spend time with family and kids. Go to games and performances. Nothing says I love you more than taking the time to be involved with their lives. Work never ends, and children grow up and leave. Our human nature craves love and acceptance. Be there for those who matter most.
- Take time to travel.
- Travel opens your mind, makes you more tolerant of others, and helps you appreciate what you have. You learn that no matter where you go, people are lovely. Traveling does not mean you need to go to different countries or exotic places. Those are nice. Even traveling to other communities and states provides you with a new perspective.
- When I was 19, I traveled alone for the first time. It was an adventure from Canada to New York. I vividly recall the culture shock of seeing so many homeless people. The smell of the subway station is something that you miss from television and movies. On another adventure, I was again culture shocked to see the broken down shanties people called home in the country in Louisiana driving towards the Ozark Mountains. And, of course, if any of you have been to Los Angels, you will have seen the cardboard communities of homeless people. It is pretty humbling to realize that I felt poor and didn’t have much, but I am rich compared to many. Too often, we think of poverty. We think of third-world countries and fail to recognize that many in our community struggle.
Each phase of life has benefits, make the most of where you are today and enjoy the journey. Taking the time to enjoy the journey will give you fresh perspectives and allow you to meet amazing people along the way. Every experience, good and bad, shapes you into the person you are.
By Cheryl Viola, Executive Director & CEO, MBA, Doctoral Candidate