By Norissa Williams
Often we set goals and work ardently towards the completion of those goals—pursuing a degree, finding “the one,” getting out of debt, getting married, a house, a baby and even becoming the CEO of your own career. While perseverance and hard work are admirable—and for me—very attractive traits, at times those same strengths can be weaknesses if left untempered.
For the past five years I’ve pursued a doctoral degree. I’m only months away from completion now. Lots to be proud of, right? Yeah…but if you asked me about the experience, I’d probably make a face, which would probably be followed by a grunt and depending on how appropriate the context, a little profanity.
Similarly, I have a friend who had been trying to break into the music industry for years. He’d been doing everything from open mics to mixed tapes. During that time he expressed hating the drudgery of it all; feeling like the end was nowhere in sight.
In my gentle wisdom, offering advice easier to give than to follow, I said, “You have to enjoy the process. The journey is where the sweetness is. If you don’t, when you get where you’re going you’ll find that in considering it drudgery, you missed out on all the best parts.”
Well, I lived to say, “I told you so.” Two years ago he started to enjoy mounting fame—local and national radio, paid shows, magazine articles, coveted major record deals and of course—no-rapper-is-complete-without—“groupies”. Yet, in one of our heart to hearts he said, “It was kinda better before all this.” I could then see myself and relate. The closer I’ve gotten to the end I’ve thought, “…this wasn’t so bad after all. I am better in this way and that way…” In essence, I’ve now realized the quality of character and strength that was built in those trying times. Recently, I’ve lamented a little as I wondered what kind of experience I could have had if I weren’t so miserable and took the time to appreciate the process—not solely focused on the end goal.
Think about it…if you’re goal is a degree like mine, what if instead of hating red marks on your paper you thought of this time as a special period, unlike any other time to follow, where you get paid mentors who are working to make your work stronger? If your goal is to find, “the one,” what if you thought of this time as a blessed time to increase the success of your future union as you get to learn yourself—likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses? What if, in pursuing a goal of saving you relished in the delight of each mini-goal instead of thinking of what you can’t now have?
The well meaning, easier to give than to follow, advice that I offer you from this lived experience is to:
1. Take time to smell the roses. When you allow yourself to be centered in your current experience, the ground seems to swell, and experiences never seem more magnificent.
2. Be grateful, as you never know if what you’re experiencing is good luck or bad luck, but focusing on the positive brings more positive energy your way.
3. Reframe your experiences. Ask yourself how you can see this from another positive perspective.
4. Focus on what you’re gaining, because in the end you learn you never really lose.
Take a moment to share with this community the ways in which you’ve learned this lesson or are learning it. We’d love to hear it…
[info_box type=”alert_box”]Caring for yourself including takes care of your finances. I encourage all ladies who are serious about self-care to go on The Happy Finances Challenge. In 42 days you can learn to make money decisions that will lead to long-term financial happiness. [/info_box]