Sometimes a big goal like snagging the lead in a feature film or or stepping out onto a Broadway stage can be so intimidating and exciting that we lock our view onto our target and forget to look up every once and awhile to see what’s going on outside of our goal.
Truth be told, you’ll be spending lot more time on the journey to your goal than in the actual final destination. Think about how much research, rehearsal, time and effort culminates in a 90 second Oscar speech. How many hours of writing, filming and editing go into a 30 minute episode of your favorite TV show? The trick is to learn to find fulfillment in the process and appreciate and reward yourself for all the hard work you’re putting in.
Here are four simple ways to enjoy the ride without taking a detour.
Don’t get it perfect. Just get it going. You don’t need all your ducks in a row from Step A to Step Z before you start taking action. There will never be a perfect moment to begin any project, and sometimes we put so much emphasis on figuring out all the curves of the road ahead of time that we never leave the driveway. The most important step to take is the next one.
That first step will inform you. It’ll provide you with the feedback you need to identify the second step, which will inform the third one and so on.
So rather than overwhelming yourself with the big picture, just focus on what’s next and trust that the right information will arrive just in time.
Enjoy the scenery.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of only focusing on the end result, and when that seems far away, you start to feel discouraged and you give up. You don’t have to wait until the end of the road to see something is working. Create a reward system for yourself to acknowledge benchmarks in the meantime. This system will help keep you excited about the process.
What does the half way point look like? What about the first quarter? Not only will this make your goal more manageable, but celebrating your little victories will boost your confidence to make better decisions going forward.
Check the engine.
Just like you would perform maintenance on your car every few months, you have to take a little time every so often to reevaluate your goals. What steps have been working? What steps have been wearing you down? What can you change? There is no magical formula that is right for everyone, so taking the time to review your progress and setbacks will help you fine tune your path to success.
Hang some fuzzy dice.
There is no rule that says you cannot have fun while also still accomplishing your goals. It’s important for you to live your life now – not once you’ve landed that big role or after you’ve written that screenplay. Have dinner with friends. See that amazing play. Take that vacation.
Yes, it’s important to stay focused. Yes, it’s important to keep taking action, but how consistent are you going to be tow months from now if all you’ve been doing is work, work, work. You’ll begin to burn out and start to resent the very thing you’re trying to accomplish.
And when I say fun, I don’t just mean in big ways. Be sure to include the little breaks that keep you feeling positive and inspired. Read a good book. Meditate. Take a warm bath. There is nothing fun about pulling into your destination tired, unhappy and frazzled.