At the end of the day, the “achievement” is not the prize..

2019 is on the heels of 2018…and approaching quickly.

As you head to the “finish line”…whatever that may mean for you this year, I wanted to share some reflections on “achievement” and offer some tips for staying the course, especially for those who are working on long term personal or professional goals where the end of the year may not signify “completion” for you. You know, the “trophy” moment.

The "prize", the trophy, the medal, the certificate, is the celebration. The symbol of the last piece in the puzzle, the final milestone being met. I'm guessing if you asked anyone to tell you about one of their achievements, they would not run over to their drawer and pull out their medal and show it to you.  Rather, they would tell you a story.  Why?  Because, it is in the road they took to get there that was full of potholes, hills and unexpected gravelly spots that made it an achievement. That’s what makes it a story.

Think about the word “achievement”. By definition, it is something that is challenging and worthwhile…in other words, an accomplishment.

Celebrating the road that lead to the achievement is what really matters. Learning to recognize when you are making progress, noticing what may have gotten in the way and how you were able to get moving again. The obstacles met and overcome. I’m guessing that no one is going to tell you a story about something that went off without a hitch…where’s the story in that?

Achievements give us a chance to notice the patterns that may emerge when we are working hard towards something we want. Perhaps noticing that taking even the smallest of steps towards our goal, rather than doing nothing at all makes a difference, or noticing the things that get you "stuck", and what skills or resources you draw on to get you going again.

I’m guessing that at some point, you started with a "direction", something you wanted. A setting of your compass.  You didn’t have to know every step, it started with the first one. It might have been a phone call, an email or to register for that first course. It was all about setting the wheels in motion and, as you continued to take steps, the compass may have started to shift and lead you somewhere else. 

Ask yourself: am I where I thought I would be when I set out in January of this year? If not, are you further along, behind, or did you course correct and decide that the “goal” you had actually wasn’t important anymore? Just notice. This is life. We don’t have a crystal ball to let us know what will happen so we make a plan and start from there. Some might call this a strategy. The thing about strategies is, if they are too rigid, we risk missing the opportunities that are right under our noses. A plan or strategy that has backbone and direction and also flexibility leaves room for course correction. Options. Because a plan without options well….sounds….kind of like a straightjacket.

As you continue on your quest for that achievement, remember to stop and look around every now and then and to savour all of the experiences that present themselves because, at the end of the day, it is the experiences along the way that make it worthwhile. That is why it is an achievement!

Are you looking for someone to help you with your strategy when you get stuck? Contact me for a chat about how I can help get you moving again.