In the past two weeks I had three meetings that ended with disappointing news. My esthetician said it would be a year before I was done with electrolysis and could finally say good-bye to all my annoying facial hair. The doctor who performed my hair surgery said it would be about a year before the new hair was full and integrated with my existing hair. Finally a business coach told me it takes 18-24 months to build a coaching practice.
One year! Two years! I don’t want to wait for any of these things, I want them all now! It was very frustrating to hear all of this bad news in such a short period of time. I could lay in bed all day, every day, and worry about how nothing in my life is ever going to be done. I am staring everything I want in the face and it is all stuck in the distant future.
If we took on every challenge in our life, focused only on the final goal and didn’t accept any success until we reach that final goal, we’d go crazy with disappointment. We’d spend our life feeling like failures except for those times we reached our goal. But then what?
Life isn’t a game that ends when you reach a goal. It ends when it ends. So when you reach a goal, what usually happens? If you’re anything like me, you have a new goal. There is the next mountain to climb.
But, if you only focus on the top of the mountain and place all your joy there, you miss the excitement of the climb. You miss the glory of how far you’ve come because you’re only focused on where you’re going to end up. If your life feels like a meaningless slog from one event to another, it is probably because that’s how we treat our lives. The big picture, the big goals, the accomplishments.
By focusing only on the end- for me, finally having my business and hitting huge milestones in my transition- we miss all the little victories along the way. Yes, physically, it will take a year for some things to happen for me. However, I can celebrate all the things I’ve even done to get to this point. Acknowledge how I’ve grown as a person, the progress I have made in my transition, all the little things that are happening around me. The steps that are getting me to my goal.
Plus, in a year, when my facial hair is gone and my hair is gorgeous, does that mean my transition is done? Have I crossed some finish line? Hardly, in fact, I’ll probably have another goal that I’ll be a year or two away from reaching. What then? I’m just starting the entire miserable process all over again, if I don’t celebrate what is happening to me every, single day.
We need to recognize that we are all never ending works in progress. We’re all growing, changing and becoming more amazing and we are not judged and our happiness is not decided by our goals. We are judged by the things we do every day, showing up, being our best. Inching closer every day towards that person we want to be.
Notice that growth, celebrate who you are, give yourself credit for everything you’ve done. Embrace the change you’re going through, because we never stop changing.