We’re all busy trying to reach lofty professional and personal goals.  It’s what ambitious people do.  It can be exciting, scary, invigorating and challenging.  A future orientation keeps us motivated and focused.  But sometimes we forget that “life’s a journey, not a destination”, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said; one of those clever sayings that’s earned its place on many a fridge magnet.

How can we make it more than a fridge magnet? We can put some action around this well-intentioned notion to help us adopt its meaning, which is to enjoy the process of moving toward your big dreams.  Here are some tips as to how to make this happen:

  • Celebrate small achievements. Be proud of each step in the right direction.
  • Be actively grateful. Reflect on all that you have at this stage in your life.
  • Escape. On occasion, do something that isn’t on your to-do list and has very little “purpose.”
  • Do it now. Don’t wait.  Whatever “it” is….big or small: Visit your Grandmother, sign up for a marathon, write a poem, negotiate your salary, replace that lampshade you hate.
  • Stop and smell the flowers. (Note: This tip also available in fridge-magnet form.) Literally stop and notice your surroundings.  Notice yourself – your body, your feelings.

It’s not always easy.  In the interest of full-disclosure, this is a constant struggle for me personally.  Is it irresponsible to take my eyes off my big goals for just a moment?  What am I worried about?  Do I think the vision of my dream “destination” will disappear?

What I do know for a fact is that the moments of the present that make up the “journey” disappear every second.   My only chance to participate fully is right now.