Success is a very relative term, meaning different things to different people. Yet, regardless of the varied goals and intents of people, the rule book of success remains the same. Whether you are aiming for a healthy bank balance, owning your dream house or simply want to win the Best Employee award – regardless of your interpretation of success– you will thrive only if you are passionate about the journey. After all, it is the joy of loving what you do that ultimately fuels the passion and the drive to succeed.
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson
Destination vs. Journey
For some professionals, their career is a destination. From the beginning, they aspire to be successful- whether in terms of achieving a particular role, getting into a certain organization or getting recognition in their line of work. On the other hand, the professionals who treat their career as a journey seek to build their professional repertoire by experiencing work from a variety of perspectives. Their focus is on excellence and they strive to imbue their learning trajectory with the pursuit of knowledge.
While both the types might succeed in their endeavours, the ride is much more joyful and fulfilling in the latter case, which is studded with consistent efforts to imbibe the experiences and grow professionally.
Task-oriented vs. Result-oriented
“Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.”- Robert Collier
Some of us focus only on the big picture while some take the time to look at the tiny dots that join together to form the big picture. The former pivots only around the end result whereas the latter embraces the journey. The problem with the result-oriented approach is that, in a rush to reach the destination, there is a real peril that we might miss the milestones, or worse, the warning signs.
The task-oriented approach allow you to grow organically through applying yourself to each task, imbibing new skills in order to deepen your learning curve, and building strong credentials to your name. With such a mindset, you will see every success and failure as another milestone.
Each success will remind you of how far you have come whereas every failure will be a reminder of how much more you need to learn before you earn a place in the sun. Also, as you start achieving smaller milestones, you feel more empowered and your motivation level continues to rise steadily. Such a mental state will inspire you to enjoy the ride and persevere patiently until your dreams reach fruition.
However, with the result-oriented approach, there is a slight chance of getting lost in the big picture. Sometimes, constantly thinking about our goals and dreams can overawe us and the haste to get there might weigh us down. Also, such mental framework doesn’t adapt to failure well, and breeds a sense of despondency and frustration whenever your efforts are waylaid by an unforeseen turn of events. Too much obsession with the end result can sap the vigor from your dreams, and make the work less enjoyable for you.
Focus on excellence and all good things will follow
“The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.” – Napoleon Hill
Hunger for knowledge is the fuel that stokes the fire of excellence. Knowledge plays a key role in enabling you to expand your professional toolkit. When you focus on doing a task to the best of your ability, and are open to new learning experiences, working will be anything but a drab, tedious affair. Following the trail of excellence will gradually set you upon the path of becoming your best version, which, in terms of Dr. Maslow is called ‘self-actualization.’ A self-actualized person is driven by a desire for self-fulfillment and strives for maximizing his potential. For such a person, the joy lies in the journey and not the destination.
Once you develop such a mindset and start enjoying what you do, work will become a joyride and success will follow by default. After all, all the good things – fame, success, money, etc. – are the by-products of excellence.
What does career mean to you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org