Thursday, February 27, 2014
February 26, 2014
This post is part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers share the best advice they've ever received. Read all the posts here.
About three years ago now I sat in a New York deli across from a good friend Glen Nelson. I had formed my own company about eight months before, leaving the security of a good job in the corporate world, and I was more than little stressed.
I proceeded to tell Glen my worries. He listened patiently, then asked about the successes of the company so far. We actually had quite a bit to crow about. We’d signed up two Fortune 100 companies as clients and had just sold a new book to Simon & Schuster.
Said Glen, “Here’s what I want you to do: Take a deep breath, think about how far you’ve come, and start to enjoy the journey.”
Enjoy the Journey. I don’t know why, but those three words instantly soothed my soul.
It’s a phrase I use every day of my life now, especially when I get caught up in the everyday details of work. So often we forget to take a step back and enjoy the day we’re having, the conversation we are engaged in, the moment we are enjoying with our family or friends. Are we always so busy checking our phones for texts and emails that we forget to appreciate the good things that are happening right in front of us?
I’ve found that by Enjoying the Journey, I hold myself accountable in a positive ways. For instance, it forces me to take stock of where I am, where I’ve come from, and the progress that has been made. Too often we live in the future, worrying about the next meeting, the next assignment, the next message we must get to. We are often so eager to get to the end that we forget to appreciate what’s going on around us. In the words of Ernest Hemingway: “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
Since that day in the deli, here are three things I’ve been doing to Enjoy the Journey:
1.Keep a journal. Three of four times a week I’ll sit down for just 15 minutes or so and record what’s been happening in my life; and, more importantly, I’ll note what I’ve learned from it. I put tickets to sporting events and plays in the journey, notes from friends, and currency from countries I visit. I’ll include photos to remember a holiday or a dinner with a friend. And every now and then I page through the journal as a reminder of where I’ve been and how I became who I am now.
2.Ruminate with trusted advisors. Despite being 2,000 miles apart, I call my business partners at least daily to discuss what we are working on, but we also make sure at least weekly to look back at the recent progress of our business and what we’ve learned, sometimes we even returning to the beginning. And when I have ideas for our business—and I have a lot!—they help me decide if they are viable and on target with our core goals. All of this helps me keep things in perspective. If they are true friends, your best and most trusted advisors will always be honest with you. They are on the journey with you and want you to be successful and happy.
3.Include your family. My wife Heidi is my north star, my rock of Gibraltar. Without her and my four kids there would be no reason to be on this journey. Too often we separate our home and work lives, but I’ve found we are happiest when we take our families along on our journeys. Taking time to reminisce and dream out loud with your loved ones can be the sweetest part of life.
I understand that “Enjoy the Journey” may sound pretty simple, and it probably is. But those three words had a profound impact on me. Again and again they remind me to keep things in perspective, to be fully present, and to make sure I am headed in the right direction for happiness. As I write in my journal, council with friends, and include my family, I know my odds of enjoying the journey and enjoying my life increase exponentially.
Now, I’d be interested in the best advice you’ve ever received, and especially how you keep yourself on the right path in life.
Photo: Alex Berger/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.