ALONG THE WAY
My daughter, Lauren, and I had just been commenting on the breathtaking beauty of our surroundings as we headed up Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, when we passed a mother and daughter on their way down from the peak.
The petite seven-year-old with curly locks found herself a few steps in front of her mother on the trail. She stopped, picked up an unusual stone, and turned back toward her mother.
“Are we at the bottom yet?” she asked, playing with the stone in her hand.
Although we could tell that both mother and daughter were exhausted, this mom did not miss a beat. “I don’t know,” Mom answered honestly, “but we’re closer than we were.”
I thought, Just like a typical kid -- too busy to notice the beauty of the journey.
Then, I saw a flash of my own reflection in that seven-year-old girl, and I was struck by the similarities.
A vision came to mind of myself always eager to achieve the next goal. I saw the backlog of goals I had already written down, just waiting for my time and attention. I thought, I’m always so eager to conquer one goal and move onto the next, that I (like that seven-year-old) forget to enjoy the beauty along the way.
What struck me next was that mom’s response, “We’re closer than we were.”
As I’m striving toward each goal, I never allow myself to take my eyes off the end goal. I never stop to recognize the many successes along the way. I don’t celebrate the steps that have already been achieved - I don’t recognize that each step is one step closer to where I want to be.
Achieving goals is just like hiking up and down that mountain. On the mountain, I enjoyed each step, each view, each victory because I was on vacation and I had given myself permission to breathe and enjoy. But, shouldn’t my daily life look like that too -- realizing the beauty from the perspective of standing on each step as I move closer to my goal? Shouldn’t I celebrate the victory of being one step closer?
I returned to work transformed from these lessons I learned on the mountain. Take a word or two of advice: Enjoy the journey and celebrate each step on your path.