journey2We have all heard the quotation that every journey starts with a single step.  Most people attribute it to Confucius, although there is evidence that his contemporary Laozi actually wrote it first.

But who wrote is isn’t the point.

The real point is about enjoying each step of the journey.  It isn’t enough just to have goals, although they are important, without them we don’t know where we are going.  The real point is to enjoy each step of the journey.

For Mike, Are you Enjoying the Journey,  was his first question when he and Dov compiled the five questions for The Last Seminar.

As Mike said, “This is the biggie. This is the big one. I have to do the first two to get you here. But question three; this is the one that’s made me so calm, that gives me the inner peace. This is the one I first thought of when we worked on these questions together”.

The problem is that most of us fall in the trap on focusing on the destination and not the steps that make up the journey.

As Mike explained, we all start writing business goals down, things like “By year 10, I’m going to be here and by the end of this year, I’m going to be here. We’re going to do this”.

The goals are important.

But as he said, “…..they’re all future goals and that’s fine. But, what’s actually more important than the destination point is actually how you get there, how you travel to that destination point. If you travel well and you’re enjoying the journey and you’re doing the things that are feeding the why and you’re growing; then you’re going to be happier as you’re on the journey”.

The reality is that we often focus so much on the destination that we fail to enjoy the journey.  The result is that we are actually unhappy most of the time.

Mike told how he fell into this trap in corporate life.

As he explained in the first question he had a very successful corporate life.  But the thing is, it didn’t make him happy.  All the time he chased the next promotion, because he thought that the bigger salary and the bigger car was what would make him happy.  But as he said, when he got them there was “still an idiot above” him.

Of course they weren’t all idiots and Mike does mention some of the fantastic managers he was blessed with.  But the thing is the idiots seem to dominate your life when you are not happy.

If we are self-employed, and especially if we are sole traders, we’ll do our best to ensure there are no idiots around us and in his fourth question Mike talks about surrounding yourself with the right people.  But we can still experience difficulties that can cause unhappiness.  Often it is the factors that are beyond our control.  It might be cold wet weather that affects sales of our ice creams or sunglasses. Or it might be the proliferation of camera phones that is killing our photography business.

The thing is, we can all adapt our businesses to accommodate our problems. It is just a matter of changing destination and is relatively easy.  Mike eventually did this by starting a business; although initially he still hadn’t grasped the fact that enjoying the journey was the key.

As he says the wrong journey is when we say, “I’m going work myself into the ground for the next three years to build this business to the point where it’s earning 400,000 a year turnover, then I can step back and spend time with my family.”

As he explained, “That’s the wrong journey. You’ve wasted three years of your life for two good reasons.

One, those are three precious years you should be spending with your family.

Two, I guarantee you won’t reach that goal because your heart won’t be in it and when you get there, the 400,000 won’t be enough because you have thought all those things you needed to do. So enjoy the moment, enjoy the journey.

As he explained the goals are important but you need to build in some enjoyment.

Mike explained it further like this, “If the goal is to earn 500,000 in three years. Make sure you build into the fact that it also includes two days a week with a family because that was what my success looks like.

And if you can’t hit 500,000 in three years because you’re going to spend the two days a week with your family, then you got to change that goal”

The thing is goals alone aren’t enough.  You have to enjoy the journey if you are to be happy; if you are to be at peace with yourself.

Mike finally got there in his business. He explained it like this. “In my case, I was serving my why. I had a very good clear picture of what success looked like and I was achieving it and I was enjoying the journey”.

To sum up Mike’s philosophy on Enjoying the Journey I’m going to use his words.  They are so eloquent and say it better than anyone else can.

This is what he said in summing it up.

“When you decide on your journey, you’re going to set decisions; this is how I’m going to live my life; this is I’m going to run the journey. When you make that decision, the only way you’ll be happy on your journey is when you stay on track. You just stick to it. And people start second guessing their decisions because a lot of people start to challenge it; start throwing other ideas in. They wobble and suddenly they’re off the path and they’ve lost the sight.

When you’ve decided on your why, your success, how it looks and how you’re going to live your life; you just stick with that and use that as a filter to filter out other suggestions that people will put on you, because sometimes they do out of real love for you and they want you to be happy and that’s their definition of happy so they think you should be doing this. Sometimes they just do it because they just can’t understand why anyone else wants to travel a different path.