American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson was quoted as saying “It’s the not the destination, It’s the journey” and over the years this has a been a useful reminder that the pathway to our goals is where we should be focussing our energy, celebrating and appreciating each step along the way.
Recently I’ve been thinking about pathways and goals and actually, I’m not sure if I 100% agree with Waldo!
Yes, the journey is important and, whilst it sounds cringey, life is a journey we need to embrace, however having goals is a key element to living a positive and emotionally fit life.
But the destination (AKA the goal) is super important. We need to know where we are headed, yet we also need to be super flexible about how we get there, or the journey we take.
Take for instance the thousands of students that received A-Level results this week. Many of them have goals, they want to be doctors, lawyers, vets or accountants. This is their goal, however, they may not have attained the grades they needed for first-choice universities.
This may be disappointing, but if they are flexible, they will find a place at another university and their goal is still strong, they are just taking a different pathway or journey to the destination. So in this instance, the destination is strong and the process to getting there is malleable.
But I want to add another possibility that really resonated with me after watching a recent episode of the Amazon series ‘All or Nothing’ which follows premiere league football club Arsenal.
In a team talk manager Mikel Arteta asks the team what is more important, the journey or the destination? The answer was neither – rather it was the company you kept along the way.
I love this and it’s got me really thinking since. In a world where we rely so heavily on tech it’s easy to forget the importance of people, but who we have on our team, who we share our goals with, who is by our side is the most important thing.
In order to be emotionally fit, in order to be healthy, in order to achieve we need to connect with others and gain support and be supportive, then the journey and destination are equally achievable and enjoyable.
So, who is in your team?