The Journey or the Destination?
I am, and always have been a destination orientated kind of person. I often berate myself for not taking enough time out to enjoy the journey. I have always wondered why the destination is so important to me and an interesting event helped me clarify my thinking recently.
Some friends visited us for a short break and in taking some time off work, we decided to take them Stand up paddle boarding. This is the fastest growing water sport world wide right now and we are lucky enough to live in one of Australia’s most beautiful places for just such an activity. On this day, the weather was perfect; a warm spring day, clear blue warm water and white sand. Our friends were not particularly experienced paddlers and the tide in the river was flowing very quickly. On return from our adventure my friend was struggling to paddle against the tide flow and make headway. I stayed with her, encouraging her for a while until it became evident she was not going to reach the end unassisted. My husband paddled back and towed her through the tide and onto the sand bar in the middle of the river. On seeing that everything was under control, I dug in and started paddling hard into the tide, up around the sandbar and down, into the tide flow on the other side towards the beach. I personally would rather paddle hard than carry the stand up paddle board across the sand. I assumed my friends would walk across the sand and meet me on the other side. When I turned to head back down the river, I realised that they had actually stopped for a chat. I remember feeling mildly annoyed; why couldn’t they wait until we had gotten where we were going before stopping for a swim and a chat? Really, it wasn’t that much further. We were nearly there. Why stop now? Why not keep going until we got to our destination and then relax?
I was struck by a little epiphany at that moment. I could carry on with my journey, reach my destination and sit on the sand all alone. Or I could paddle down the sandbar, park my board on the beach and walk back over to stop for a rest with them. Although my destination was within easy reach, I suddenly realised that sometimes the destination is not going to bring me happiness if I have no one there to share it with.
My revelation didn’t stop there. I often delay relaxation and fun until I reach my destination; the finish point. Fortunately as I have gotten a little wiser, I have come to understand that the finish point is often an illusion; a mirage in the desert. So, delaying the joy to take on the responsibility of the destination often robs me of relationships, experiences and plain old fun. My friend and I talked about this afterwards and I explained that I was sometimes worried I would let my customers down or put too much pressure on my staff if I didn’t stay to steer the ship to its destination. In reality, I was fearful of the outcome should I go off and play. I needed to have faith in my staff, faith in the training I had provided and enough faith to let go of the fear in order to find joy in the journey.