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Focus on the journey of business, then the outcome

Pittsburgh’s 10th Street Bridge

I read quite a lot of articles focused toward entrepreneurs and small business owners. I also follow quite a few of them on social media. One clear thing stands out in pretty much all of the things I read — they focus so much on the goals, or an end game, or a milestone, and less about the journey you’re on to get there.

Having goals to work toward is great: they keep you motivated and they help you grow. But in an endless pursuit to reach them — we start to lose sight of what we really should focus on day in and day out.

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. — Greg Anderson
When we start looking more toward the future than we do the present, we miss out on the incredible journey our businesses and life are taking us on the way to our goals.

Think of it much like a road trip. If you focus only on where you are headed, instead of where you currently are, you’ll miss out on incredible sights and experiences. You’ll rob your destination of the richness that it could have been.

In our businesses, if we constantly strive for a certain income level, milestone, or a particular growth number, we miss out on all of what is going on in the meantime. The things we miss out on could help influence and impact the goals we’re aiming for. We miss out on the richness of the entire process (start, journey, goal) and actually rob ourselves of an opportunity to fully appreciate reaching that goal.

I love goal setting

I love setting goals and working every day to achieve them. But the best part about my business is my business — running it daily, trying new ideas, experimenting and creating. All of these things I do along the way to reach my goals are what makes achieving my goals better, more fulfilling, and overall enriches actually getting there.

Even though I fell into freelancing, (before I decided to make it a business), I once dreamed of owning a design firm. In that dream, I pictured myself running a design firm. And that’s exactly what I’m doing today — running a design firm. I’ve already achieved a dream and a goal and living it exactly how I had pictured it more than a decade ago.

Some of us want to reach a certain gross revenue goal but aren’t there yet. Look around at where you are currently can give you fresh perspectives that can help you toward reaching that income level.

Some of us want to lose weight but haven’t quite gotten to our goal yet. You are still making progress when you reflect on the present and how far you have come. Enjoy what you’re doing to get there (i.e. eating better, a particular exercise routine you like).

There’s nothing wrong with reaching for your goals

There’s nothing wrong with being goal-oriented or focused on reaching a particular milestone. In order to succeed, you must keep practicing.

These are the things that push us forward. But it’s also just as important, and even just as rewarding, to take a look around at where you are and enjoy the present. If we are always looking to the future, we won’t see what we are doing in the present.

It’s so very easy for us to work away at our computers day in and day out. However, in doing so, we are missing what it means to be in business — being in business.

Don’t forget to focus on where you are today

Go ahead and read things from other entrepreneurs and business owners. Just make sure you continue to stay grounded in the present and learn from what is going on today. Be always reaching for your goals, but be appreciative of where you have come from and where you are currently.

Most importantly, reaching business goals, or a certain income is great. Doing so can help you grow and continue to challenge you. Let’s not let our drive, and the pressure by others to always be achieving, make us forget the important things we cherish. Place our focus back on things like our health, well-being, marriages, relationships, children, families, hobbies, and passions.

It’s great to hustle to reach a short-term goal. Hustle should only be used as that — a short-term tactic to reach a specific, predefined end. Hustle shouldn’t, and should never be, the day in and day out mantra of our lives.

Don’t let the perception of how productive others are fool you into thinking you aren’t doing it right.

Focus on the journey

What did you do today that brought you a particular joy? Did it allow for your goals but also appreciating the current moment? What over the last week have you looked back on and really enjoyed but wasn’t achieving a milestone?


Originally published at Amber Leigh Turner on April 25, 2018.