Many years ago while listening to an audio cassette of a seminar given by a motivational speaker, Dr Layne Longfellow, I learned something very important—life is a journey. Doesn’t sound important to you? Please read on.
Many, in fact most, people lead their lives as a series of destinations. We tend to think that as soon as…I graduate, I find a job, I get a promotion, I get a new car, I fall in love, I get married, I buy a house, I have a child, I buy a bigger house, I get another promotion, I retire…everything is finally going to be OK. Quoting Dr. Longfellow “…we come to the middle and later years of our life and find that we have lived our life as a series of destinations, and not as a journey.”
I want to tell you why I have found Dr. Longfellow’s philosophy to be so important, and why I now feel a calling to share that philosophy with as many people as possible.
Even after I heard it, thought about it, believed in it, I still didn’t live it. Consequently, my own life has been that series of destinations. Some of the destinations for which I have longed I have not realized. Others turned out to be a huge disappointment. Still others have been rewarding BUT I failed to reap as much of the rewards as possible because life was all about finally being there. I completely missed out on all the rewards of getting there.
A real life example: In 2002 I was offered a job that afforded me the opportunity to work from my home. A real job with a salary, benefits, etc. WOW! I jumped on it. This job was a lateral salary move working for a startup company doing something very exciting for the industry I have worked in most of my adult life.
Over the next five years this company literally bled me mentally, emotionally, and financially dry. By the end of the first 6 months they had gotten me to agree to a “salary deferral” to help keep the company floating. I was brainwashed into footing the bill for a lot of expenses the company was supposed to reimburse. I worked ridiculously hard, long hours, never got a raise, never had the proper tools to do my job well, I could go on, AND ON, but you get the idea.
They did all of this by creating a series of destinations for us to reach, always with the promise that as soon as we reached that destination we would all reap massive financial and professional rewards. Then they would either make the destination impossible to reach or change the directions entirely. During this 5 year block of time (the journey) I met some really great people who ran some really respectable, profitable businesses. I had many opportunities to leave the land of insanity for greener pastures. But I had been promised so much and I had worked so hard to get it. Surely as soon as…but it never happened. A merger finally did me in. The new board of directors didn’t want to pay my salary—the same salary I had been paid for 5 long, grueling years.
During those 5 years, my 1 & 3 year old sons became 6 & 8 years old. I was here for most of it, physically. But mentally I was elsewhere—chasing the destination, thinking I was doing this for my sons and my husband, so we could finally have a better life.
I was missing the “life” part; the journey. I know I’m not the only one. There are millions of us. So my goal is to live out the rest of my life as a journey. Feel free to come along. There lots of great things to explore, no matter where you’re going.