You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”— Steve Jobs
My first brush with ambition happened in first grade when one of my teachers asked us to write down what we wanted to become in the future. I remember listing down roughly ten career paths I wanted to take. A couple of years later, I’m still not there.
You’re probably reading this because you’re not there either.
Who else feels like life is moving too fast? The sand in the hourglass is trickling by the grain, and somewhere at the back of our minds, we feel like we’re running out. Running out of what exactly?
Do me a favor. I need you to picture your goal for a second. See it erupting from a glowing halo of light. Then, as if you were marking a destination on a map, trace your goal all the way back to what you would consider a starting line. That space between the starting point and the destination (your goal) is where you write down every single course of action and decision you’ve made to get closer to where you want to go.
I can’t sneak a peek in your mind. Only you can answer this question. Did you pour in the effort, consistency, discipline, and hard work for your goal?
If not, then that could be why you don’t see any results. To reap the crop, you have to sow the seeds.
But, if you’re one of the few people who show up consistently, do the work, and practice discipline, yet you’re still not quite there. Let me say this, you drew the map too short, or you’re working under someone else’s timeline.
The Little Red Hen and Her Sorry Excuse for Friends
When it comes to success, I like going back to Paul Galdone’s The Little Red Hen. It begins on a farm with a little red hen, a sleepy cat, a lazy dog, and a noisy duck. The hen came up with the idea to bake some bread. She asked her friends for help. Of course, they said no. She planted the wheat, prepared the flour, and baked the bread all by herself.
When it was finally time to enjoy the rewards of her hard work, AKA the golden loaf of farm-baked bread, she asked her farm-animal friends, “Who will help me eat the bread?” They all chirped a “yes.” But the little red hen said “No.” After all, she was the only one who did the work. Well played, little red hen, well played.
Learn to Enjoy the Process
Human beings are not naturally attracted to the work. Many like to talk a big game, but only a few walk it like they talk it (play the Migos song, please).
We’re constantly at war with what we want and what we’re willing to do to achieve it, which ends up in nothing getting done. And that is the last place you want to be stuck in.
Learning to enjoy the process helps you build strong foundations by reconnecting you to the heart of why you do what you do. It may not always be pretty, and a lot of times, it feels more like a chore rather than something magnificent. But when you step back and take a moment to appreciate how far you have come, you’ll be grateful for all the steps you’ve taken.
Don’t Work Under Someone Else’s Timeline
“I want to become someone so I can prove to my dad/ex/teacher/doubters…”
This is how the conversation goes inside our heads. You can draw motivation from your experiences, that’s none of my business. But just this one time, I beg you. Do not get trapped in the mentality that you need to validate yourself to someone constantly.
Whenever you think of what you want to become in light of how much you want to prove to other people, you swap long-term growth for short-term gratification. In the long run, everything you’ve built will come crashing down because no outward effort towards validation is going to make up for real self-acceptance. Going at your own rate does not mean you are falling behind. For me, the only timeline that matters is the one God has prepared. How about you? Whose timeline is important to you?
Why You Aren’t Where You Want to Be in Life…Yet
Dreams unfold in their own time. You might not be where you want to be, but it doesn’t mean you won’t get to where you’re going. Everything you do from here on out paves the way to the destination. Be patient, show up consistently, and have a grateful heart.