Is your focus on the journey or the destination?
B. Keith Chapman, President & CEO
In today’s world, it is common for organizations to have both a mission and a vision statement. The mission statement’s purpose is to briefly define the purpose of the organization’s existence, while the vision statement paints a picture of what the organization will look like at some point in the future. Progressive organizations will have established goals and objectives that function as stepping stones on the journey to their stated vision. These tools and benchmarks also apply to each of our personal lives. In fact, there are many studies that prove that people who establish and write down their life goals have a better chance of accomplishing them. In a very basic application, organizations and people desire to move from point A to point B. Some are just more successful than others. I suggest that it has a lot to do with what people focus on the most – Journey or Destination?
We all learned in school, at some point, that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. While that works in geometry, its application in the journey of life is limited. There may be a game plan for the journey, but the journey will likely be filled with obstacles, detours, and challenges. Our journey would not look like a straight line if plotted on paper. While a solid vision is important, sometimes we tend to focus so much on the vision or the final destination that we forget about the value of the journey. Ernest Hemmingway once said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. It is the journey itself that creates opportunity, develops character and ultimately prepares us for the destination.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Another version says, “… he will make your path straight.” This passage is a good reminder that we don’t have to navigate the journey by ourselves. In fact, we may avoid a few obstacles, headaches and delays by seeking some heavenly advice. There are a series of decisions, actions, and responses that are required to achieve a vision. So the journey will rarely be a straight line to the finish. In fact, it has been my experience that the harder the path, the more rewarding the destination.
I am reminded of a famous poem written by Linda Ellis called The Dash. If you have not ever read it, I would encourage you to do so. The poem is about the journey of life and uses the analogy of a tombstone. Ms. Ellis makes the point that it is not the date of birth or the date of death that is important. Rather it is the “dash” in between the dates. The dash represents the journey and the journey defines not only what we were able to accomplish, but what impact we had on people.
Challenge: Have a clear vision, but focus on the journey. Never forget that you don’t have to face the journey alone. Remember, although our entire journey may not look like a straight line, it is the journey that is most important.
Published: October 2018