Every entrepreneur at some point has heard the quote “Success is a journey, not a destination.” Easy advice for the successful, but not always fun to hear when you’re feeling less than happy about your business’ progress. In some ways, this quote is depressing. If the truth about your business is that you’re walking on a bridge over a river that never ends, what reason do you have to continue?
I had the privilege of speaking at a conference last weekend alongside some phenomenal entrepreneurs, including Chicago’s own Corri McFadden, who spoke openly about the journey of success. Here are my insights from that discussion and my own inner conflict about whether success is a journey or a destination:
- There are successes on the journey. Better than the “success is a journey” quote, Corri McFadden says her career has been a “series of successes.” You have one success, then a failure, and then another success. But even when you have a success, you aren’t done. Instead, you start looking for another success ahead of you. Sometimes it’s not the journey, but the collective series of successes that propels you along your way.
- Sure, success is a journey, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop to celebrate the successes you’ll find along the way. Celebrating your successes is inherent to how successful you will continue to be. If you do something great and consequently downplay and forget about it, how will you ever top yourself? You have to admit that the things you’ve done are incredible to get better and go farther in your journey.
- No one is perfect, and no one’s life is greater than someone else’s. It’s easy to look at our peers (or mentors) in our field, and think, “I’m never going to be that (fill in the blank here).” Someone will always seemingly be farther down the journey to success than you are, further in her career, and more successful. The truth is, you don’t know if that’s true. You don’t know that individual’s challenges and struggles, longings and fears. No one has a perfect life. Your successes cannot be measured against another’s.
Stop relying on the success, and stop relying on this far off notion of a “journey” too. Take your business and your life, success and failure, day to day. That’s where the real truth and the real excitement come out.