Life is often described as a journey, and in many respects it is, but as you get to the end of this year, you may or may not feel you have/n’t reached your final destination. It’s important for you to know what you consider to be your final destination and if you really want to reach it.
During our lives we go on a number of journeys that run parallel to one another. One of these journeys is the journey of self discovery regarding the person we really are. This is a journey which will never end as we will never fully come to discover everything about ourselves in this lifetime.
There’s also the journey of finding the most suitable career activity for ourselves. This journey is closely linked to the journey of self discovery. If you don’t discover who you are and what talents, gifts and abilities come naturally to you, you risk spending your career as a square peg in a round hole – always trying to fit and making an effort to do something that’s juts not naturally you.
Your career journey can go through many stages and the idea is that each stage is an improvement on the previous one. That’s what career growth is all about.
Then there’s the journey to finding a life partner, for those who choose to do so. Of course, when one finds the partner, one starts another journey on the road of the relationship, which itself results in other journeys such as the journey through parenthood. And for those of us who are parents, we know that that’s another journey altogether …!
Going on a journey, however, implies that there should be a destination. Destinations may well be reached, but never make the mistake of considering them to be your final destination. Unfortunately, some people do however reach their final destination long before they die and, while they are still physically alive, they are dead in other ways. They have lost or given up their vision, and they have lost their sense of purpose, whether it be personal or professional.
Viktor Frankl, in his 1946 book Man’s Search for Meaning chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate and explains how he saw people, exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally, simply deciding one day that they were just not going to get out of bed any more. Others would care for them by bringing them food and washing them, but very soon those people died. It would seem that they had decided that they had reached their final destination and that there was nothing more to live for.
He came to understand that those who still had a meaningful purpose continued to live and eventually survived the horrors that claimed the lives of millions of people.
Have you reached your final destination without realising it? Have you decided that you’ve gone as far as you want to go? Have you decided that you don’t want to get out of bed anymore? That you don’t want to learn anything new any more? Have you decided that you don’t want to have to deal with any more challenges in life? If so, you possibly have reached your final destination and, while you will probably live longer than those in the concentration camps did, in one sense you’ve already started to die.
Don’t give up. Life’s journeys provide lessons that will take us from ignorance to enlightenment. Few of us realise that the challenges we face in life are lessons that have presented themselves to us. If we refuse to learn a particular lesson, it will return to us in a different form a little more challenging than the previous lesson.
Recognise the challenges you encounter in your professional and personal life as lessons and ask yourself what it is you need to learn, either about yourself, about others or about life. You will be surprised to discover the truth in the old saying: when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
Remember, muscles don’t grow or develop by resting. They grow through resistance. You have to pick up heavy weights to ensure your muscles grow.
Once you start learning again, you will realise that you never want to reach your final destination!
Alan Hosking is the Publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net and @HRFuturemag. He is an internationally recognised authority on leadership competencies for the future and teaches experienced and younger business leaders how to lead with empathy, compassion, integrity, purpose and agility. In 2018, he was named by US-based web site Disruptordaily.com as one of the “Top 25 Future of Work Influencers to Follow on Twitter“. In 2020, he was named one of the “Top 200 Global Power Thought Leaders to watch in 2021” by peopleHum in India. In 2022, he has been named on the Power List of the “Top 200 Biggest Voices in Leadership in 2022” by LeaderHum.