Look Back

(from my soon-to-be-published book, Just One Step: Walking Backwards to the Present on the Camino Trail)

One unexpected Camino gift and lesson was the importance of periodically looking back along your journey. While it’s easy to keep your eyes focused on what’s ahead of you, I found great gifts and perspectives in occasionally turning around to look back on the Camino (and now in my life’s journey). I remember one particular moment early on the Camino where I turned around and experienced a completely different perspective (a different view), and this led me to continue this practice throughout my journey. While I loved seeing where I was going, seeing the different view of where I’d been was an important part of my experience.

Looking back also allowed me to embrace and celebrate, even if in small ways, what I’d accomplished. It’s so much easier and more typical to continually focus on the distance left to travel, without acknowledging the distance you’ve already covered. I vividly remember the different feeling I had when looking ahead and seeing how far I still had to go versus looking back and celebrating how far I’d come. This is so true in your life as well. We’re constantly looking ahead to what we’ve not yet achieved, but we rarely take time to turn around, look back and allow ourselves to feel good about the road we’ve already traveled.

Yes, keep reaching for that which you desire in your personal or professional life, and set those big hairy audacious goals, but always remember to look back, acknowledge what you’ve already done and achieved, and celebrate the journey you’ve already made. Life is made up of one journey after another, and each leg of each journey is worthy of celebration and even a giant pat on the back. Look at you and all that you’ve already achieved! There’s more for you in the future to achieve, but make sure you remember to look back and bless yourself for the journey you’ve already taken.

Your Journey

The Camino was my journey and was only one of the many journeys I’ve taken thus far in my life, and there are more journeys left to take, experience and complete. What about your journeys, objectives and desired outcomes? What are you seeking to achieve in your business or career? What different experience do you desire from and in your relationships? What I learned on the Camino is that any goal or objective is really a journey – a journey that will be filled with highs and lows, obstacles and challenges, bumps and bruises, failures and successes, setbacks and accelerations. I also now deeply understand that every journey is made up of individual experiences that are just as important as (and often more important than) the journey itself, and the same is true for every journey you’ve taken, are taking and will take in the future.

I’d love to be able to assure you that you will achieve every objective and outcome you desire, but that would be naïve and misleading. What I do know is that there are different ways of pursuing your objectives that will always shift your experiences and thus will often shift your outcomes. The shifts shared in this chapter were learned through difficult times on my Camino journey, and I’ve brought them back into my personal and business journey. I now understand that I don’t have to keep my eyes on the goal and that, in fact, my chances of achieving my objectives are better served by keeping my eyes off the goal. I now know that the key to my dreams is focusing on the short-term goals and even just next actions (the next steps), committing to them and sustaining them long enough to create the magic of momentum. I also now understand and embrace the truth that I only control one thing – myself – which means that I control my next steps, which will empower me for every pursuit and journey the rest of my life.

If you want to improve a relationship, focus on small acts that will build the relationship. If you want to improve your sales, focus on the small and perhaps different actions you can take today. If you want to change your financial situation, commit to making different financial choices every day. If you want to take a trip, focus on small steps that will make that trip a reality at some point down the road. Set your long-term goals, and then take your eyes off them. Set your short-term goals and keep your eyes on those. Identify the small steps that will get you where you want to go, and then take them. Take the small steps even when it’s scary, difficult or even painful. Trust yourself even in the face of challenges. Commit to the steps long enough to build momentum and then just keep going.

As you move forward in every part of your life, I encourage you to dump the old perspectives about goals. Keep your eyes off the long-term goal, focus on the short-term goals (next actions) and commit to the next step. Embrace the power of momentum and know that you create momentum through the simplest acts of taking one step at a time followed by another and another. Your desired goals, outcomes and life are at the end of the road, and you may not be able to see them, but if you want them enough to take just one step and then another you’ll be on the road to those desires. Expect setback and obstacles. Expect even that it may be painful at times. But know that you’ve what it takes to get there if you Just Keep Going!

If you’d like to receive these Daily Wake Up Calls every morning via email, join our community of different thinkers by signing up here. Please also join me on Facebook and Twitter.

Speak Your Mind