Every person in pursuit of a goal or dream has to endure a journey. When we start, obstacles seem to work themselves out, but as you get further, the battles become more internal. Our character traits, mindsets, and habits are called into question, and situations require us to respond differently than we did in the past. On this journey we learn ourselves. Most importantly, we discover the limitations of our former perspectives.
Three years ago, I thought I had life figured out. My life met the checklist for success and the only thing I needed to work on was finding a partner. I remember being frustrated at the “slim pickings” and feeling like guys had it much easier when it came to love. I can also recall a feeling of unfulfillment in my friendships and career. In every area, I wanted more. At that time, I thought I was taking the necessary steps to attain what I wanted, but little did I know, I was just warming up.
Lessons to learn. Two years ago, a coworker told me that if I didn’t have it yet I wasn’t ready. I didn’t like her advice, but I was wise enough to understand there may be truth behind it. Essentially, she told me I still had lessons to learn; she was right.
By 2016, I had been single for a year and given my assets, I was unclear as to why I wasn’t finding love. When I started therapy later that year, I realized that my own walls and fear of commitment kept me from attracting people who were open and from connecting deeply with friends. At the time, I had ineffective communication, zero tolerance for working through conflict, and minimal understanding of healthy and balanced exchanges. I wanted relationships for which I was not ready. The vision of what I wanted was not the reality of how life unfolds. I had work to do on the inside. Sometimes there is space between what we want and what we are ready to handle.
Adjustments to make. While therapy was eye opening, learning about my growth areas was only the first step. I had to put my knowledge to practice. I communicated to friends my updated expectations and needs and slowly learned how to be more vulnerable. The more I built intimate connections in my friendships, the more insight I had for my own romantic relationships.
It wasn’t all uphill though. While, the inner me was growing, the outer me needed time. I cycled through poor relationship choices for another two years but saw improvements each time. In hindsight, I think this is what it means to “fail forward.” Through trial and error, you learn what you do and don’t want or need. Our experiences put us in position to receive what we're seeking.
Goals to crush. When you start focusing on the work needed, you'll eventually need to check your progress. I'm bad at this. Fortunately, I have solid friends who recently told me that I’m finally doing what I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. As examples were named from this year alone (starting locs, getting in a healthy relationship, buying a car, and leaving my career), I began seeing the connections and payoff from the last three years. Sometimes, we get so used to the pursuit of the dream, that we forget to embrace the moment we achieve it.
If my friend never said anything, I wouldn’t have realized my own growth. I’m finally ready for everything I wanted, and it’s coming to me quickly. This is the time to utilize what I learned and exceed expectations. When you hit a goal, the best way to crush it is by doing what you set out to do.
No matter how much we plan and prepare, life unravels at its own pace. Sometimes we want something badly, but fail to realize the work we still need to do. Whether you are just realizing your own areas of growth, or finally moving into the space you’ve been working for, keep reflecting and progressing. By learning and adjusting, you are well on your way to crushing your goals. Listen to the journey.