Life that Works: Direction Not Destination

February 16th, 2011

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” -Buddhist Proverb

There is a subtle but profound distinction between having a clear direction in life and a marked destination. I am all for the continued effort to define our life’s direction.  Ironically, sometimes our focus and skills on defining this direction are so acute that we unwittingly get deeply attached to the outcome. The more strategic our plan,  the more defined the results become in our planning; what was a healthy direction can become trapped in our own desire.

It is easy to not see this coming because the thinking in both activities shares many similarities.  Envisioning what we want and holding ourselves accountable for taking action on behalf of our aspirations is foundational to all goal setting activities. The distinction comes when the pressure to achieve the plan becomes myopic. We can’t see what else life is offering. We forget that life is not a destination, but a process.

Mostly I love making a love business. I love teaching people about the importance of ingredients and the essential connections between love and physical intimacy. I love finding new places that are excited to distribute our products and working to make our formulations the best they can be. I love meeting talented people who contribute their genius to making us the best we can be.  I love dreaming big about where the company could go.

I stop loving all those things when I get stuck on measuring myself against a plan, or I get afraid about how to make the plan happen.  When my desire for clarity turns into my need to win something or prove something, I lose touch with what I love to do. Worse still, I lose the most vital connection to life there is- the ability to see what is right in front of me, to listen to the signals and make adjustments to the plan as needs be.  I lose my ability to be present when I get pulled into believing more in the destination than the direction.

The truth about finding a direction that can at once motivate, inspire and challenge us is that it must have the wiggle room to experiment, to wonder and be curious about,  to not have to know.  It offers the freedom to win in ways that you might not have included in the plan and ways to win even when the plan doesn’t pan out.   Choosing a direction, walking the path… there is room to be lighthearted and positive everyday.

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