I’ve always considered myself a very ambitious person. I remember how when I was younger, I felt I had to do it all. I had to be an A-student, be a sports star and still be a social butterfly.
Now, looking back, all I remember is trying to be the best at all of these things. I don’t really remember much of how it felt when I made it and stayed in the top ten because I was so busy trying to get to that number one spot. I don’t remember how it felt when I got my first gold medal for athletics because that was at school level and not against other schools therefore in my mind, it didn’t count. While I remember the friends I’ve had along the way, I can’t say I remember how I showed up for them during the season of the friendship because I was constantly worried if they really liked me or not.
Always thinking, what’s next
I’ve always been a worrier and in fact, I still spend way too much time worrying about what tomorrow holds; how everything will play out in a year or two and if I’m making the right steps towards what I want to achieve. I was constantly worried about putting in more work to do better and be better. It was a constant anxious feeling about what’s next.
I only recently acknowledged how this feeling of anxiety can quickly move from being a positive catalyst for getting sh*t done, into one that brings negative thoughts and self speak about not being good enough. I’ve had to interrogate this feeling and decide whether I would let it own me or if I could use it to my advantage.
It’s about the journey, not the destination
While talking to a friend about my five year plan and how things weren’t moving according to this plan, their response was, “Your problem is you worry so much about the destination, you forget to enjoy the journey.”
Without taking it in, I chirped back, “But how do I enjoy the journey when the intended estimated time of arrival was two years ago?”
The interaction was quite frustrating because I was looking to get a plan of action. However, once I took a step back and reflected on the conversation, their response served as an “AHA” moment for me.
It took some journaling and more conversations with friends but, I realised that while I may not be where I thought I would’ve been two years ago already, I can’t take for granted where I am currently.
Every place has a purpose
Reflecting on the past ten years, I’m able to see how God has placed me in positions that have challenged me to stay a student. For every ceiling that I would reach, He would then take me into another industry where my ceiling from the old job would serve as the foundation for the new thing. There would also always be new heights to reach for.
I’ve worked for a publishing company, a digital start-up, a publishing company turned tech platform, I’ve led a newsroom, a social media team and now lead brand and all digital work for a school group. With no context of where God’s taking me, these positions all seem misaligned.
However, now that I’ve pressed the cruise control switch and I’m taking in the view, I can see how all the positions have equipped me with the knowledge, skills and the experiences that will benefit the end-goal. The challenge now is to stop asking, “are we there yet” and instead ask, “where am I now and what will I take from this experience?”
We’ll get there
There is a reason why I’m not running the business right now. Don’t get me wrong, I know that it’s definitely part of God’s plan for me – I was born to run something (lol) – and I know God wants to do something amazing through me and my work. Right now however, God is calling me to pause and to learn.Learn not only what it takes to start something but also what it takes to preserve it. Learn how to survive but also know that there will be times when I will also need to learn to thrive while in survival mode. Learn how to serve. Most importantly, learn how to take it all in because my destination depends on how I walk the path.
Are we there yet? Definitely not, but we are on the right track. Also, I’m not in the driver’s seat, God is. I’m the co-pilot in charge of making sure we have a good soundtrack for every part of this journey.