I can’t stop thinking about this recent message and photo that was posted on our timeline last week. Maybe it’s because I’m a /green/ flower. Maybe it’s because my Declare It Day goal was the exact same as Jen’s – to run a 1 hr 45 min half marathon. Or maybe, if I’m being honest, it’s because my goal truly scared me, and I knew – deep down – there was a good chance I may not reach it. Jen’s message – simple, brave and beautiful – is something we all need to hear:
“Sometimes you just have to have courage to attempt a goal…although I did not achieve my DID goal (1/2 in 1:45) I still crushed my previous PR with a 1:46 finish time. I will take that and celebrate and try again soon.”
The courage to attempt – powerful stuff. We need to hear this not because she fell short (1:46 is straight ridiculous) – but because she honored the journey, and she courageously chased a goal without the guarantee of achieving it.
And just because we don’t reach the goal, it doesn’t mean the journey isn’t worth celebrating. It still counts. In thinking about it this past week, maybe it counts even more….
Reminding us that we should not reserve celebration just for the victories, but also for the effort and discoveries along the way.
We spend a lot of time with our friendships, at work with colleagues and at the dinner table with our family focusing on the wins and celebrating the successes. Very often, this can be mirrored in what’s glorified in the media and what inundates our newsfeeds. Less often then, and seemingly without a place to do so, are we honoring the glory and hard-earned grit of the near-misses, the hard lessons, the almosts and the just-shys.
I know I’m not alone in acknowledging that my greatest riches and lessons have occurred when I didn’t get what I wanted. While I’m sure it was subconsciously strengthening my character and resilience, these lessons didn’t openly reveal themselves until much later, often in situations that simply left me smiling and saying, ‘Now I get it.’
I also happen to know that Jen is the mother of three young kids. I’m quite certain they were not focused on the one minute that separated her from that Declare It Day goal. When she crossed the finish line, all they cared about was seeing the triumphant and sweat-purged smile of their superhero. They saw her commit, train and go for it, and they witnessed her vulnerability and strength working in beautiful tandem.
And now, her young kids, at pivotal moments in their lives, will draw from her example as they conquer their own fears, stand up for their dreams and take risks for what they love.
Yes, ladies, goals are important. We need them. They push us and make us accountable to our true potential. They free us, lead us and inspire us. But when goals start to compete with joy and appreciation, or worse yet, intimidate us out of trying, we need to step back, call ourselves out and remember why we started in the first place.
Goals, at their core, are simply empty canvases. Their depth and meaning are contingent upon the artist’s interpretation, all the while knowing that what is created may only ever be understood by the soul of its creator.
But the courage to attempt – the willingness to step in, let go, try, mess up, and begin again – is the only way you will ever discover the masterpiece you are truly capable of.
Honor the goal… but do it for the journey.
p.s. Jen – thank you… for more than you know. xo