Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Life is a journey, not a destination.” I think many people misinterpret that line. I often see people use it to avoid planning for the future. I read that quote as: Life isn’t meant to be lived with one single end goal in mind. The way I see it, life’s journey has many destinations along the way, and those destinations are just as important as the journey, not something to be simply ignored. Whether your destinations are physical or spiritual, you’ll need a few things to navigate through life’s journey. I call those tools Vision, Direction and Expectation.
Vision is the big picture. It’s stepping back and seeing your journey for what it is. Vision is your identity as a human being. Your Vision is not what you do… it’s who you are. It is accepting the fact that you are in control of your own journey, and you alone are responsible for where you end up. Vision does not mean defining an end goal, but rather achieving a true awareness of self. It’s the insight to look at who you were, who you are and who you may become throughout your journey. Step back and look at your life as if it were a novel with you as the protagonist… How does it read so far? How might the next chapter read? Vision is taking responsibility for your life and claiming the journey as your own.
Direction is how you move forward. It’s the internal motivation you have, and why you continue on each leg of your journey. Sure, motivation changes frequently over time, and your journey may be a twisty path… But remember, it’s not about one destination. Without Direction your journey comes to a pause, but it can always be resumed! There’s no backtracking, every step is always a step forward. When you find yourself at a halt, take a breath and think of your Vision. Direction will return to you. Where you are headed does not define who you are, it simply moves you along your path in life. Remember that you are in control of your own Direction.
Expectation, simply put, is hope. Expectation is removal of self-limitation; it is optimism for the future. Every tomorrow brings a new day and new hope. When you are hopeless, you lose sight of both your Direction and Vision. Hope is the driver behind moving forward. Make sure your Expectation is not in conflict with your Vision and Direction. The result is inner turmoil. The source of your Expectation is within you, you just have to acknowledge it. It removes fear of choosing a Direction, and provides clarity of Vision. The ultimate Expectation should simply be to learn, grow and flourish as a person throughout your journey.
Take one minute… Think about where have you been. Take a deep breath… Now think about where you’re headed.