If you receive applause, you’re not there yet.
If you make more money, you’re not there yet.
If someone you admire notices your work, you’re not there yet.
If you receive more invitations, accolades, likes, comments, shares, snaps… you’re not there yet.
If you’re able to vacation to far-off islands and take selfies while your friends slog away at 9–5 jobs, you’re not there yet.
Because most of those things are illusions, not destinations. They’re temporary visions in a desert of other people’s expectations and approval.
The only way you’ll arrive is if you decide your own destination and why it matters.
Lately, a few specific moments have reminded me where my “there” is…
- Sharing dinner with a student who recently graduated our year-long program and hearing her speak with glowing confidence about the new job she just landed.
- Reading The Shapeless Shape to one of my best friend’s daughters and watching her see herself in the story.
- Making plans to share dinner with an old friend who needs a listening ear amidst a challenging time.
- Helping a class of students get to know one another on a more personal level as they prepare for months of learning and work.
Of course, I want those things to expand — to change how higher education works for thousands of students each year; to infuse the workplace with more curiosity and creativity; and to inspire children and adults on every continent with a simple story. When people’s lives change for the better because they’ve learned how to make an impact, make a living, and walk through life with confidence, I’m there.
The better you know where you need to go, the more likely you’ll get there. And if you don’t know, it’s ok. Just beware of everyone else’s destination becoming your own. That’s a dizzying place, and not good for anyone. Especially you.
PS: Your notes and comments to last week’s words were inspiring and heartwarming. Thank you.