In entrepreneurship — and life — we talk a lot about the destination. That’s where the glory is: in the recognition, the appreciation, the credibility, the applause, the respect — we get it. All of us have been indoctrinated to appreciate the endgame.
But what if we considered being on the road its own victory? What if we could honor and be inspired by the fact that we have found (or are in the proximity of) our path, that we have recognized our purposes, and that we are making the road by walking every single day?
This is our “growing edge”: that place where the magnitude of our aspirations meets the depth of willingness and engages the breadth of our capacity. This is the place where we cultivate a different kind of respect for ourselves, for our path, and for our purpose as we come face-to-face with what it really takes to achieve our vision. This is what it means to build and climb.
My Build and Climb Story
The year 2010 was pivotal for me. It was the year that my husband and I began to dig out from the great recession. It was the year I lost my big brother, and the year my father stood at death’s door.
This was also the year that I began piloting the concept of my company Move The Crowd, my one bright light in a sea of darkness. My husband and I had moved into his parents’ home to save money, and I was set up in the basement on a card table — literally with a laptop and a dream.
I had gone to Brazil just before the recession hit to spend time in a spiritual community. I was leaving a nonprofit I founded and stepping away from my 20-plus-year stint as an underpaid activist. I stayed in a lovely posada where every night all of the guests eat together at a large dinner table. On this night, I arrived at dinner very late and rushed in to grab my plate.
As I plopped down, I met the eyes of the most beautiful soul. He was dark tan with bright white hair and the most piercing blue-green eyes I’d ever seen. He was an Aussie, and I just happen to have a thing for my brothers from Down Under! His gaze was unwavering. “So who are you?” he asked me. Between bites, I rambled on about what brought me to Brazil and how I was hoping to restore myself. He could hear my fatigue, my exhaustion, and my resignation. But when I began to talk about Move The Crowd, he saw something different. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “This time, work from your heart because your capacity to love is infinite — source your energy from there and you will have plenty of food for your journey.”
Tears fell from my eyes as I felt a deep sense of peace wash over me. You see, in my activist days, I was working out of obligation, I was working out of proving, I was working out of urgency and reaction, and all of it was exhausting. I could not be present and enjoy the journey; there was just too much to do and way too much at stake.
Fast forward two years: I am sitting at my card table in the basement, when his words come back to me, “This time, work from your heart,” and in that moment it becomes clear. If I am going to deliver on this vision with my soul intact, then my relationship to this work has to be different.
This was my initiation into loving the journey — which required finding my growing edge, that place where we are most ripe and ready to grow.
What enables me to appreciate real achievement is an authentic understanding of what it took someone to get there, as well as the ways that I am able to find myself in the triumphs and tragedies of others. When I am in the presence of people like this, I am filled with gratitude because they help me see my progress and appreciate my own journey that much more.
So, how can you find your growing edge and learn to appreciate the journey? Start with these seven tips to both build and climb as you go:
1. Make Peace With Your Ambition
Get honest with yourself about your vision. Get honest about the fact that you have a timetable. And get honest about your expectations of yourself, of others, and of what you think it really takes. Write it down and look at it every day. Keep it in front of you.
2. Examine Your Timeline
What’s your hurry? Is it rooted in the severity of your cause? The ripeness of the opportunity? Or your nagging aunt? Are you putting the pressure on it, or is there some other external force fueling you? What is a reasonable timetable?
3. Take Stock of Your Capacity
What are you willing to do to make this vision a reality? How much time, money, energy, effort, and resources will you invest? How willing are you to work through the inevitable obstacles, blocks, delays, challenges, old habits, and limiting beliefs?
4. Access the Gaps
When you consider your vision in relationship to your current state, where do you need to grow? What mindset, knowledge, skill set, and community gaps exist? Get as specific as you can about where you need support.
5. Get SMART
Ground yourself in the top three things you can be doing right now that will have the most return. Articulate those goals in a way that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and rooted in Time: SMART.
6. Pay Attention to What’s Ripe
Pay close attention to the goals you’ve outlined. How do you feel when you state them? Do they excite you? Terrify you? Bore you? Goals that are properly located on the growing edge give you the feeling of excitement and challenge. You know they’ll take work to achieve, but you feel confident and excited about your ability to get started.
7. Build and Climb
Go into your calendar and evaluate where the demands are on your time. Determine which activities are aligned with your priorities and which are not. Reorganize your time accordingly. Design your day to day in a way that gives you dedicated blocks of time to work on your goals. As you begin to execute, notice if you are able to honor your allotted time. Are you diligently working through tasks? Are you making progress? Take the time to evaluate your goals. Devote daily time to what you want to achieve.
Rha Goddess is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.