“Success is a journey, not a destination.” Ok – cheesy quote, I know. I don’t even know who came up with it. It’s nice. A kind of “feel good” proclaimation to cheer us up. But right now I feel like I am wading through some serious swampland. The journey part sucks for me right now. I am a little burned out. My body is fighting off an ear infection (which really sucks when your primary occupation is a musician). That’s the breaks. That’s life. It’s all part of the Journey.
One of my band members, Lindsay, wrote a song called “Journey”. If I had a recording of it, I’d post it. I don’t even know all the words (I drum, I don’t sing). But the opening line goes something like “I’m on a journey/my suitcase is packed. Troubles behind me and purpose ahead…” So I started thinking about what defines a “journey” versus – say – a “road trip”.
A road trip is like a small side project. You get excited about an idea and you sort of run off with it until it the hoo-rah fizzles. You lose interest, run out money or whatever, turn the car around and head back home. There is a beginning and an end. And you probably didn’t accomplish anything worthwhile in the meantime. That’s a road trip.
A journey has a purpose. The clearer the purpose, the better. If your purpose is clouded, it’s like creeping through a jungle with a butter knife instead of a machete. You aren’t prepared and your tools are worthless in your current environment. You’re probably not even sure how you ended up in the jungle in the first place and you sure as heck don’t have a map. And even if you did have a map, do you know where you are? “You’re in the Jungle, baby.” (sorry – I am a Guns-n-Roses fan. )
When your journey has a purpose – a crystal clear reason for existing – then you can show up with the right equipment at the right time. You will know what landmarks to look for because you have a vision and a plan. The path may wind around and don’t be surprised if you go around in circles a time or two. Going around in circles isn’t a bad thing, either. You develop familiarity with the landscape and you learn where the pitfalls are. You may even want to stop and have a picnic while you figure out where you missed your turn. While you are eating, take a look around you to see where you are. Does the current setting match the backdrop in your mind?
So as I ponder my current situation, ear infection and all, I realize this ain’t no road trip. It’s 100% journey. My suitcase is packed and I am on my way. I have some decisions to make at the next crossroads, but I have a map and a vision and I am confident I can find the way. The swamp was all part of the plan – it’s right here on the map – see? “Cross swampland” I just forgot to look at the map. And since I prepared for this journey in advance, I will just pull out my swamp boots and my machete and move on. I know where I am. And more importantly, I know where I am headed.
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