In the context of a big project, there is often a tension between pushing forward to the goal and appreciating where you are.
Showing up every day with no end in sight and little evidence of progress can feel demotivating.
Those of us who identify as high-achievers especially tend to get caught in the “duality reality” that the project is done or it’s not done. This shows up in the belief that we need to keep pushing until we get there, that we can’t celebrate until the work is done, that anything less than completion is failure to reach the goal.
This belief leads to demoralization and burnout, especially when we are working on long-horizon tasks that don’t have easily-measured benchmarks and clear completion metrics. Another common issue is that our anticipated timelines may be wrong.
Many of my clients express hesitation about celebrating “prematurely,” before a project is completed. I know this feeling well.
There’s a fear that if we see perfection within what is happening now we will become complacent, and abandon our vision, mission, or purpose.
After all, if now is perfect why work to change anything?
At the same time, the mindset that perfection lies just beyond the horizon can cause us to feel like a failure if we fall short of our goal.
leads us to run a never ending race in which our happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment are always waiting for us after “the next thing.”
It’s important to remember that the duality reality is an illusion. Rather, we are on a continuum.
Our vision may not be reachable. But doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue it and work diligently toward it.
What it means is that we must resist the urge to look at what is happening only in terms of our plans and metrics.
There are moments of glory and transcendence in any endeavor that have value in themselves, independent of how they fit into the larger plan.
When we see and appreciate the beauty that shines out as we go, and celebrate where we are and what we have accomplished, we build momentum that fuels our motivation to continue.