My friend Doug (not his real name) has everything going for him, but until recently, if you had met him you’d have thought the weight of the world was on his shoulders. He has a great family, wonderful friends and a successful business but never seemed particularly happy.
Then a few months ago he changed, I mean HE REALLY CHANGED!
Literally overnight, he became a totally different person. He seemed enormously happier, more relaxed, more attentive and a lot more fun to be with. I wanted to know why, so I took him out to lunch yesterday and asked. His answer may seem a little basic, but it has already had a massive, positive impact on me.
Here is a truncated version of what he told me, which he was keen for me to share with you:
“I found an old workbook, which had my a first ever list of goals. Of course, they were the goals of a 25 year old guy and I have long since achieved them. I had never previously thought about it like that. You see Jim, after achieving a goal, I replace it with another one, so that I continue to grow as a person. So, the list just continued and never ended. There was no closure. I suddenly realized that I was in a game, which I could never really win, because everything that really mattered was being deferred until I reached the next goal, then the next, then the next…
No matter what I achieved, I always just saw it as a step to the next improvement or increase. This means I spent 20 years with a feeling of dissatisfaction with everything, always seeking to improve. I never once stopped to appreciate what I had at any point along the way. Now, I take time to smell the roses. I celebrate everything and am thankful for everything and everyone in my life.
It’s easy for any of us, as business owners or entrepreneurs, to focus too much on the future and not focus enough on getting the most out of the now. Yes, we all need goals and targets, but something special happens when we learn to fully enjoy what’s worth celebrating in our lives right now.