Last Sunday, I was watching one of the political shows and was struck by something I heard. Or should I say didn’t hear? Understandably, the bulk of the time was dedicated to discussions about the events in Charlottesville. Pundits from both sides of the aisle were asked “where do we go from here” referencing both the state of the presidency and race relations. Now, these are folks that are paid and passionate about advancing their opinions. Amazingly, their responses ranged from sighs to gasps of desperation and ultimately, silence. When pressed for an answer, most simply said “I don’t know”. In other words, they threw up their hands admitting that didn’t have suggestions for how we move forward.
But we (you and I as well as society as a collective we) always need to be moving forward – even if it’s in small steps. I’m putting this out there because I believe this idea holds whether we’re talking big global goals like the evolution of democracy or our own personal goals such as training for an event (yes, my ongoing theme these days!) While this may seem obvious, let’s consider the options when we’re going for the gold. Several have short-term merit but ultimately progress is the answer:
- Give up: There are too many great quotes about never giving up for me to recite them all. If a goal or achievement matters, this isn’t an option. But for simple stuff i.e. getting a better parking space or paying, why stress? It’s a matter of priorities.
- Go backward: Surprise! This might be the sleeper in the bunch. Sometimes we do need to go backward to move forward. For example, when we’re learning a new skill, repetition and even occasional rest is required to ensure that we’ve adapted the skill set before moving to the next level. And stepping back to prior levels can ensure we’ve captured what we need to capture.
- Stand Still (and evaluate): Sometimes we need to look and understand where we are and where we’ve been to take our next step. While this is valuable, one danger to be aware of is paralysis by analysis. Or as it’s often called in work settings: naval gazing. It happens to the best of us!
- Move forward! Forward motion is where we want to be headed. But a few things to remember along the way. First, slow progress – which is often the way goals happen - is still progress. And appreciate your journey as well as your destination.
We’ll get there…