You and your projects are in a continual process of moving from where you've been to where you're going. Between the novelty of the start and the triumph of the end is the constant grind of becoming who you are meant to be. How you find a way to do the personal work in the moments in between is how you make a great business and a great life. The middle is all we all have in the end. And at the start.
When my children were young, we made several road trips from Calgary to Vancouver. We began every journey the same way: we looked forward to the break for months, we planned and packed and bolted out of the city early on a Saturday morning in a flurry of enthusiasm with a car full of Starbucks for the road. Our high spirits continued well into the mountains of Banff National Park. We were on another great adventure as a family.
Every great adventure is a long transition from one place to another.
One of the reasons a holiday feels so good is that it's a change from the routine. Routines get stale. The structures that hold life and business together inevitably wear out and become obsolete. Relationships fade. Every new venture is an opportunity for a fresh perspective, a new vision and a different way of life. Every once in a while it's out with the old and in with the new.
Sustaining a change process is super hard.
A road trip is a good metaphor for any journey in life and business. The first phase of transit is the fresh start, with all the excitement of a new beginning and dream for a bright future. But like most things in life, the excitement wears off and we are faced with the work, the drudgery of the process itself and endless set-backs and obstacles.
The middle part of any journey is where the going get's tough.
About three hours into any trip to Vancouver the kids start getting restless and crabby. The single lane highway through the spine of British Columbia is always paved with endless line-ups of slow moving Winnebagos and transport trucks struggling to climb the endless winding mountain roads with few passing lanes in sight. The doldrums seems to last for ever. Until we hit Kamloops, the first Starbucks in six hours and the start of the massive six lane super highway to the coast.
Perseverance and grit always yield rewards at the end of every odyssey.
By the time we hit Hope, just a short drive from the coast, we can already smell the sea air. And with a renewed sense of vigor we end the Journey West on the beach. Every venture is a repeating cycle of start and finish with long bouts of becoming in between. And in the middle, just near the end, when we doubt the will to go on, there is hope, and then, ultimately, grace.
The only way out is through.