Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the process.
These aren’t new concepts but they have become buzzwords especially recently. During a time where experiences are being rated more highly for happiness than material gains, this is only natural. But while it can be easy to tell someone about this, applying this idea is a whole other story.
From a leadership standpoint, this could mean the difference between a leader who is only focuses on results and a leader who focuses on culture.
So how can leaders do more of this and possibly inspire those under them to do the same?
Step one is always being aware of when you are NOT enjoying the process. This is a habit that you can slowly pick up and keep practicing until you can catch yourself thinking unproductive thoughts.
But you probably heard of that already. That is always the first step.
So what comes next?
That is to analyze the thoughts you are having when you are unhappy with the process. These thoughts have an impact on how you feel and how you feel has an impact on how you perform.
By going through this process, you may realize that this chain leads to undesired results. You may see where you could be doing better. You might realize how others may feel while interacting with you when you are displeased. One way or another, you start to see the tail ends of your blind spots.
So in order to rewrite this chain, you start with the first part of the sequence: your thoughts. Ask yourself this: what is another way of looking at this situation?
You can even ask this question more than once and with some variations to add more perspective to what you’re doing. What if you thought about this way? What would this person do?
Find a new thought that makes you feel differently about the situation. What you do in terms of the tasks you have to do will not change but how you go through them will. This has a bigger impact than you think on your goals.
Does this sound simple? It is. But that is only because saying this is much easier than doing so.
We all have the freedom to choose our thoughts. But most of us just let our thoughts run on autopilot without thinking about whether or not they’re serving us
Be intentional; don’t be a zombie.
Now, here are two alternate ways of thinking to help you get started.
Whether it’s simply by writing post-it notes or by using apps, using games as a way of immersing yourself in the process is not a foreign idea. There have been many TED Talks, blogs and thought leadership about gamification in recent years.
The idea is to take the all of the fun and addicting elements within games and apply them to real life challenges.
This has nothing to do with the gaming industry nor is it simply about getting badges and milestones
Instead, if you take core drivers that make games addictive and apply them to whichever activity or challenge you’re facing, you will hit new heights in productivity. One such core driver is having unpredictability (such as getting unknown rewards). Another is creating meaning to what you’re doing. Yet another is having ownership of what you create.
If this all sounds familiar, then you’re right. Many of the elements that make a game fun are very similar to how a leader motivates others.
If you want to learn more, I recommend reading Yukai Chou’s blog or how a good friend of mine used gamification to get a job at Google.
A Sense Of Connection
One of the biggest drivers of changing one’s perspective about the journey is whether or not you are going through it with others. If you’re stuck at a dead-end job, having a good friend there makes all the difference. If you hate the work that you do but love the people on your team, things don’t seem as bad.
Humans are by nature social creatures and the people you surround yourself with has a huge effect on you. Actually, in modern times, others’ expectations of us can even overpower our own sense of self.
While I discuss that in another post, this is about using the company of others to help you think about your experience differently.
What do others think about what you’re currently dealing with? If they think differently than you do, why is that? What thoughts of theirs might you want to use as your own?
Then turn the questions back to you: what kind of people do you like to be with? Why do they make experiences more enjoyable? How can you get more people like that within the process of what you’re currently doing?
Yes, there are a lot of questions you have to answer for yourself. But they’re well worth the time and effort.
Recently, I closed on my first real estate investment deals. These took a long time and given that I started learning about real estate even further before, these deals were a long way coming. I had built them up in my head as something that would be amazing.
However after the initial celebratory feelings were over, I realized that this didn’t exactly make me happy. Instead I realized that I enjoyed the process of putting together these deals, whether it was getting the right team together or getting the best quotes on the various services we required. It was the feeling that I was making my dreams happen that really motivated me.
The end isn’t something we should look forward to as much as we think. If you’re not happy doing what you are doing now, then any happiness you aim for will be fleeting.