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The Epic Journey: How to Make Progress

One of my favorite parts of coaching is watching the progress that takes place. Sometimes it’s so minute, an average observer might miss it. Other times, it’s so unbelievably big, both the client and I have to step back and simply bask in its glory.

Progress can sometimes be hard to define. It’s the step between here and there. It’s the motion of doing and achieving and yet, at the same time, still striving for more. Progress is what happens when you feel the pull of your dreams, and instead of just sitting there, wishing and waiting, you dive in. Progress is that one-foot-in-front-of-the-other rhythmic plodding of hard work.

And yet…many don’t appreciate the beauty of it. Making progress means you’re still not done. You have more work to do. That’s the mindset some people get stuck in.

I encourage you to see progress for what it is—dramatically different from completion—and love it for that same reason. Progress is the epic journey from where you are to where you want to be. It can be long and irritating and frightfully uncomfortable. But that’s the nature of transformation.

Here’s how to make progress happen:

Explore with a Curious Mind

There are different kinds of journeys in life. For some, you’ll have a clear destination in mind. For others, you’ll wander until the right road appears. In all cases, exploration is a critical part of making progress. Even if you know precisely where you want to end up, the process of veering off-track with intention and curiosity can actually help you chart your course more effectively. It can reassure you that your path is right or it may help you identify new trails to blaze.

Just be sure to drop breadcrumbs as you go so you can always find your way back when needed.

Take Slow, Deliberate Action

Action is indeed a critical part of progress on any journey, but not just any action.   Progress is thoughtful and measured. It’s not some wild game of “Guess What’s Next?” Each step is taken with purpose and its impact carefully dissected before taking another.

This isn’t to suggest risk can’t be taken or your pace must be painfully sluggish. Make movement with intention and let speed not concern you.

Establish Your Rhythm

Progress is methodical. It’s a steady march forward. While speed should not concern you, cadence is another matter. Build momentum in the beat of your footsteps. Keep it constant and firm. Let the sound of progress resonate in your soul and in the world.

Bring a Companion

Any journey is more enjoyable with a partner—someone to celebrate the victories and share in the frustrations. But when it comes to making progress, a companion offers much more than company along the way.

This person is not a leader or a follower; he is an ally, a teammate, a support mechanism to help keep your stamina up when the road ahead is cold and unwelcoming. In your darkest hours, he will remind you of how far you’ve come and help maintain your rhythm when every bone in your body is begging to give up. Your companion will hold you true to your highest, most magnificent self and won’t let you be less.

Respect Yourself

Above all else, making progress is not like winning a race. Yes, it requires endurance and, at times, extreme exertion. But the journey is the reward, not the finish line. Progress happens in the day-to-day. Recognize your evolution. Give yourself the respect you deserve for making it happen. Don’t brush it aside like a pesky disturbance between you and your goal. Savor it. Remember that this progress was made by you. It’s the result of your sweat. And progress itself is the epic journey.

Photo Credit: ccaviness (Flickr)

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9 Responses to “The Epic Journey: How to Make Progress”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jason Monastra, JobKatch. JobKatch said: Eat Your Career: The Epic Journey: How to Make Progress: One of my favorite parts of coaching is watching the pr… http://bit.ly/evQeGz [...]

  2. Ellen says:

    Really, really great post. Thanks. This whole, incredible journey of life needs this sort of inspiration. It doesn’t just apply to careers.

  3. Roshni P Kumar says:

    Great article Chrissy! Summarized very well that making progress is like a journey.

  4. [...] overnight. It’s a process that can take up to several years. So don’t get in a rush. Enjoy the slow journey toward your goal. Remember that what you’re doing today still has value, even if it’s not ideal. Give yourself [...]

  5. [...] to realize how far we’ve come. We’re always looking ahead, setting new goals and continuing the path of progress. In some ways, it becomes an obsession. We build up momentum and the idea of slowing down starts to [...]

  6. [...] we all experience these feelings at work. We hunger for something more. It’s what keeps us moving forward, growing and striving for the next [...]

  7. [...] Lesson: Keep a realistic perspective. Don’t convince yourself this is the one key element that will make everything else fall perfectly into place. Life is more complicated than that. Don’t create an impossible vision of the future. Remember, it’s not about the destination; it’s the journey. Focus on the process of reaching your goal and the joy that comes with progress. [...]

  8. [...] As a career coach, one of my main roles is to help my clients develop the professional skills and abilities required to achieve their goals. It’s a process that takes time and planning, but I love helping people figure out what needs to be done, how to get started and how to stay on track. [...]

  9. […] a process that can take up to several years. So don’t get in a rush. Enjoy the slow journey toward your goal. Remember what you’re doing today still has value, even if it’s not ideal. Give yourself the […]

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