Saturday, May 21, 2011

Targets and other Misconceptions

I've chased a lot of stuff in my life. Some of it was stuff I'm glad I chased (education), some of it I figured out I didn't actually want (the navy), a lot of it was of the female persuasion. But a lot of my life has been shaped by a need to identify and chase goals. I want that job, I want that relationship, I want to be good at this or that. What's interesting about this process is that I rarely take the time to check and see if these pursuits are actually worth pursuing in the first place. It's usually about as simple as "that looks cool, let's try that" and suddenly develops a somewhat obsessive pursuit to make it happen.

Over the course of the last 10 years or so, I realized that the target was slowly becoming the chase itself. I was becoming less and less interested in the outcome, less and less concerned with enjoying the accomplishment, and more and more fixated on being successful in tracking something down, in proving that I could achieve the objective. I honestly think that's a large part of the reason that I've been pretty nomadic over the course of my post college years. It's not that I was running from anything, more that I wanted more stuff to run after.

That's really been changing over the last few years. I've felt really challenged to press into sustained investment. I used to think that the phrase "grow where you're planted" was a sort of challenge to prove that you could bloom anywhere. But growth is a process of seasons and years, not of a single flowering moment. I've looked at that phrase as a challenge, lately I feel like it's been an encouragement to continue to invest in the places I am, not where I might be.

My accomplishment focused brain doesn't take to this particularly well. Long term investment, like anything that you do for a period of time, goes through highs and lows, exciting and dull points. I don't handle the stagnancy well. But there's growing to be done there too. Valuable growth that I take for granted. The kind that brings out patience, faith, trust. Stuff I definitely need more of and need to appreciate developing. Basically I need to be ok with seasons where the target isn't immediately obvious and to realize that sometimes that's the point.

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