Celebrate Your Pillars of Progress. Leadership Lessons from The Camino de Santiago.

This week’s blog is part of an ongoing series titled: Leadership Lessons from the Camino de Santiago.

Check out the last two blogs in this series:

Leadership Lessons from the Camino de Santiago.

A Small Act of Kindness Can Bring Massive Joy to Others.

I have been in touch with several close friends over the past weeks who have expressed to me some of the challenges and struggles they are going through. These close friends all seem to be going through the same issues.  They are going through massive amounts of anxiety, regret, fear, and a pile of other negatively empowering emotions.  A lot of these friends are at a point in their life where they have accomplished many great things personally, professionally, and in many other domains of their life.  I see these accomplishments. The world sees these accomplishments.

However, they do not.  They are not focusing on them.  They are focusing on and stating things like this to me:

  • I have not accomplished enough in life.
  • I wish I would have made this decision, not that decision.
  • I am beating myself up a lot today because of ____________.
  • I wish I was further along in business. Look at where this person is.  I wish I could be there like they are.
  • For all the hard work I have done, I am just not enjoying life.

Have you ever been here, felt this way, or said things like this?

One of the biggest leadership lessons I learned on the Camino de Santiago with my son, Riley, is this:

Do not compare your journey to anybody else’s. Celebrate the progress you have made in your journey.

Our journey on the Camino consisted of roughly 200,000 steps over 6 days.  As we hiked along, there were always some people ahead of us, and some behind us.  Some people stopped more often than others to rest, and readjust their gear, and everybody went at their own pace and took their journey.  Everybody reached their destination but did so in their way.

One of the most memorable parts of the Camino is the small concrete pillars set in the ground that you encounter as you hike.  We would pass anywhere from 3-to 4 of these each kilometer that we hiked.  The concrete pillar would mark exactly where you were on the Camino in terms of the remaining kilometers.  Each time we passed one, and the number got smaller, it was a small celebration of how much more we have accomplished.

On one hand, it became easy to forget about these pillars and not notice them as we settled into our journey, on the other hand, it also became easy to begin to compare how far along we were (or were not) compared to others.

Have you forgotten about your pillars and the things you have accomplished? Do you have a hard time celebrating your wins and progress made?  Do you fall into the comparison trap?

Social media and the world around us are filled with messages that tell us we are not good enough, wealthy enough, fit enough, sexy enough, enough of a husband or wife, mother or father, entrepreneur, leader, etc.  Everywhere we go, from our drive around town to our mobile devices, we are just a glance or a click away from a message that can draw our focus onto the “would have”, “should have”, “could have”, “wish I had”, “need to get”, “not enough”, types of mindsets. They draw our attention away from our pillars of progress, and the accomplishments we have made.

I recall one day on the Camino; Riley and I stopped and took a picture of one of the Camino pillars when we roughly had 10 KM left to hike.  We stood there for a minute, and gave each other a high five and a big hug, remembering and celebrating that we had hiked over 100KM over the past 5 days and only had a little more to go.  This was a tremendous moment of joy for both of us!  We were both proud, excited, energized, and inspired to keep our journey going.

My challenge and encouragement to you today is to celebrate your pillars of progress. A couple of tips on how to do this and things to consider are:

  • Schedule a consistent reoccurring time in your calendar to reflect on how much progress you have made.
  • Journal and keep a log of these moments of celebration. Write down and document how far you have come, so you may come back in the future to visit these milestones.
  • Sometimes you may not have made as much progress as you planned and that is okay.
  • Have a friend, spouse, or person close to you in your life know your goals and celebrate the wins with you as you accomplish them.

Just remember, the more you focus on comparing your journey to the journey of others, the less wonderful your journey becomes.  Keep moving forward, keep up all the great work, believe in yourself, and remember why you are taking the journey you are in the first place.

Remember 3 things:

I love you.

I believe in you.

You’ve got this.

Now, go get it!