and then start again
There is a part of the game that is hardly talked about. And that is the after game. We know all about striving and pushing towards the goal. That’s the basic fodder of self-help content. We are very concerned with what it takes to win, to become successful. We don’t talk too much about the aftermath.
What do you do after you get what you want?
In our minds, we only really see the long difficult journey, imagining that ‘bam!’suddenly, one day, we arrive at the destination, our own version of happily ever after. We imagine we will undertake this journey, do the work, push the hustle until we get what we want – the job, the business, the spouse, the family, and then we will be suspended in contented bliss, never to stress anymore.
But we know that’s not the case. That is not how life works. There is always the day after. The day after the fairytale wedding, after the graduation, after the raise, after the investment exit.
The day after, after the high of struggle and work, the roar of the crowd has died down, and the court is empty. The lights switch off and the darkness sets in. Now you are listless. You don’t know what to do with yourself. Your whole life was structured around the pursuit of this one thing for so long, you feel lost at sea now that you have gotten it.
Our lives are finite, with a beginning and an end. But between the hour of our birth and the hour of death, like our planet, our lives resemble a spiral. We continually move through the same seasons, with similar rhythms, but each cycle is unique. We have the ups and downs, the moments of activity, the moments of rest, the inspired days and the dim ones, as we move forward in time.
Same as success. In many ways, getting what you want is death, it is the end of an era. But it is also the beginning of a new journey. It is the end of a cycle, but it is also the start of a new one.
In the midst of the pursuit, we forget that.
We think that the end is THE END. And that space, just after the win, is a very vulnerable place.
Especially when the battle is hard won, and you are scarred and wounded. With no real plan or rest routine in place, we can forget that there is yet another peak on the horizon. We think we have arrived. In this moment of success, it is too easy to plant the seeds of failure.
You set a goal, you ran the race, and you made it. It was tough, but you won. What do you do now? You have to rest. The way we wind down is just as important as how we take off. We have to land properly so we can get a running start into the next phase of our journey.
Take a step back to celebrate your win. Relax, take a load off, soak it in. For a moment, for a weekend, for however long makes sense. Get off the treadmill. Rest is the crucial counter balance to productivity. Allow yourself to be replenished.
And then you must review and reflect.
The true value in getting what you want is not the ‘thing’ that you get. It is who you become in the process of going after what you want. Now that you have your prize in your hand, you must turn your eyes inward. Gaze upon the mirror and see the person you have become. Are you happy? Did you do your best? Who are you now? How have you changed? Do you even want this thing anymore? It is possible to seek a thing, gain it, and then not want it anymore. The process of seeking changes us, shifts our perspective, adjusts our priorities. Sometimes the change is dramatic.
Search your thoughts.
Do you still like yourself? Are you happy with this thing you have worked so long for? Would you like to move forward? Where would you go next?
If you subscribe to the idea of letting your moves stack on each other, the thing you have gotten is also a stepping stone on the road to a further ultimate goal. Your latest acquisition is also your seed.
You are back at the beginning, but you are stronger, wiser, more experienced, with some wins under your belt. It is time to look at what can be improved, what can be strengthened, where can you stretch and occupy more of your potential?
Then it is time to begin again. There is more to be done, you still have much in you to give. You must jump into the fray again.
Return to the starting blocks with humility and assume the beginners mind. Remember that mastery is built on a firm foundation of the basics. Now decide what you want and set the goal before you. This time, challenge yourself.
Go harder. Go Higher. Do more. Do it better.