The Perceived Detour

Sometimes, life throws us an obstacle. In the moment, most people’s reaction (mine included) is to get irritated at the obstacle and at the detours needed to overcome it.

To paraphrase the late Steve Jobs, all the “detours” (my word choice, not his) make sense in hindsight, even if they don’t in the moment.

Through the arc of my career to date, I’ve come to appreciate the truth and wisdom in this sentiment.

When I first started executive coaching entrepreneurial CEOs, I noticed that many of them had goals of becoming millionaires or earning a million or more dollars a year.

At this point, nearly all of the CEOs I work with have achieved these goals, either through our work together or increasingly even before we meet.

I used to think that the value of becoming a millionaire was the money, financial freedom, or independence.

Now I realize that the value of achieving any goal of personal importance isn’t in the outcome itself, but in the person you’ve had to become in order to achieve it.

With no exceptions, every one of my clients has had to overcome fears, insecurities, and competency gaps on their path to achieving their goal.

Also with no exceptions, even though it took some clients ten years to reach their goal, you could take away all of their financial gains and they could repeat the feat in two to three years.

The asset they developed wasn’t the money they earned. The asset was who they were forced to become along the way.

It was overcoming self-limiting beliefs, weaknesses in certain functional areas, or their own egos that has since become the durable asset.

Setting a goal that half excites you and half intimidates you is a good thing. Regardless of whether you achieve it, the process of struggling toward it is valuable — even though it most certainly doesn’t feel that way in the moment!

Don’t fear what you perceive as a detour to get around an obstacle. It is in the process of struggling through it that you grow as a person and as a professional.

What goal have you been contemplating that both excites and intimidates you?

It’s worth thinking about.

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