As many of you know, I’ve done a bit of traveling the last ten years…taking advantage of seminar opportunities resulting from the three books I wrote. Some of the trips have been a few hours and others (like India and Australia) have crossed numerous time zones and taken hours to arrive. 

A while ago, someone asked me if liked putting on these seminars, to which I replied “I liked being there, but not getting there.” It sounded quotable and is also very true. I liked what I did when I got there, but don’t particularly like the time spent on planes, waiting for flights in the airport and walking what seemed like miles, with luggage in tow, on my way to the departing gates. If I thought too much about getting there, I probably would not be there.

As I’ve been reflecting on this, it occurred to me that this is like life. I usually like to arrive at a destination…a goal achieved, a result accomplished, a project finished, a conflict resolved, a post completed, a manuscript completed. But I honestly don’t like the process, the disappointments and the difficulties on the way to the accomplishment. 

I’m learning that without the process, there is no product. Without the journey, there is no arriving. Without the difficulties, there is no end result. This is true in family, business, ministry, sports…in anything. The people who have “Arrival” stamped on their minds are those who are willing to persevere as they go through the process of getting there. Keeping a mental picture of arriving clearly and regularly before me gives me what I need to stick with it until I get there.

Another question I was once asked was about my running. I still run. Well, I’m not exactly sure you can still call it “running.” It’s somewhere between a slow jog and a fast walk. (Okay, cut me some slack…I hit the 80 year mark in a few days.) Back in the day though, I could move at a pretty good clip and was running further, faster and more often than I do now. 

When I shared with a person how often and how far I ran, he said, “Wow! You must really like running.” To which I replied, “Not really.”  The next question was predictable. “Why do you run then?”  I responded, “I like the results of running, but not the process of running.”

I like keeping my weight down, being in good cardiovascular condition and having good energy. But I don’t like the painful joints, the occasional bad weather, the motorists that don’t see me and the dogs that don’t like me.

Understanding the relationship between the product and the process really helps me in just about everything.

If I waited until I felt like doing something, there are lots of things I would probably never start. But I find that if I keep my eye on the end product…the result…the “being there,” I have the motivation to start things and to stick with things. 

Keeping my eyes on the goal is one of the main things that enable me to persevere in the present. If I spend too much time thinking about what it’s going to take to get me there–wherever and whatever “there” is–I lose motivation, am overwhelmed by the challenges and difficulties and might tend to throw in the towel and quit!

This is one of the reasons I set goals every year…so that I have something out there that is motivating…calling me forward. Between now and January 1st, I’ll be spending some time reflecting on 2019 and goal-setting for 2020. Most successful people set challenging, but doable, goals and continue on when others around them are giving up and quitting.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:13, 14 (ESV)

Meeting Jesus face-to-face and hearing “Well done good and faithful servant” is the biggest motivator and “being there” of all that will keep us going!

+ What’s been your experience in getting there and being there? What keeps you motivated when dealing with difficult challenges, difficult people and discouragement? Do you have some goals that beckon you forward and help you persevere as you soon start a new year?