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The Journey OR The Outcome?

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We all have goals and ambitions but do we know what it really takes to get there?

I often have conversations with people regarding goal setting and the outcomes we create with hard work, but I often get told “Is this really necessary for me to become X or Y?” The reality is that more and more people believe that everything they do should be directly related or correlated to the final outcome they seek, but the question I ask you is: “Isn’t the outcome dependent on the experience of the journey?”


Let’s take the simple example of school to kick us off as we spend the first 22 years of our lives in school learning, but what do we really learn? Do we learn to be doctors, lawyers or engineers in those first 22 years, or simply earn the right to attempt to go to the right technical school? The concept is quite simple, the journey of school simply prepares you to have the basic common sense and skills to be able to start and complete the final specialty school you attend. This concept is no different once you are done with school. In the real world, you want to own your own business, be a Pasteur, race cars or start a band but is working at a similar business than the one you want to own earning close to nothing really getting you closer to your goals?

I want to share a story with you and let you decide for yourself what the right course of action is for you, and get you to start thinking differently.

I knew a young man named John who dreamed of exotic cars, beautiful homes and women but lived his life in confusion as he worked at Starbucks earning close to minimum wage. I saw potential in John and offered him employment at my firm, which he accepted and was eager to undertake. I spent a few weeks training him and continuously reminding him of the hard work, which was necessary for him to succeed. I hired him making $4 more an hour than he made and promised him a great future making close to $50,000 annually after just two years, should he learn quick. John was excited and brought enthusiasm to work daily; he spent most of his days discussing his dreams and how he would spend the increase in his salary. He had dropped out of school and therefore had nothing other than this opportunity lined up, which was ideal as it offered great pay, prestige and the ability to learn from me. The only downfall to the job was the fact that he wanted to start his final outcome was to start his own music band. After weeks of training, the young man despite being intelligent was making very little progress and it seemed strange as I felt he was under performing to his potential. I sat down with him and asked him what the matter was, and he started nagging that the job made him look robotic and he would feel better operating his own way? Feeling a bit confused, I asked him to elaborate and he once again spoke of wanting to do things his way. I informed him of his need for compliance first, prior to personalizing his approach, but he felt he had earned the right to re-write the rules despite being there two weeks. I was forced to let John go shortly after as John refused to comply to a simple request and his inability to follow clear and easy instructions led me to believe that perhaps I had made a judgment mistake. John dreamed big but was not willing to work for his goals, he simply expected to get rich quick and the mention of making $50,000 was all he had heard. John did not enjoy his work with me, and so moved on to work in several places the following two years…He worked at a dealership and earned 1/3 of what I paid him bi weekly, and then went back to working at Starbucks earning what he earned two years ago prior to starting with me. The best part thought is that I spoke with John recently who told me that he was now working for a Music store about an hour away which gave him discounts on his equipment for his band, which according to him has done well…despite earning no money. He also informed me that he wanted to expand and needed capital as none of his team members earned a decent income, not even himself. Their band could really do well with very minimal amounts of capital to basically have the ability to go on tour…

That’s the story, but I want to take you back and show you an alternate ending to the story. Remember earlier when I said I promised John $50,000 annually if he pushed himself a bit harder? Well, lets assume he had and he did what he needed to do instead of what he wanted to do, he would be making $50,000 a year now, as its been two years since I let him go…which means he would have had enough to go on tour with his band and continue to earn his income while doing so, BUT instead John now makes $8 per HR which is the lowest salary yet and commutes one hour daily, and therefore almost earns only $2 per HR if we account how much he spends commuting but at least he gets to sell music equipment.

If John would have spent time thinking his journey through instead of worrying about his dreams, he would have had his band and enough to propel it to the top, instead he now has neither…no money nor ability to push his band further without being dependent on another party.

Sometimes you must do what you need in order to achieve what you want. Do not focus so much on what you want to do while attempting to create the outcome you want, but rather what you need to get there.

Do you think John made the right moves? Feel free to comment!