by Lisa McGrimmon
This summer, an astronaut taught me some valuable lessons about pursuing your dream goals.
No, I didn't launch myself into space over the summer. I launched myself into a lot of reading. When my kids are off school for the summer, I generally don't get a lot of writing done. But I do get a lot of time to read while I'm waiting for them at swimming lessons, and soccer practice. The theme for this summer's reading was achieving big, dream goals.
In my summer reading, I discovered from a former school teacher that, much to my delight, everything I had learned about creative talent was wrong. I learned from a Swedish psychologist how to work smart to achieve big, dream goals. And I was pleasantly surprised to learn from a Canadian astronaut how to reduce the risk inherent in chasing audacious goals by valuing the journey more than the destination.
In all of your work to build a craft business - or achieve any other big goal in life - you need to make sure you're not working toward the goal so single-mindedly that you lose the joy in the journey. It's important to ensure that all of your work, preparation and skill development is something you find worthwhile. The journey has to be worthwhile to you, so if you don't hit the big goal, you will not feel you have failed, and you will be happy along the way.
In An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, astronaut Chris Hadfield gives us a glimpse into the thought processes of someone who seems to take joy in hard work. He shows us a way to go after a big, risky dream goal without risking it all. He is always working toward building his skills. He calls it "getting prepared, just in case." But he's careful to spend time getting prepared to do things that are meaningful to him, so if the big goal doesn't pan out, he'll still be happy.
Craft business owners could learn a lot from this astronaut.
Hadfield started with an audacious goal. The dream of being an astronaut is lofty enough, but the chance of success was doubly remote for him because he is Canadian, and, when he decided with all seriousness that he wanted to become an astronaut, Canadian citizens could not become astronauts. There was no roadmap to success for him, and there were no guarantees.
Building a craft business can feel like an audacious goal. Maybe it's not as demanding as going to the moon, or commanding the International Space Station, but it's still a big challenge. So, if the thing that drives you is a bold, ambitious goal, how do you pursue that without risking too much?
According to Chris Hadfield, you make sure that all of the steps you take along the way to that goal are worthwhile to you. That way, if you don't reach your ultimate goal, you will still be happy with the choices you made along the way. He writes, "My attitude was more, it's probably not going to happen, but I should do things that keep me moving in the right direction, just in case, and I should be sure those things are interesting, so that whatever happens, I'm happy."
If you want to take some of the risk out of chasing a big goal, you need to make sure the journey itself is rewarding and worthwhile to you. Success, according to Hadfield, "is feeling good about the work you do throughout the long, unheralded journey that may or may not wind up at the launchpad. You can't view training solely as a stepping stone to something loftier. It's got to be an end in itself."
Bill Watterson, not an astronaut, but the clever cartoonist behind Calvin and Hobbes agrees that your road to success - whatever success means to you - must include a journey that brings happiness. He says, "There is no such thing as an overnight success. You will do well to cultivate the resources in yourself that bring you happiness outside of success or failure."
As you work toward your goals and success in whatever form that takes for you, focus on the journey, not on arriving at a certain destination. Preparation will ensure that you are ready to grab opportunities that might come. And preparation that is meaningful in itself ensure that if those goals don't happen, you will still have happiness for having traveled the road.