Milestones to Mastery
You can imagine how scary it would be (especially if you’re female), to, one minute, be innocently sipping tea at a friend’s home, and the next, be rushed to the hospital for an emergency c-section. Two months early.
I always did know how to make an entrance.
I often joke with my parents that the reason I am who I am is that I was “under-cooked”. I’ve spent my life trying to catch up. Forty-six years playing catch-up, as of today. A milestone.
So often we look at the milestones in our lives with disdain, thinking we should have achieved some measurement of success that we had placed in our minds years ago. By 20 I want to be… By 30 I will be… When I’m 40 surely I will have… And as I look back on those markers in my path, life had continually thrown me curve balls that I hadn’t expected. My life has rarely reflected what I had envisioned for myself.
I’ve seen people do a real number on themselves, comparing and contrasting where they are with where they think they ought to be – with the illusion of their friends’ better lives. I have to wonder if the measuring and comparing is really robbing us of the journey we’re meant to appreciate.
What I didn’t know, all those years I missed the mark, was that life had better plans for me. Had I hit the milestones I had set out for myself long ago, my life would look very different than it does today. I would have skipped all the sucky-times and the disappointments, that have built my character, made me stronger, and instilled my values. I would have married the wrong guy. Ended up in the wrong career. And likely be a very different person. In the game of life, I might be demoted for not hitting my goals, but ultimately I feel I’m winning.
In the project management world, a milestone is an event that receives special attention. It marks the end of a phase toward completion. It’s a time to assess if corrective action needs to be made, if deliverables will be completed on time, and to look at whatever critical information that has been uncovered that could effect the future of the project. And it’s on those milestones where heads are gonna roll if things aren’t where they’re supposed to be.
While it may be the practical move, to treat our lives like a project we’re managing, I’m not sure it’s the best one. Because we’re missing a key piece of data that would make that work.
Our completion date.
We just don’t know.
So, I’m all over reflecting on where I am and if it’s in alignment of where I want to be. On taking corrective action to ensure I’m not straying too far of track. On doing everything I can to bring my best self to this game for however long I have. But I don’t want to miss out on savoring my now by grumbling about where I’m not. For I’m not aiming for a completion date – I’m aiming for mastery. Completion will take care of itself.
Consider…maybe you’re where you’re supposed to be. Maybe we all are. What now?
(But what do I know? I’m still catching up.)
©OnStage Leadership, 2013
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