Episode 5: The Journey or the Destination?
A lot of people don’t realize that the most important part of the destination is the journey you take to get there. All our lives, we’re thinking about the next “thing,” the next destination. We easily lose sight of the journey with all of life’s distractions, but we live the journey day-to-day, and we need to enjoy those moments as they come.
In this episode of “Inspiring Women,” I speak with Elise Mitchell, the author of Leading Through the Turn, a fresh take on leadership that offers simple yet impactful takeaways. It’s an “all in the trenches” handbook from a leader who has found far more success in her journey than her destination.
Elise Mitchell, Author of Leading Through the Turn
Elise’s experience encompasses both entrepreneurial and corporate life. She is the founder of three companies — two in leadership development, one in public relations. Most notably, she is founder and chairman of Mitchell Communications Group, one of the top 10 fastest-growing public relations firms globally and a two-time Inc. 500/5000 fastest growing company.
The firm has twice been named Agency of the Year by PR Week and The Holmes Report. Clients include Walmart, Procter & Gamble, Marriott, Mondelez and other well-known brands.
Under her leadership, the agency grew more than 500% in five years. At the end of 2012, Elise sold her firm to Dentsu, Inc., the world’s largest ad agency, based in Tokyo, Japan. She led the successful integration of her firm over a five-year period in a newly established global parent company, Dentsu Aegis Network.
Elise serves as CEO of the Dentsu Aegis Public Relations Network, leading M&A efforts and collaborating with colleagues in nine countries to leverage growth opportunities and position the collective internationally.
Today she also advises clients through her own leadership and business consultancy.
“Inspiring Women” Podcast Series
“Inspiring Women” is THE podcast that advances women toward economic, social and political achievement. The show is hosted by Betty Collins, CPA, and presented by Brady Ware and Company. Brady Ware is committed to empowering women to go their distance in the workplace and at home. Past episodes of “Inspiring Women” can be found here.
Betty: [00:00:00] The journey or the destination. What’s your choice?
Betty: [00:00:05] Some people really, most people actually, look at here’s my destination. Here’s my goal. Here’s where I want to be. Very few people realize that the most important part of the destination is the journey you take to get there. So I want to talk about that today.
Betty: [00:00:21] You know all our lives we’re thinking about the next thing. We’re thinking about the next destination. Whether it’s “Hey, I can’t wait to drive.” “If only I can graduate.” “I’ve got to go to college.” “I want to get my MBA.” “I probably want to get married or have a significant relationship and yeah kids let’s get the kid thing going.” And then before you know you’re raising them and you’re ready for grandkids. And by all our lives we’re talking about retirement. Well is it the destination or is it the journey? Which one’s more important.
Betty: [00:00:55] Most of us would say “Oh the journey you know yeah the journey.” But in reality, our actions say the destination.
Betty: [00:01:03] Examples of easily where we lose sight about it. Biggest one probably feel relate to most losing weight. Again, but losing weight. Right. But if health becomes a lifestyle. And your diets are now over it’s probably because you realized there’s a journey and it’s every day when it comes to weight and health and making good decisions. You know I look at weight. I’m all over the place. I love to eat. I like fine dining. I like all that. But when I go with one meal at a time instead of I can only have 1200 calories today I do better.
Betty: [00:01:40] I enjoy the cooking piece a lot more when I’m just enjoying the journey. If it’s about dinner, that’s the destination right? But the journey of learning to cook and spices and fresh, all those things can be fun. When I focus on just fruits and vegetables are my side versus what I can eat. Those are things that just start happening and become a part of your life every day.
Betty: [00:02:07] We exercise, right? We’re either really extreme or we’re gonna go to the gym every day and because we’ve got to get to this destination of “I want to lose all this weight so I’m done.” Instead of you know run a 5K, learn how to run, learn how to build that up. It really is about the quiet time. It’s the music on the headsets. It’s being outside. It’s the progress that you make. And then you finally get to have the race. So it’s not about the race. It’s about leading up to the race.
Betty: [00:02:36] Here’s one we all understand. Holidays. It’s all about the big Christmas morning. It’s about the right gift, receiving and giving, when you could just say I am going to enjoy the Advent season. So advent calendars and a small simple reminders every day of Christmas. The Nutcracker. When’s the last time you enjoyed that? And the Rockettes. Netflix now makes it really easy to enjoy Christmas music all through the season. It’s all categorized, it’s all easy instead of waiting for that TV DVR thing.
Betty: [00:03:08] You can even go out to fine dining in the midst of the craziness. Dress up and enjoy a night out because it’s all part of the Advent season. Lights and decorations, red or green, gold or silver, blue tinsel, purple. Choose it all but enjoy it. The whole six weeks.
Betty: [00:03:29] And Christmas cards. You know it’s not about how many you get in the mail. It’s really you get to have a time where you’re writing a personal note to someone. That’s enjoying the journey.
Betty: [00:03:40] Cookie bake. My daughter and I started a cookie bake in fifth grade because I always had cookie bakes with my mom. I have the recipes from my grandmother. Who gave them to my mother who gave them to me and I started this process with my daughter in fifth grade. Sugar cookies only, decorating, two hours with their friends, I was done. She’s now 26 and we’re going to be doing cookie bake with her college friends, who probably are her lifetime friends. That’s enjoying the journey.
Betty: [00:04:06] It’s not about the big gift. It’s not about eating the cookie. It’s the process of generations of recipes. It’s the process of spending time and yeah your kitchen’s a mess for about five, eight hours and you’re exhausted but what a journey.
Betty: [00:04:23] And then of course Christmas Eve and Christmas day come and there’s not a big let down when you kind of just start enjoying it all along. And if the big gift didn’t work out you kind of missed the moment you thought was everything it was, right? The destination.
Betty: [00:04:37] Or hey it’s a new year. We set real unrealistic goals because we’re going to plan, we’re going to achieve things, and then it results in failure. So change that and look at what it was my journey going to look like in ’19 or ’20 or ’21 whatever it is.
Betty: [00:04:52] Here’s what I’ve done really well with the journey and I learned this the hard way through divorce. When I went through divorce my attorney was great but the destination was to be divorced. But I will tell you a counselor said to me if you continue to do all the good things the right things and the things that are normal and everyday stuff, you’re probably gonna end up in the same place. So I would change how you live day to day so you have different results.
Betty: [00:05:20] So I started taking that to heart. So my kids, I’m a single mom after the divorce, and it’s school time. You know how mornings are. But we always had breakfast once a week at Bob Evans. Part of the journey. Not getting to school, not just getting through the day, not just getting them out the door. It was just let’s go have some breakfast.
Betty: [00:05:37] Family traditions. I learned this from my parents really well. I still have all those traditions but I also buy new traditions with my kids. And it’s not about the holiday or it’s not about the event it’s about we do this every year and we add to it. We take away from when it works.
Betty: [00:05:55] I look at the Women’s Initiative at Brady Ware. I try to focus right now on what women are doing right now today. We’ve had women that have gotten involved with Habitat Humanity For Single Moms, raised all kinds of money. We’ve had women that raised money when Puerto Rico really went through two hurricanes back to back. And that woman today is going back to Puerto Rico to talk on a panel about women because we helped a school for girls during a really tough time. That’s the journey. It’s not what is the Women’s Initiative going to accomplish? What is it that we want to get out of it? Where are we today? I enjoy more watching the women of Brady Ware evolve.
Betty: [00:06:39] Another great example, and it was all really not intentional by any means, but when I merged into Brady Ware, it was about a 14 month courtship of negotiations and coming together and how are we going to take two businesses and make them one. I focused a lot on “I’m going to get to the big company.” “I’m going to get to the opportunity where there’s more.” “I’m going to have this new day with a new twist.” And what I didn’t realize was how much tough work it would be when I hit the destination, right? I got there, but I had arrived. So now what. And I will tell you once I figured out that I had arrived I learned that I had a whole new day and I wasn’t ready.
Betty: [00:07:17] But my growth and my opportunity and my success over these past six years have been two fold in comparison to the first 24 years of my career. The difference is that I finally realized I made it to the destination, but I wasn’t prepared to be there. So I had to really look at what is now the newest destination and I was going to make sure that I took the journey so I could get there successfully.
Betty: [00:07:41] Now what? And what would be the next destination? No idea. So I decided instead I was going to enjoy my moment. I remember the first day at Brady Ware when I was downtown and I had this beautiful office looking over The Scioto Mile, and the Capital and I had all my same computers and I had all my same staff and I had all my same clients and yet. I’ve arrived at this destination and I had no idea what to do. It was an “aha!” moment.
Betty: [00:08:11] So I did the one thing I always know what to do and that’s go have lunch. And I called my husband I said I’m completely lost and he said no you’ve arrived. It’s time to enjoy the moment and go to the next step. Go to the next destination but enjoy a little bit more and be ready. So I took that to heart and I did that.
Betty: [00:08:31] Instead I focused on building relationships within Brady Ware and outside of Brady Ware. I decided I was gonna improve my skill sets. I wasn’t going to go get a bunch of clients, I was going to go get a bunch of stuff. It was knowing an improved skill sets.
Betty: [00:08:46] I’m also going to be part of central Ohio. Here I am downtown in the heart of Columbus and I don’t even know a thing about it. I lived here my entire life.
Betty: [00:08:55] Please do not misunderstand me. You have to set goals. You have to have a plan. You do have to have that. But don’t let the destination consume you.
Betty: [00:09:04] Example. I always want more clients. We all do right? It generates revenue at the end of the day. So I turn my focus on the small business owner. I turn my focus on helping women who own their businesses. Because they struggled different than men who own their businesses.
Betty: [00:09:23] I joined an amazing group called NAWBO, the Columbus chapter, the National Association of Women Business Owners. I decided I was going to support an organization the one I chose was the Women’s Small Business Accelerator, the WSBA. Developing skills that were not related to accounting, changing my focus on who I was working with and in what they needed. Becoming part of organizations that support me and help me and help others all the sudden began changing me professionally. And before I know it, I was at another destination in another milestone. I enjoyed that journey and all of the outcome. And guess what. At the end of the day, I got more clients and I met my revenue goals. It just was done with a different mindset because it was focused on the journey and going along instead of the end result which was getting the client and that revenue.
Betty: [00:10:20] So the goal was met, right? I can look back and see the journey and the growth. There’s a lot of outcomes that come with focusing on the journey and not the destination. First is you don’t forfeit all the life lessons and experiences if you miss the journey. If you go through the journey you’re going to learn those lessons.
Betty: [00:10:42] You’re also trying to acquire different skills. And you’re going to achieve and maybe even refine who you are. We all need that.
Betty: [00:10:51] You’re going to make necessary changes along the way so that you don’t have regrets when you get to the destination, right? You’re going to work on things as you’re seeing them.
Betty: [00:11:01] You probably are going to learn to preserve, enhance your personal self, who you are. Keep redefining that.
Betty: [00:11:09] And you’re going to shape your character. Those are the outcomes of the journey and not just the destination. And someday you’re going to call upon all those outcomes and use them at the appropriate times. I know as I look back with my whole career and especially the last several years when I really developed and had some really really cool journey time. I’m now ready for the destination, when I got there. Unlike when I came here six years ago.
Betty: [00:11:38] If you’re fortunate you’ll be ready for the next part of your journey, that will lead you to the next destination and that’s really where I am right now.
Betty: [00:11:46] Reaching your destination. It’s just a moment in time. But travelling towards your destination is an every day thing, and you don’t want to miss it. Change your mindset. The journey or the destination. And I’m going to challenge you today. Let the journey become your focal point. It’s far more rewarding than the destination. One thing you could do is certainly read a book, Leading Through The Turn by Elise Mitchell. She’s a great woman and she’s a great read.
Betty: [00:12:17] So I’m going to challenge you today with a couple of questions and some things that hopefully will provoke some thought. What destination are you thinking about right now? You may not be thinking about any of them. Maybe you need a vision or a goal something that you can work towards. But mostly I want you to think about what is the journey going to look like. What’s it going to feel like. That’s the real question. So today hopefully I’ve made you come to some conclusions about the journeys more important than the destination. And hopefully today you’ll change your mindset and have much more fulfillment getting there. Take it to heart and start being intentional about the moment. The day to day. That journey along the way to your destination.