The journey of an entrepreneur is as important as the destination

A recently retired relative of mine told me that one of the most important lessons she has learned after dedicating more than 25 years to her job is to enjoy the ride.

“I spent so much time stressing out about work and its projects…and I regret not spending time enjoying my work,” she said.

What my relative said resonated deeply with me. I’m a perfectionist and I want to see results fast. It’s not without reason that I’m nicknamed “Speedy”.

Every time my team and I manage a new project, I make sure we cover all aspects and go the extra mile. We always strive to meet deadlines and start our next project. While that was great, it meant I was spending more than the required time on a project.

But my situation and that of my loved one are not unique. Many entrepreneurs as well as employees find themselves in a similar scenario. An acquaintance of mine once told me that she hadn’t had a vacation for so long and that she wouldn’t rest until she retired. She didn’t know how to divert her mind from work.

My mind, too, was always in management mode, and each time we were done with a project, I thought about the next one. Rarely did I spend time thinking about the special times of the day.

Being constantly in management mode eventually led me to burnout. I found myself dreading the work and no longer felt any excitement. I wondered why I hated what I was once passionate about. After thinking about it, I knew my fear had nothing to do with the job, but how I approached it. I didn’t stop to think back to the good times, I never really took a break to celebrate how far I’ve come.

Navigating work through the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t exactly been a nice walk in the park for many of us. Stress levels increased and many of us ended up putting in more hours at work. It’s exactly in such stressful times that we need to give ourselves time to celebrate, reflect on the mini-steps we’ve taken, and applaud our colleagues, who are most likely stressed out just like us.

Thinking back to special moments is as easy as journaling. It is also important to share these moments with your team members.

Each time we reach a mini milestone, my colleagues and I order a simple meal and celebrate by remembering what we enjoyed most about the project. A colleague of mine celebrates her mini milestones by writing a presentation including highlights of her journey. “That way I don’t forget the details,” she says.

Entrepreneurship has been the most satisfying path for me. But it also comes with luggage. The key is to remember to enjoy the ride and celebrate our mini milestones as well as the big ones, because it’s these simple actions that make the journey worthwhile.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi

Updated: June 20, 2022, 5:30 a.m.

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