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Make Time to Appreciate the Journey

Emotional intelligence coaches Paige Dest and Jenn Montague

We're now in the last month of the year, and it’s only appropriate to take a little time to appreciate the journey we’ve been on. Appreciate the Journey is our theme for this month, so we want to encourage you to make the time to sit in reflection and truly appreciate how far you’ve come.

We discuss progress a lot in our programs and coaching – why? Because each day we’ve made “progress,” we’ve gotten a little better. Appreciating the journey is about celebrating that progress, but also appreciating what the journey has taught us even when we might feel we’ve moved backwards.

I want to share a quote that I keep where I can see it every day – “Taking a step backwards after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s more like a cha-cha." It reminds me that it’s about the journey, and that journey may include ups and downs, twists and turns, and sometimes, it includes going back.

Over the last couple of years, most of us have likely experienced more twists and turns and potentially more downs than ever before as we’ve worked hard to survive a pandemic and come out doing our best to thrive. Let’s appreciate that we are now working to thrive.

At the beginning of 2020, I felt like it was going to be “my year" - the year I turned 50 and the year my business was going to soar. Little did I know that before the first quarter was over, my plans were going to get turned upside down. I needed to get a “JOB” and my birthday was going to be celebrated with extreme social distancing. A friend has reminded me multiple times that the action I took even when I was feeling all topsy-turvy helped them get focused and see a way through. That was what I celebrated in 2020.

Now 2 years later, I must remind myself that all of what I experienced over the last 2 years has included new learning and personal growth. I have learned new skills, grown as a leader in a different capacity, and I’ve made progress!

Sometimes it’s also the loss of something or someone that stops us in our tracks and makes us realize we need to appreciate the journey we’re on, enjoying moments versus being so focused on the destination that we forget to take in the sights.

A little over a month ago, I lost a friend, colleague, and accountability partner. We met virtually in the spring of 2018 while attending the same certification class for Social+Emotional Intelligence Coaching through the Institute for Social+Emotional Intelligence® and had spoken at least once per month since.

Her loss was sudden and unexpected. We were of a similar age and so much of what drew me to Paige Dest was our similar background in financial services and that our respective journeys included rising within an organization and leaving the formal corporate world to pursue our passion in coaching.

The last time I spoke with Paige in early October, she was excited for all the “work” I was doing but asked where the fun was. She kept me balanced. Her loss has shocked my foundation. Her loss has taught me that I need to be more in the present and enjoy as many moments as possible on this journey called life. Her loss has left a void for so many, the depth of which I discovered after her passing.

I’m going to do my best to channel Paige and tell you how you can really appreciate the journey.

Practice Self-Care

Over the last couple of years, Paige has run a 21-day Self-Care Challenge to really create a habit of taking care of ourselves. If we are run down and depleted, we are no good to anyone. Her challenge was a way to help the participants make it a daily habit to consider what they needed to feel fulfilled.

The only way we can truly be present and appreciate the journey is to take care of ourselves. I know that self-care may seem selfish, or maybe even seem like an option only for those that can afford it financially. But what self-care really is in its basic form is you ensuring that you have what you need to feel whole, energized and able to give your best. A lot of self-care only uses the resource of time.

Make the time to practice self-care.

Practice Awareness

Practicing awareness is being mindful and present, having an awareness of our own emotions and awareness of the emotions experienced by those around us. We are not on a journey alone and without interaction or impact.

Consider what you’ve said or done over the last 24 hours. How have any of your actions impacted you or those around you? How are you feeling right now in this moment? Can you name it?

Appreciating the journey requires you to be present, to tune into what's going on. It’s so easy to want to tune out noise at work or at home and just keep powering through and checking off tasks. When was the last time you made time to really get to know a co-worker or sit and ask your child how they are feeling?

We are only aware of what we choose to be present for. Make the time to practice awareness.

Make Time for Fun!

Paige’s last reminder to me stung a little. So much of my personal journey has included achieving at work. Earlier this year, I learned that Words of Affirmation is my top Love Language. I crave the “good jobs” and accolades regarding my work successes.

But we can’t appreciate the journey if we are only open to praise. Learning comes when we need to adjust our compass, such as the reminder to have fun. Appreciating ALL of life’s lessons is part of appreciating the journey.

Fun is a little different for each person. Find your fun secret sauce and dive in. Life is simply too short to not have fun and it will be a welcome addition when you look for ways to appreciate the journey.

Make time for fun!

Thanks for reading and letting me share about my dear friend, Paige Dest. Although I only got to meet Paige in person one time during the summer of 2019, I will forever treasure the couple of hours we hung out in a crepe & waffle shop in New Jersey as we both traveled for fun.

If you’re interested in contributing to Paige’s legacy, please consider a donation to the nonprofit she founded - . The Flutter Foundation provides financial support to programs in Connecticut, which empower youths (including children and young adults) to respond to their emotions in a more positive, constructive way, through education and mentorship in social and emotional intelligence (SEI) (also known as social and emotional learning (SEL)); and to further encourage the general awareness of SEI concepts and skills.

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Thank you for this! These last couple of months at work have been more challenging and it's been easy to get bogged down with all that's "going wrong." Looking at the overall growth we've had year to date though, it's been a GREAT year and it's ok to celebrate that! And I'm guilty of going until there's no more of me to give--thanks for the reminder that it's OK to take time for FUN! Cheers to an amazing 2022! I'm ready to see what's in store for 2023!

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