Today's post comes with it's own soundtrack courtesy of Arcade Fire.
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It’s time for that road trip vacation you and your family have been looking forward to all year.
You have planned all the necessary details – you are driving to Florida to go to Disney. You don’t want to put wear and tear on your family car, so you rent a nice, brand new SUV from Enterprise. The hotels are pre-booked, and you know exactly where each gas stop is – heck, you even know which roadside tourist traps you will stop at, the Giant Ball of Yarn and the Jimmy Carter Smiling Peanut.
The bags are packed. You load everyone up and drive off. It’s a two-day, 619-mile journey. Everyone is excited you are finally doing it! You are finally doing it!!
Day one goes as planned. Every stop is effortless and efficient. The kids all behave because they want to experience Galaxy’s Edge and ride Space Mountain. The hotel that night isn’t great, but hey, it’s a deal.
It’s a classic road trip – equal parts monotony and excitement; beef jerky and caffeine. Open roads and construction. Hurry up and wait.
Day two is even better. You find extra time to see the Giant Golfball outside of Jacksonville. In a couple of hours, you will be at Disney – ready to check-in and gear up for a week of fun.
95% of the Way There, Further Away Than Ever
About 30 miles away, you discern something hasn’t been quite right this whole time!
How did you miss it before!? You have been driving this car for 10 hours, and you should’ve noticed – the seat isn’t quite at the right angle for you.
Not only that but you decide that the luggage wasn’t packed correctly this morning after the hotel. You pull off to a gas station that wasn’t on your planned route.
Now that you are at it, you realize you want to spend some concerted time tuning the radio to the perfect local station – gotta have some local flavor for the last 30 miles!
Now you can’t decide, should the A/C be set to 71 or 72. Maybe you should crack the window a little but have the temperature from the vents a little lower. Now you get out of the car and start looking at it. The tires have a little too much air in them. They are appropriately inflated; you just like a softer ride at 32 PSI. Wait, the windows need to be down a bit more. But somehow that does look right from the outside.
While looking at the vehicle, you suddenly feel like a colossal idiot – you should’ve picked a black SUV, not red. What were you thinking!!!!
Hours have passed and now it is evening. Your family is exhausted and mad. You tell them you think it is best if you sleep in the car tonight and keep tweaking the car settings tomorrow – after all, the trip has to be perfect, or you might ruin your vacation.
We All Have Goals
This imaginary vacation is precisely how so many of us treat our goals. We set out with good intentions, but also a fear. When we are 95% of the way toward our goal, we get lost in the details.
Details that won’t move the needle. Details that are a cop-out to offering the world a newer, better version of ourselves. By focusing on the 5%, we entirely miss the point and handicap achieving our goals. Don’t let this be you!
Keep the Car Running
If you want to get to Disney World, you need to eventually arrive. You can’t stop so much before you get there that you never actually do.
If you’re going to launch your new website, business, or service, you have to ship it. In the end, you have to put it into the world. Keep the car running until you do. Don’t stop to nitpick the tiny details that don’t impact whether you arrive or not. Focus on arriving.
By all means, if you get a flat tire, fix it – the car won’t run well without that improved. But don’t sit on the side of the road, tweaking the exact angle of your review mirror when you could’ve already reached your destination.
Focus on moving the needle on your goals in a meaningful way. Ship it. Send it out. And don’t let the final 5% be an excuse to hide from the world!