It’s is about the Journey
I can remember a time where all I wanted to do was disappear into my couch. As I sat withering away the realization a year’s worth of dedication would not play out the way I dreamed. I recall not wanting to move. I wanted to sit on my couch and vanish. The days passed as if in an hourglass, one sand trickling slowly to the bottom.
As thoughts raced from one to another, as if a runner with no end. I thought back over the year, I had come so far. I was given a rare opportunity to attend Ranger School. I trained for a year, battling injuries, obstacles, and pushing myself to new heights physically and mentally.
This chance came out of pure coincidence. I was working in a large headquarters at the time and a General and I shared a last name (No relation). This General struck up a conversation and asked me “Is it, Ranger Hughes?” I responded with “No, Sir. It is difficult to get a seat in the course in the Army Reserves”. Now, I will admit Ranger School was not on my radar in the least.
As he and I ended our conversation, he said: “I will get you a course date.” To his credit, he did. My head spinning with the possibilities I set off to put a training plan together. I called a trainer, did research and contacted everyone I knew who had been through the course.
I was a man possessed. I started running forty miles a week, working out five days a week, meeting with a trainer twice a week, and ruck marching. I overcame stress fractures in both my legs, long days, and many nights of questioning myself. Apart of the deal of going to this course, was to attend a Pre-Ranger.
The plan was to go from Pre-Ranger, two-week break, and then right into the real thing. I did not make it out of Pre-Ranger. I was carrying another Soldier during a smoke session. The ones you see in the movies all the time. As I was carrying this Soldier across my back, my leg sank into some mud on the field. My leg sinking, the Soldier slid down my back so all his weight was directly on my right leg. Once I could free my leg, I felt this pop in my hip.
Soon I was unable to walk and to stop further injury withdrew from the course. My return came on the heels of a four-day weekend. So, as the hours passed I could not help but think where do I go from here? As the questions of self-doubt danced, I was reminded of motivational mashup I had heard one-day training.
The speech spoke about how the destination is not what makes you successful, it was the journey you take. The journey is what truly changes you as a person, the goal is a sweet reminder. As my couch invited me to stay longer and a two-day shadow creeping on my face I began to realize something.
Though, I didn’t obtain my goal I had changed. I started to see I accomplished tasks I didn’t think I could have done a year ago. It was disappointing not to reach my goal, had I lost motivation in the moment yes. No matter the outcome, the work I did could not be taken away from me. I got up out of the couch, and a sense of appreciation for my journey took over where self-doubt once lived.
The same goes for you wherever you’re at. We all have goals we wanted to achieve and we didn’t. These are not times to give up, but to see how much we have grown. Over the year, I pushed myself farther than I had ever thought. I started to think differently, see myself differently, and carry myself as some fitting of the honor to try a hard task. I don’t know you, but I can say with certainty the goal you went after changed you for the best.
Ursula Le Guin said, “It’s good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” I challenge you to spend some time reflecting and appreciate the lessons you learned on the way. Not reaching a goal is not a failure, it takes many victories along the way to even try. In the end, we are all victors we must take the time to see the victories.
I hope to see you on the path…