If I were to make a general statement, I would say most professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners focus on celebrating the large milestones, the 500th customer served, the 10th anniversary. We become so focused on these milestones we overlook the small victories, the daily victories which ensure we are successful and meet our milestones.
Confession, I am as guilty of this as the next professional. I become so laser focused on the larger picture I forget to see the daily view. I live with one foot in the future, one in the past, and my focus on tomorrow’s prize, failing to see the moment, the beauty of the current five-minutes. Because of this perspective, I miss so much, so many opportunities to grow, to celebrate, to cheer others on.
I realized how unhealthy my perspective had become when I was talking with my boxing coach. Pausing for air in my 10-minute recitation of what was going on in my life, I was interrupted by my coach. He shared the wisdom of a winner, someone who has learned lessons the hard way and has the scars. Boxers live in the moment, never more than a few seconds in the future. With this vision, they see the slight changes in the opponents, the subtle shift in body weight indicating a coming punch, the beginning of a jab, the chance to get an unsuspecting hook in. As my trainer reminded me to remember to live in the moment, I realized the impact boxing has had on my professional career.
A good boxer trains daily. The goal of training is to become better, to be prepared for the next fight, to have the stamina and strength needed to win, to conquer a 3-minute round. Three minutes in a boxing ring feels like 20 minutes on a stage, the clock slows down, time pauses, and for those few minutes it’s just you and your opponent. The cheers of the crowd fade, the instructions of your coach become a whisper, all that exists is you and your ability to read your opponent, to out maneuver them. History is made in those moments, and the fighter who didn’t train hard enough, who isn’t focused on this moment, is the loser.
Watching me struggle to balance multiple jobs, my boxing coach tells me to focus on my training, to become stronger, more agile. He promises the better I get in the ring, the better I will do at my jobs, in my life. This last piece of advice he gave, to live in the moment, to appreciate what we are given, to enjoy every detail to the fullest, was perhaps the best advice I have gotten yet. I have striven to take the lessons I learn in the ring and apply them to every aspect of my life. I have learned to be quiet and watch people in meetings, to read their body language, pivoting or ducking as needed. The strength gained has shown me the value of patience and dogged determination. The agility in foot work, the swishes and sways of boxing dance, have given me the confidence to walk into every room and know I belong, I have something to add.
As professionals, we miss that life is about the journey, not the destination. We forget the value of the lessons learned in the moments, the bonding with team members and peers when we stop to celebrate. We forget to celebrate the fact that we made it through another day, another challenge. Maybe, just maybe, if we approach our professional careers like a boxer, training hard, preparing, and then living in the moment, we would learn the positive impact celebrating victories has, and the ability those celebrations have to drive us into the future.