Today is an odd sort of day with multiple feelings to share. I graduated on Friday with my Masters of Science in Computer Information Systems from Missouri State University. It was a day I had worked two years to reach. To be honest, it was rather surreal by the time it came to walk across the stage and be hooded (with the MS hood). I had family by my side and we spent the entire weekend together just enjoying the moment. One thing everyone kept asking me was “how does it feel to be done?” or commenting “It must feel great to be done!” In reality, I don’t feel relief or an overwhelming sense of accomplishment – yet. I’m sure it will come but is not that day. Today I feel a little lost.
This is not a new roller coaster ride; I’ve sensed this before. Other major accomplishments in my life have been met with the same build-up and excitement with the same sort of empty feeling afterwards. I think it is because the goal is achieved and my question is “now what?” I believe that this is a cycle that all leaders need to be aware of for ourselves and for our teams. We each have goals (usually more than one) that we are working towards, with milestones along the way. The idea is to achieve and to reach the end goal, but then what? In some ways it can be a big let-down or an emotional crash after such an emotional high for major accomplishments. We see the results of our achievements and we know what it took to get us to the goal line, but like running a race – what do you do after you cross the line? You celebrate the moment but you find the next race to run because that one is now over.
What I am learning about myself during this time of reflection is that I like to achieve, and I like to have goals. The important thing is to find that next goal or next hill to climb and find it fast. Without my goals I feel a little out of place or out of focus and start to founder. At least for me, I need my challenges to keep my enthusiasm and energy level high. I am all for taking time off or taking breaks to unwind or relax after a stressful time, but as driven and focused people, I think we thrive on moving forward instead of standing still. I know I am looking for my next ‘project’ because it is important to keep going. Friday was amazing and this past weekend with family was indescribable fun but it is over now. On to the next great adventure!!
CEO, The Professional Development Team