Redefining Progress

Progress flows like a waterfall

One of my recent posts discussed how the path to self-discovery and healing doesn’t have the traditional timelines, deadlines, to-do lists or goals that the rest of life’s projects do, whether it’s building a new website at work, or cleaning your apartment. With that idea comes the tendency, at least for me, to not recognize or praise myself for the progress I have made- because it is harder to see personally how I’ve changed.

Sometimes it takes talking to someone else to figure that out; asking directly – have I changed? Do you think I’ve improved on x, y, z? And this goes for everything, I think. At work, maybe you’ve been trying for months to build your skills, show more leadership and project management skills, and show capacity for more responsibility. But maybe because you’ve been doing so much WORK, it’s hard to know if you really are growing and improving, so you have to ask your colleagues, or your supervisor – how I am doing? It’s like those bumper stickers on the back of 18-wheelers that ask “How is my driving?” with a number to call. The driver can’t tell crap about his driving because the truck is so big and his view is terrible from the cab. In life, sometimes our view of ourselves is so skewed, and we’re so judgmental about it that we can’t see how we’re doing, and we need a hotline of our own.


Sometimes it takes someone asking you, “Well, how do YOU think you’re doing?” “Umm…welll…” I stumbled over that one, and then started finding examples of things that I noticed I was doing differently – and what’s more, I found examples of things that I thought I was doing differently, but wasn’t quite there yet. (Thanks Dad, really)

When you’re working on the Me Project – the project to be a better you, you might find yourself setting little rules for yourself. “Next time, don’t react this way, but do this instead.” “Don’t cry.” “Don’t get upset.” “Do communicate more clearly.” “Do realize you are not alone.” Funny enough, one of my struggles is that I have too many rules, and always have. I grew up with lots of rules, and I’ve continued to stick with rules, and make up rules until my head explodes. Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project reminds me that some rules can be about breaking the old rules. I read her “don’ts” and chuckle, and then I get all serious and say, ok, my rule is “No more rules!”

Progress is…feeling happy at the end of a day.

Progress is…feeling productive and satisfied about the work you did.

Progress is…feeling content with what you’ve got.

Progress is…not worrying about the stages of progress so much, and just BEING.


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