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Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination (Don Williams Jr.)

Embracing DesignThinking at SAP has been an eye-opening professional and personal journey affording me many opportunities for learning and growth. I have witnessed and participated in many unique, amazing experiences across the globe and learned the fine art of truly collaborating with colleagues, customers and partners alike, along the way.

Thinking back to when my journey officially began, I remember being excited about the really cool tools I was being exposed to and all of the different ways I would be able to use them. It wasn’t too long before I realized that it really wasn’t about the tools, it was much more about the ‘softer’ skills I was opening up to and beginning to hone.

Here are some of the lessons from my journey:

Lesson 1:

Letting go of existing paradigms and challenging all assumptions can help you be more open minded and less likely to judge, which, in turn, can enhance your ability to create new and unique connections and get in touch with your imagination

Lesson 2:

Accepting ambiguity is critical. Not knowing what the output or even the outcome will be can be disconcerting and exhilarating at the same time. You don’t always end up where you think you will and sometimes that will lead to incredible insight and nuggets of genius.

Lesson 3:

Failure is not a destination, it is a fork in the road of your journey and if you can’t go back the way you came, create a new path and see where that takes you.

Lesson 4:

It takes a little courage to ask open ended questions such as ‘why is that important to you?’ and ‘how does that make you feel?’ The insight gleaned from such questions is well worth the effort it takes to build up the courage to ask them

Lesson 5:

It’s not just about doing, it is also about taking the time to think without judgment. As Dr. Seuss put it: ‘Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try’

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  • Hi Suzanne,

    very nice blog and thoughts.

    Lesson 3,

    Lesson 3:

    Failure is not a destination, it is a fork in the road of your journey and if you can’t go back the way you came, create a new path and see where that takes you.

    I’ve reflected on what failure is, and I think you have classified it nicely. Especially that failure is a fork in the road, that’s a nice analogy.

    I’d like to take your definition one step further… bring another dimension to it….

    Here goes,

    Lesson 3:

    Failure is not a destination,

    Failure is a fork in the road of your journey if you have done, and are doing your personal best

    Failure is an fork between an unfinished road and any other way on your journey if you are not doing and have not done your best and you will never know where that road would have lead if you had done your best

    If we do our best and don’t succeed, we reach a fork, we learn our lessons and we move on, comfortable in the fact that for us that road was not possible

    Doing our best is very important in the philosophy of the journey being the destination. If we’re not doing our best, then it can be argued, our journey has no destination. If we’re doing our best, and even if we don’t know where our destination is, there will be a destination.

    I mean, picture a ship on the see moving a long on engines at half speed, being carried by different tides and the wind, where is its destination, noone knows, will there be a destination, I doubt it, it will go around the oceans like drift wood.

    If the ship was steaming at full power, the crew might not know where the destination is, but for sure, there will be a destination. I guess that is how the new world was discovered a few hundred years ago.

    When I talk to younger people, on the journey of life, I totally understand when they say, I don’t know what I want to be, I don’t know what I want to do, my answer is, do your best in everything you are doing, and you will find your way.

    How do we know if we’re doing our best, it’s easy to say we’re doing our best even if we’re not, but we all know, we can lie to our Boss, we can lie to our Partners, we can lie to our Parents,  but, we cannot lie to ourselves, only we know if we’re doing our best or not.

    All the best and thanks for the thoughts.


    • Andy, thanks so much for your kind words and building out my thoughts further. Your comment about younger people not knowing what they want to be brings a smile to my face. I am not in the younger people category anymore and I still don’t know what I want to be 🙂