Success is a journey…

Success is a journey

You’ve probably heard the quote or seen it on motivational posters…

“Success is a journey not a destination.” ~ Arthur Ashe, Jr.

I had never paid much attention to the quote. Seemed a bit trite and obvious. Then, I experienced it in an intensely personal way that surprised me and forced me to consider the meaning more deeply.

The complete quote, which speaks best to my experience is:

“Success is a journey not a destination. The doing is usually more important than the outcome.”

While on a seven day trek in the Peruvian Andes, hiking from Cusco to Machu Picchu, I had a lot of time to contemplate journey vs. destination, especially the day we finally reached the destination I had dreamed about visiting for nearly 25 years.

Since the mid 1980’s I have wanted to go to Machu Picchu.  The pictures and history fascinated me. I wanted to experience the site and explore and learn about the Inca culture. At the time, in the 1980’s a terrorist group was very active in Peru and it didn’t seem like a good idea to travel there, so I went to Italy instead. But my dream and desire didn’t go away.

Fast forward to early 2012, on long runs with my Dash ‘n Dine crew, we would talk about travel – where we’ve been and where we’d like to to go – and Machu Picchu came up time and again. In April, four of us decided to go for it. Rather than travel to Machu Picchu by rail, the most popular way, we decided on an “adventure trip” and booked a 7 day lodge to lodge trek through the Andes with Mountain Lodges of Peru through REI Adventure Travel.

This was one of the best travel decisions I’ve ever made and it was one of the most AWESOME vacations I’ve ever had.

Lake Humantay

Humantay Glacier Lake

The trek from Cusco to Aquas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu, was physically challenging, gorgeous, wet, muddy, hot, difficult, rewarding, fulfilling and luxurious. Everyday we hiked 5-10 miles up and down mountains at very high altitudes (breathing was difficult on the ascents). At the end of the day we arrived at beautiful lodges where every need we had was met with grace and warmth and gourmet cuisine. It was amazing. Way beyond anything I imagined the trek would or could be.

Hiking in the Andes

Some days were cold, wet and muddy.

Our guides, Silver and Ruben, educated, inspired and motivated us every day. I was grateful for their encouragement and reminders to take it one small step at a time when I was struggling up a narrow mountain trail. I appreciated their depth of knowledge and the conversations about Andean, Peruvian, Inca and world history, flora, fauna and local customs.

On the seventh day, we arrived at Machu Picchu. My destination…my dream…my goal, finally realized after nearly 25 years.

I was in awe. [An overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like.]

Machu Picchu

My first sighting of Machu Picchu.

And Machu Picchu was everything I thought it would be, and more. There is no choice but to be impressed with the majesty and ingenuity of the Incas who conceived and built the city on a mountain surrounded by mountains.

Yet, when I think about my vacation, what always comes up first in my memories and when I tell my stories, is the journey to get to Machu Picchu. I was shocked to admit to myself that the journey made more of an impact on me than the reality of being at Machu Picchu.

The 41 mile trek through the Andes tested me and I passed! The challenges of the terrain, weather and altitude (as high as 15,400 feet) did not defeat me – I never had to ride the 911 horse – and everyday I experienced joy and excitement at being surrounded by beauty and the privilege of sharing it with dear friends and new friends who became mi familia.

Mi Familia home sweet home

Salkantay Lodge with mi familia. Photo: Silver Ballon

What does this have to do with anything?

As simplistic and obvious as it sounds, throughout  my hike, I couldn’t help but contemplate how much my experience was similar to that of being a solo entrepreneur: the challenges, the ups and downs, the relationships with colleagues and clients, learning new skills, strategies and tactics from mentors and guides who have walked the path before you, and the awesome feeling of  joy when you achieve success and meet your business goals.

In fact, as Arthur Ashe says, “the doing is usually more important than the outcome.”  I often remind my clients that every big project is made up of small steps and when feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, it’s important to remember to “look back down the mountain” to see how far they’ve traveled and accomplished on the journey to their goal. That usually puts things back in perspective.

Where do you want to go?

If you’re ready for a new adventure and a journey to take your web presence and business to new heights, let’s talk. I’m scheduling strategy sessions the first week of January and taking on a maximum of three new VIP mentoring clients. If you’re ready to join me, click here to schedule your complimentary strategy session and discover how we can work together on the journey to reaching your goals!

I’m thrilled I finally had the opportunity to experience Machu Picchu and I’m grateful for every step of the journey it took to get there.

Want to see more of my pictures from Peru? They’re posted on my Facebook profile. Click here.

"Get Blog Updates"
Receive an update straight to your inbox every time I publish a new article. Your email address will never be shared.
Enter your Email:

Google+ Comments

Powered by Google+ Comments


  1. says

    How very true that life and success are about the journey and not the destination. I have once more embarked on a journey of business ownership and it like your pictures in this post is fast becoming an exciting journey. Once again to feel the joy of meeting new people and to be able to help them with challenges that they have. What a wonderful feeling to be moving forward. Though my business adventure is offline, so much of the advertising of my services are online. What a cool adventure.

  2. says

    Denise, Thank you for sharing this great article and its many insights. Yes, in the end, it really is the journey. And I know for me, I feel my deepest self either in the wilderness and in music. Step by step, we get closer to achieving our dreams, and we are made deeper and richer along the way. You have helped me immensely on my journey and I am grateful to have you a a guide.

  3. says

    I am soooo happy that you made it to Machu Picchu.
    I feel very lucky to have visited this awesome site a few years ago.
    Since it was with my family (parents,my brother and his partner), hiking the Inca trail was out of the question. Though I did hike the additional Machu Picchu (Moon) trail for a few hours the next day, it pales compared to your experience.
    You indeed mastered a feat of a lifetime – in a magical area! Kudos to you.
    Wishing you a warm holiday season!

  4. says

    What a beautiful insightful journey it must have been. It shows that one should never give up on your dreams.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and lovely photos!

    • says

      Cheryl, thanks for stopping by. You’re right, more and more I’m realizing how much nature has to teach us. And, my trip to the Amazon may be sooner than I originally thought!

    • says

      Hi Sarah, thanks for stopping by. The Andes mountain range is over 4400 miles long, extending through most of South America. Our 41 mile trek was just a tiny slice of the amazing landscape.

  5. says

    Denise, I agree, there is nothing better than a lesson learned this way. We can read over and over about how the journey is greater than the destination, but until we get it in our bones, we can\’t really know it. So applicable to the entrepreneurial life! And such a stunning, awe-inspiring place in which to learn it…

  6. Susan Dumas says

    What a wonderful enriching experience!
    Relating to your “Success is a Journey” quote, I came across a similar statement on page 3 of a book that was an ah-ha moment for me back in the 1990s. It was – “We don’t have to achieve a dream in order to find fulfillment – we need only actively pursue the dream to attain satisfaction.”
    Rarely do I get such value from only the third page of a book.
    The book was Do It! Let’s Get Off Our Buts.

    • says

      David, It was pretty darn great. All the elements of a fabulous adventure. I’m going back in a few months to visit a nature reserve in the Amazon. Peru is an amazing, beautiful country.

      Thanks for stopping by!