Defining Your Arrival – what good stories can teach us about our work

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defining your arrival - sparkfly photography

I long to be at a place in life where everything feels right and copesetic. As much as I know that “arrival” isn’t the point, I still long for that sense of achievement. In the study of the art of storytelling, the resolution to a story (called the “denouement” by story geeks— you know who you are) is the moments after the final climax where everything feels right.

As great as that kind of full completion would be, I’m realizing that I’m more interested in the sense of arrival that comes at the end of a story that is part of a greater saga. You know that the story continues beyond that moment, but when you finish the story it feels really good. There’s a sense that the challenges have been overcome. You know there are still more challenges to be faced in due time, but for the present moment you can rest and rejoice.

There should be points of arrival as you do your work.

There are achievements and accomplishments that need to be celebrated before you continue on. These are places for rest and rejuvenation before you embark on the next leg of the journey.

After you celebrate and rest, you get to take the next step toward your bigger work in the world. After you arrive, you get to continue your journey.

Practically speaking, defining your arrival points can be very helpful. Where will you rest along your way? A total realization of your work in the world is the greater saga that you are a part of, and that is what keeps you moving forward, but what are markers defining your arrival along that path— where one book resolves before the next stage begins?

The invitation here is to define your markers along your journey in ways that are attainable. Find places to rest and places to celebrate.

In the comments, what are those places for you? Is it helpful to think in terms of stages of your journey, and how so? Or just tell us where this takes you. Click here to comment.

Dan Cumberland is on a mission to push you into the places meaning, life, & work intersect. He is the author of The Meaning Manifesto. Read more about him here, and connect with him on facebook and twitter.

There Are 4 Comments On This Post.

  1. I like this. I think being okay with smaller stories makes it far more likely that I’ll be able to recognize, be present for, and celebrate the conclusions of my smaller stories.

  2. Matthew

    Reading this and reflecting on where it takes me, I can say that over the past 6 months more than ever I have been finding “marking places” at the end of a long hard stretch of good work. It is in the rest where I am able to look back at my work and have a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment. If I were an artist it would be like putting down the paint brush, stepping back and see what I have been creating from a distance.

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