*After I stood, for quite some time, at an event and listened to a guy run down his entire resume,  including how his wife doesn’t work (with a quick dig on me about being a working mother), the size of his house and how  he vacations all over the world each year, I finally asked “well, are you enjoying the journey?”

There was an awkward pause, and he looked as if I had asked him something in a foreign language that he did not understand. Then, it quickly hit me that he actually didn’t understand.

In my 20s and while working in Finance, traveling and attending all kinds of celebrity events, I remember name dropping and telling anyone who would listen who I met, what I was up to and what I did for a living. I needed to tell.

Given all that was expected of me, from many people, while growing up, I felt compelled to let everyone know that I was living up to their expectations. . .or at least make it appear that way. I was at the premier party for Low Down Dirty Shame and had a great conversation with Tupac Shakur.

I attended Kenny Anderson’s birthday party, Xcape’s record release party, hung out backstage with Mary J (I am amazingly proud of her evolution) when she was at rock bottom, partied in Cancun with PDiddy (Puffy then), and the NBA’s then Fab 5, and more. I was definitely having a blast, however I didn’t realize that the journey was more critical than the places I was going and the things I had.

Since those days, I’ve been married, had two children, changed careers several times, buried a dear friend, gotten divorced, had very, very little money and enough money, I’ve been to more celebrity events and events at homes in the hood, I have friends who are wealthy and friends who are most certainly not. I’ve gained friends and some friendships ended, been madly in love and heartbroken. Today I’m clear about what matters to me. The journey.

Fortunately my mother instilled a great deal of “have a good time while you’re doing it” in me.   Two of her favorite questions were “did you have a good time?” and “did you learn anything new?”. They could come after the loss of a basketball or field hockey game, overtime put in at work or an event I attended. For any experiences in life, she taught me to have a good time and learn something new. This would ensure a journey of learning and laughing, no matter how rough the situation. So, while the world uses my status, wealth, neighborhood , acquaintances and overall circumstances to indicate how I’m doing, I’ll always have my own indicators. Learning and laughing.

So my question to the gentleman at the event, I previously mentioned, was of great importance to me. I was curious to know if he was actually enjoying any part of his spoils, besides the mere fact that he had them. His short and quick answer of “yeah” let me know that, not only was learning and laughing not indicators for him,  but he didn’t even know he was on a journey. I was talking to someone with a sizable piece of real estate in the good ‘ole Land of Make Believe.

First, I hope everyone reading this recognizes that there is a journey, and secondly that you have your own indicators for making it a fulfilling one.

Monica Cost is communications strategist, brand manager and respected corporate and motivational speaker. She is the President and Founder of Evidently Assured, a brand & talent management firm.  Email her at:  [email protected]. Follow her via Twitter: @monicacost and Facebook.com/monicahairstoncost.