Meditation teacher and writer Jon Kabat-Zinn famously said, “wherever you go, there you are” and it couldn’t be more true in the context of achievement.
Our culture applauds achievement, and sure, it feels good to have accomplishments under our belt.
But the dark side of achievement is something we don’t often hear about, yet it’s very real.
I consider myself a recovering over-achiever.
In my 20s and early 30s, I was constantly setting goals, reaching them, and then moving on to the next ones without so much as an acknowledgment of what I had just achieved.
It’s actually a very destructive pattern, dressed up as motivation.
On its deepest level, it’s a form of self-abandonment.
What I noticed when I went into my observer and assessed why I was setting these goals was that I was actually trying to devise a strategy to escape my current feelings, usually negative ones like sadness or depression.
I was running away from aspects of myself, trying not to look at them, and instead, believing that something outside of me would make me feel differently…and of course, it never did.
That’s why there was always the next goal and the one after that to focus on, in order to escape the present moment.
It was only these last few years that I realized that in order to truly love myself I actually have to take a beat and pause to acknowledge how I’m feeling and embrace those emotions, even if they’re negative.
Now I see them, breathe through them, know they will pass, and I will survive.
And you know what has happened?
Something beautiful sets into motion and I am able to clearly see what I need to do next, what goal I really want to be striving for that will serve my life in the highest way.
This comes not from the endless need to run away from the present moment, but from a clear place inside of me, that’s connected to my heart.
I’m no longer running blindly from negative emotions and setting goals just to feel something different.
These new goals are much more deliberate and serve a higher purpose.
And I’m much more present with the motivation behind each and why I want them to happen.
What about you?
Do you consider yourself an over-achiever?
If you can relate to this, then I invite you to slow down, take a breath and have a moment of self-inquiry as to if the goals you set are actually serving you, or if they are a placeholder for being present with what is challenging inside yourself.
…And if you’re wanting to create more power and love in your life I would love to invite you into a conversation with me.
Send me an email at [email protected] and let me know if you’d like to have an initial conversation to see if we are a fit.
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