This morning I find echoes from my past ringing in my brain.
I feel the vow: “No matter what, I won’t be one of those Under Achievers!”
Perhaps it was the age I was raised in. It was common, if I remember correctly, for teachers to view students who had more potential than they were demonstrating in the classroom to be labeled “under achievers.”
Of course, I was an under achiever! Always have been. Always will be!
As I tap, I realize that I decided (or it was drummed into me) that being an under achiever was something to be ashamed of – akin to letting your dog starve. Weird, isn’t it, how something culturally like that doesn’t just get under our skin but ends up a background “app” running and sucking power.
Of course, if I was more a rebel, the symptoms of that being under my skin might be a chronic commitment to never being one of those “achiever” types. I might avoid achievement like it was arsenic!
Instead, it has been, and considering how I’m feeling this morning, something I’ve had to address over and over to balance out my system.
Let me offer an example (for me as much as anyone who reads this):
I’ve started this Community Center. The desire to do so was not sourced from “achievement” – it comes from a desire to be Together, to Engage, to have a Shared Wisdom We-Space. And more. Selfishly, it offers an “easy” outlet for words and awarenesses like this post. I really LIKE having this space, and it suits my nature and nurture to share it.
Ahhh, and then comes the “don’t be an under achiever” part of me.
“How many people have to engage here for it to be a success, an achievement?”
“What’s your GOAL, what is the OUTCOME that would mark this as an achievement and not a failure?”
Eeeek! That last one hurts. Tap tap tap.
That part of my brain goes to things that can be measured: visitors, members, posts, M-O-N-E-Y. Weirdly again, there’s no real number on any of those that actually means “achievement!!” No matter what number I pick over any timeframe, there’s a sense of under-ness to it.
Ugh. We humans can be so un-satisfiable.
I’m grateful that I’m aware that there’s actually no way to satisfy myself if I view my work, my life, my day through the lens of achievement. I’m always under achieving compared to Divine Potential. There’s no measure that couldn’t be excelled beyond. And yes, such a frame of reference is stressful, depleting, and unsatisfying for me.
Instead, my frame that I am reminding myself about is the Simple Uplift. Right as I wrote the paragraph above, the sun came up over the mountain and shined on my face. Ahhh. I’ll take that as a sweet coincidence that reminds me that I stand for something other than “measurable achievement.”
The uplift of seeing a person share that she resist joy, and now really wants to make more room for it. Another who shared about her wolf energy. Another who joined and has yet to write anything but her presence really matters to me here.
You see, my sense is that we’ve strip-mined the emotional world by over-measuring based on achievement. I have thousands of examples where that feels true. Achievement feels like something that can add value and motivation… it just doesn’t to me feel like We-Space nourishing in the way that Engagement and Embodying Love and Responsiveness and Generosity do.
Has this “achievement” thing been an issue for you, too?
How do you see it playing out with those you care about, and want to engage with, in ways that block connection and co-creation?
I’m really curious.