Get a lot done but not feeling very accomplished?

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Another year over and what have you done?  Seems like a good time to reflect and think about our accomplishments from 2010. Trouble is, when asking my audience about this very thing, most will say how busy and overworked they feel, but not necessarily very accomplished!

Accomplishment: something successfully done, completed, fulfillment

I must admit, when I first thought about what I have accomplished I felt a little depressed. I know I got lots of stuff done so why was I coming up empty? Upon reflection, I’ve found a few ways in which I was blocked from feeling  fulfilled or accomplished with the things I have done. See if you can relate.

Block #1. I have very high standards and a tendency to compare myself to others. I tend to compare myself to the Gandhi’s of the world; to leaders of industry (Bill Gates or the Facebook Kid will do) presidents (won’t name, too political) and sports icons or famous faces often seen in People magazine.

Nice. It seems that my formula for feeling accomplished is grandiose, external and, shallow, wrapped up in fear (of not being good enough, smart enough, or anything enough-take your pick).  Here’s how that logic works out as a math problem:

Sense of accomplishment = fame + fortune ÷ fear + insecurity

Block #2  My Ego & all of the negative self talk. Picture that classic Disney image of the little red devil on one shoulder, angel on the other. Devil says “who are you kidding, if you were really somebody you would be famous or rich, you don’t even have a college degree…shame on you!” Angel say “You be quiet devil… Jerry’s works really hard and has a good heart , he’s doing the best he can!”  Red Devil’s  1, Angels 0.

Block #3.   TOO MUCH OF TOO MUCH! How am I  supposed to feel anything when everything is everywhere, all of the time, and in constant motion?

We human beings are really good at (at least the young ones) doing and doing and doing. (Especially this time of year, filled with the holiday spirit to ‘shop until you drop’.  Now, if you consider shopping and dropping an accomplishment, then so be it.

What about taking the time to reflect, to acknowledge ourselves, each other, and really take in all good we’ve done? No time for that too busy, too much to do. Gotta run and do, gotta do the do-run-run. Insanity!  I watch my wife, for example, work, and cook, clean, shop, run here and there and back again. Run, run, run, do, do, do, do run, do-run-run, do-do-run-run…ala ShaNaNa.

“It may be the lack of meditation that increases our need for medication.”

At the end of a long day of ‘Do Run’ my mind and brain feel like a rundown, overcrowded neighborhood. There would be crime, sirens blaring, and garbage and potholes. There would not be enough parks or green spaces in which to relax and meditate and reflect.

Some Cures. Maybe we just need to take a deep breath and look inward, to reflect a little bit and try taking a smaller, humbler bite of the apple. We should also beware of our ego’s trap of negative self talk (“I’m no good”) and our knee jerk habit of comparing ourselves to others.

So if you are inclined to look inward for your accomplishments, particularly the small or subtle ones,  have self compassion, stop comparing yourself to others, and take a look at what YOU have gotten done , perhaps in light of these questions;

  • What do people say about your work?
  • What about the quality of your relationships?
  • Are you happy with how you’re spending your time?
  • Are you thinking about and working on what’s really important?

Personally, I am moved by how many of you were kind enough to tell me how much you’ve enjoyed my presentations. That feels really good, thank you! Some of you have shared have about the positive changes you have made (or plan to make) in order to take better care of yourselves, communicate more fully, or work more effectively.

My fondest memories are of the laughs we shared, stress relieving moments, feeling connected and enjoying our time together. A worthy accomplishment! I look forward to more treasured moments in the New Year.

Happy New Year!


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