Published on Mon, 07/06/2021 - 11:44
By
Kate Sturdy

What do you do when you achieve something?

  • Whoop wildly and crack open the champagne 🍾
  • Feel quietly pleased 😊
  • Move directly on to the next milestone

I have recently completed my training for the L7 executive coaching certificate but am finding myself flitting between the second and the third. On one hand: I’m dead chuffed. But at the same time: meh, there’s so much else to be done.

I’ve been talking recently to Crossing Thresholds mentors about self-empathy. We all know how important it is to show empathy to others, yet we find it surprisingly difficult to do this to ourselves – our brains simply aren’t wired that way. I certainly relate to this. I wonder if I find celebration of my own work self-indulgent and attention-seeking – life and work are both mighty serious after all... Or perhaps it's a loss of certainty and control: when I’m deep inside a project I have a clear purpose and can make decisions around this overriding priority against which other things pale into insignificance.

Sometimes I seem to find more energy in the pursuit than in the attainment. I think it's because I know where I am when I'm striving for something. I'm familiar with the sensations in my body and mind of keeping myself going, carving out time, setting milestones... and the challenge of overcoming doubts, solving problems, puzzling with others. The arrival can feel like an anti-climax. Completing my course is an amazing achievement, but it marks the end of my core career break mission. There is a sense of loss associated with every ending, even if it also signals the start of something wonderful, albeit unknown.

When discussing self-empathy with the mentors, we tried out a simple technique – of imagining that we are telling our story about a friend and not ourselves.  This helps trick the brain into turning outwards, triggering our natural positivity towards other humans. The words I choose for my “friend” are: “WOW!!! That’s wonderful, such an achievement!!! Enjoy the feeling of basking in your success!!!” So I am choosing to become my friend, cherish the ending, and welcome the next path in my career break, whatever the destination turns out to be.

Between the champagne, the quiet pleasure, and moving on to the new: how do you mark your achievements?

Kate Sturdy

[email protected] and LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/kate-sturdy-coaching