When we talk of accomplishments, the obvious one as a parent, and probably the biggest cliché of them all, granted true, is giving birth. Now whilst I agree it’s a pretty big feat, although both of mine were kind and came in 75 minutes, and 9minutes respectively, when I was recently asked the question, it made me think beyond parenthood…
The Oxford Dictionary defines the meaning of the word ‘accomplishment’ as, ‘Something that has been achieved successfully.’ But it got me thinking… is it only things we literally achieve that are deemed accomplished and help to define us, or are intangible ‘successes’ also classed as a win.
The question is so powerful and really got me thinking all week, and I wanted to spread that thought and encourage others to ponder the same issue. Therefore, being intrigued, and using social media as my chosen platform, I asked friends what they deemed as they’re biggest accomplishment to date, and was amazed by the varied and truly fabulous responses I got.
I’m a strong believer that our lives and our being are not really etched out by just one thing, that there’s not just a singular attribute that defines us, that each person may be bad at one thing but be totally amazeballs at something else. And in the same thought, surely it’s a collection of our accomplishments that make us who we are today. Your education, your house, your car, your job all define you and the proud accomplishments you’ve achieved to get these things become your identity, on which you get judged from the outside world, but for me, it delves much deeper.
I’ve done a ton of cool stuff. Jumped out of a plane, travelled the world for a year, watched the first sunrise of the 21st century on the beach with a glass in hand, camped under the Milky Way in the Australian outback, all of which I’m super proud of. But I’ve also cared for someone who needed it, raised a lot of money for charity, made someone who was ill cry with laughter, held my mother’s hand as she took her last breath, all of which I feel contribute to the person I am today. And the best bit, they mean absolutely nothing to anyone else.
And what about personal traits? Being patient, kind, loving, helpful, respectful. We’re not born with these built in, they’re inherited and taught by our parents, but are these also things that we can deem as accomplished by the time we get to adult life? Just because they can’t be seen, and there’s no certificate to prove it, is it any less of a significance to our make up and definition of ones self?
I don’t believe your past defines your future and therefore the answer to this thoughtful, and somewhat philosophical question will more than likely change in a lifetime, possibly more than once, played out by age, life experience and new challenges, but the deeper accomplished qualities gained will always remain, as the core of who we really are on the inside.
The question was asked to me in a business environment and initially I struggled with whether I should go with a personal answer about the children and my time overseas, or more of a professional one about my Masters degree or career thus far, but decided to keep it simple…
“I’m proud of all the accomplishments that have got me to this point in my life, the big and the small, the personal and the professional, as they all make me who I am today, siting right here, right now.”
We should of course be proud of bringing our babies into the world, but should be just as proud of all our achievements, the personal intimate ones, the ‘shout it from the rooftop’ ones, and the built in ones that no one else can see. Own them. They are who you are.