Surviving "Achievement Culture" & My Modified 2019 Resolutions

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Sorry for the dramatic-ass title, but most days I really do feel so overwhelmed. I haven't yet transcended "achievement culture," which means, at a real advantage to everyone I work for, I tend to tether my self-worth to my productivity. I also have multiple side gigs/passion projects that at times feel like full-time commitments within themselves. Add to that my complete unwillingness to delegate, my intense (rarely rightly so) personality, and a vague determination to be well-read and well-exercised... and you understand why a lifetime of sleep deprivation has left me a meager 5'1". I know "busy" is not a substitute for a real personality, but busy is what we're working with until I have a man I get to sacrifice for my career.

I know I'm not alone in this. All of my friends are ambitious, well-rounded, highly disciplined people - even when they don't always acknowledge this in themselves. But I think while there's so much glorified tiredness/stress and commercialized self-care, we don't talk enough about the stigma surrounding the poles of effort and failure. What it's like to visibly put in 110% every waking moment and still feel inadequate. One of my modified resolutions for the year - because sorry, but the "generosity, love, and light" bit is really not working out - is to be more transparent about how my big, fiery temperament has also led to big, fiery failures. I am as abrasive as I am passionate, and struggle to balance my own tunnel vision with the need to work among giants.

So here are the modified resolutions and affirmations for the rest of this year. You can read my January 2019 version here, and while I'll certainly aspire for that level of human grace, I've had to set goals closer to my current, haggard state of being.

Service over self.
One of my greatest peeves in life is people who chase titles and accolades with minimal intention of actually earning them. One night, I told my sister over drinks that I was going to be a "very important person one day" (as a joke, to warn her to stop telling people embarrassing shit about me) and my uncle told me to sit the f*ck down and focus on how I can serve the people around me first with no expectation of praise or reward. The people truly deserving of those honors have no qualms about when or if they'll receive them. At the same time, I can be hugely insecure and cling to my little titles as a form of validation. I'm hoping this will be the year I learn to put work first, worry about credit later. (But like, is this also a woman thing? Where we aren't as egocentric as men and that's why we fall behind in "traditional" ways? Will revisit in Q3. For now, the goal is just to keep it low key.)

Chill the f*ck out. Or at least keep it to myself.
I got a teeny little Moleskine where I jot down all the (hundreds of) petty thoughts I have instead of texting/Snapchatting/saying them out loud, and I'd equate the catharsis to getting a bit of froyo when you really want a fat-ass cone of ice cream. It's functionally equivalent, just enough to keep you from doing something you'll really regret. I just don't want to be notorious for talking trash when I'd rather be known for doing solid, at times excellent work. I also want to be held more accountable for the times when my temper tantrums are just that, masquerading as full-bodied critique. My vision board is be more Toni Morrison, less The Bachelor suite confessions.

Hope everyone else's Q1/Q2s have exceeded expectations.

More love -- the most love,

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