Have You Done Enough?
This morning I woke up thinking about accomplishments—how much I’ve done during the time I’ve been roaming the earth and how compelled I feel to do more.
Our lives are so busy and we’re so distracted that we rarely stop to take stock of how far we’ve come. In our never-ending quest to be better, to be the best, to succeed against all odds, we don’t think about how much we’ve learned, how much we’ve grown, or how we’ve helped our friends, family and community.
To bring attention to the over-doing plight many of us share, I thought I’d challenge you with an awareness exercise.
Here’s the exercise for today:
Set a timer for 15 minutes and write down every accomplishment that comes to mind. I’m not talking about major achievements or huge successes—although they certain count. I’m talking about the little things too like learning to walk, talk, ride a bike, dress yourself, and tie your shoes. Go back to your early childhood and work your way to the present. Write quickly and don’t give what comes up a lot of thought.
When the timer goes off, read through your list. Keep it handy for the next few days and keep adding to it. Notice whether your list includes a healthy balance between personal and professional successes. If not, what can you do to gain more equilibrium?
As I did this exercise (my list is at the end of this article), I was amazed by the memories that popped up. And the many things I did without giving myself credit, without appreciating how far I’ve come. I was also stunned by the randomness of the list, how defining moments were co-mingled with the mundane.
After you’re done
Congratulate yourself for being an amazing human. Take some time today and during the week to let all that you’ve done sink in. Appreciate who you are and regardless of what you were told as a child about yourself and others, recognize similarities we all share as well as the abilities that make us unique.
Yes, you’ve done enough, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop or even slow down. It means that amidst this hectic life, you can also give yourself permission to breathe and to be, rather than constantly do and achieve. Are you so busy (and important) that you can’t go for a walk, help you kids with their homework or spend a weekend camping? Okay, so you don’t like camping, but hopefully, you get the point.
No matter how its been or how it is, we all have choices about how we spend our time. I hope your list of accomplishments helps realize that there is time for following your passion and bringing more love and joy into your life.
My Accomplishments (as they popped up):
Learning to walk, talk, read, ride a bike, ice skate, color in the lines, tie my shoes, play the piano, speak some Spanish and French. Graduating from middle school, high school, and college. Getting a master’s degree, driving from Ohio to California by myself, learning to ski, swim and scuba dive, and cook. Being one of the first women to work in the video industry, a career as a corporate scriptwriter and video producer, writing at least 100 video scripts, producing videos for many nonprofit and for profit organizations. Training my dogs, finding my birth family, writing a memoir about my search, getting married, staying married, having and raising kids, getting my spouse VA benefits, buying a house, writing articles about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for a national magazine.
Coordinating tours to Africa and India, back packing through Europe after college, back packing through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, being with my parents during the end of their life, sitting with my cousin at the end of his life, producing a telethon for United Cerebral Palsy, becoming a motivational speaker, getting our daughter the medical help she needed to treat Lyme Disease, emotionally and financially supporting our son on his journey to become a professional magician, being an advocate for both of my children while they were growing up. Making donations to charity, being a good friend, forgiving myself for mistakes, working on healing my adoption issues, being a life-long learner, walking 5 miles each day, lifting weights, dancing.
Jan Fishler is an author, motivational speaker and writing coach. You can learn more about her work at www.JanFishler.net and www.DontStopNow.us, the site of her latest book.