Center Your Inner Achiever
5 Things to Center Your Inner Achiever
By Dr. Elke
In a recent conversation, some awesome dude (Mike Reid, Founder of Good Read Magazine and longtime true friend) asked me; "What is it like after you've chased the letters after your name"?
I answered him with; "I'm still chasing the next thing. It's just a different kind of chase." And in true reflection, it was never a chase after letters; it was simply the desire to reach higher in every way. I've always had this (unhealthy) internal push for more - to add on and read more and do more and discover more and add on some more without realizing that by adding on I was distracting myself from what I already was. Who I already am. And how that person doesn't need more add-ons. She is already enough. She can refine what is already there and truly grow.
I'm working on that version of myself right now.
I felt drawn to share this story because the more real we are with each other, the more we help each other. We are all on our separate journeys but we are more entwined than we know. I want my life and practice to be based on the sharing of love, talent, and experience. It's all about how we can enrich each other's lives. This is our legacy.
Here's what I've learned so far in this achievers journey. Here are 5 things that can help to center your inner achiever.
Disclaimer: I'm not suggesting that being an achiever is bad. NOT AT ALL! It's awesome to have a strong internal drive forward. It's a beautiful thing. I'm suggesting that we take a look at seeing what's here and now and not just fixing our focus on the future and on becoming without realizing who we've already become.
Find the stillness within the chase.
I wasn't consciously aware that I was chasing anything until I had gotten to the end of school and realized that what I had just completed was so gruelling and intense that it must have been a chase for something. I reflected on how everything that I've ever done has always been an attempt to be the best version of it. The key word though is 'attempt'. I've never wanted to achieve more for recognition, I've been driven by self-inflicted high expectations. No one was telling me what I needed to do or that I wasn't good enough but I'm realizing that I've been telling myself that for a really long time. Too long. I've been telling myself that for so long that it's ingrained. So embedded that it continues to be a journey within itself to remove the negative self-talk.
My personal solution? Positive affirmation and meditation. Two very difficult things. Practicing these can be difficult but that's the point. It's a practice for a reason. Meditation can be at home, in nature, or wherever I am. It takes me to a place of endless possibility and clarity. You don't always have to sit for hours and Om your way into meditation. You can even take just 5 minutes out of your morning or day, stick your earbuds in and listen to a guided meditation in an app like Headspace or YogaGlo etc. Then grow in the practice and have a deeper understanding of what works for you and your life. Affirmations have slowly become less of an eye-roll and closer to definitive belief in my power and my completeness. During the practice it takes effort but it means that the rest of the time it's easier to come back to center, to love, to ease, to gratitude, and to the best version of me.
I can still achieve great things but I find that now – the stillness within the race reminds me that I already have achieved great things. Everything else is gravy.
Have goals with feeling.
If there is one thing that has struck me with past goals is that once I reached them, I had barely noticed because I had always been thinking, "yeah but what's next?". I was introduced to a wonderful author/influencer named Danielle Laporte. She wrote a book that changed the way I think called the Desire Map. Through reading it I was lit with joy as I felt it was written just for me – I needed to stop making goals just to have goals, I needed to understand the why behind those goals in a much deeper way. Once we discover what we want to feel in our lives, it's much easier to make decisions and goals. Not only that but we will feel when we're journeying towards those goals, staying in the now and loving the process along the way, as well as truly feeling when we've accomplished those goals. We always plan for things to go a certain way and most of the time it doesn't happen the ways our finite minds have worked them out too. In this way, I have begun to revel in moments - in small accomplishments as well as larger ones. It has lead me away from achieving the goal and instead into a drive to maintain the feelings that I want throughout my life and just happening to grow at the same time. For me, it has spread from goals into daily life – where certain smells, sounds, tastes and textures that I have identified as special to me bring me to a place where I am reminded that I am living and it's awesome.
Find your tribe.
It's true that you are a function of the people you surround yourself with. We know this. If you hang out with people that bring you down, make you uncomfortable, constantly complain and hate on life, it's likely to bring down your vibration. Most of the time we can control this. Leave. Defriend. Unfollow.
I can't stress how important it has been for me to find my tribe. I have a good one and I'm excited to watch it grow as I grow. We all have so much to offer each other. My husband, my family, my friends, my patients, my mentors – that seems like a lot but my current tribe is tight. If you are committed to achieving great things (even small great things), you need to allow into your circle those who raise your vibration, positively challenge you, and are doing cool shit that you admire. Your tribe is your community and you're the mayor of you-ville.
For some reason, it took my 20-something-year-old Dutch language tutor to remind me to make mistakes. He wasn't the first one to tell me it was okay to make mistakes but his words made all the others finally sink in. If we don't fail or make mistakes we don't learn or grow or adapt. It's scary for me to make mistakes. It makes me feel self-conscious and inadequate. I lost my mother when I was younger and even though other people who also have a hard time making mistakes still have mothers, I know that part of it for me comes from not having someone there telling me it'll be okay. I needed to hear it from her. I needed to know that no matter what, things will work out the way they are supposed to and I'll always have her to take me into her arms even if things don't go the way I thought they would. This journey has been bountiful in mistakes and look! I'm still here, achieving awesome things.
If you like the idea of helping others, you can always change the way you look at mistakes – if you share and show your mistakes, other people get to learn from them too! So you're really just making mistakes because you're a helpful and loving person.
Mistakes turn into learning, which turns into altering directions or attempting something in a different way and simply just doing better next time. You can't do better until you've done worse. So get out of your own way, release the resistance you hold onto so that you can flow through it and grow.
Find joy in the little things.
Game changer – living in a state of gratitude. That shit is off the hook. When you're constantly trying to get to the next level, learn the next thing, or level up in any way, it can be hard to see how far you've come. But what if you don't have the chance to get there or do that? Making a conscious effort to be thankful for the everyday things has drastically altered the way that I see my life and situations. It can be really difficult at times to see the good in the bad and in difficult situations but this is where the work is. I am honoured to be where I am, no matter how difficult. Gratitude means counting your blessings and an action so simple can be tremendously transformative for your mindset. Try to think of three things you're grateful for. I bet you won't be able to stop at three. Now do that every day. If your gratitude is for someone, tell them, pass on the awesome feeling. It's a practice, it's a muscle that we need to build but with that comes strength of mind and spirit, and the entrance to a life of joy.
Our mindset is so powerful. The ripples it creates not only affect us but the people around us and we have no idea how far they reach. We have the ability to raise our own vibration. Don't wait until something happens, or for someone to do it for you, or for you to accomplish something first. Your "I'll-be-happy-when" moment is happening right now.
As I reflect on all of this, I notice a theme of growth. It's no longer about achieving per se but about growing. Let's not think about it as reaching the next thing or gaining more letters. Let's remember that it's really all about growth - getting higher in our ability to express and revel in the truest and best version of ourselves. We can do that by centering our inner achiever and diving deeper into ourselves. Listen. Right now. I am content. I am joyful. I am complete.
P.S No one asked me to talk about Headspace, YogaGlo, The Desire Map – you know, no kickbacks or anything just real things that I like.