As I was training for a marathon the last few months, I got into the routine of listening to podcasts during the long runs. I found this to be therapeutic, and a great way to pass the time. I’ve continued to listen to podcasts (this is my favorite), and the other day I went for a long run and listened to Tim Ferriss’ recent podcast episode with Tony Robbins. And there was one line that hit me so hard:
The biggest lie we’re told is that achievement is more important than fulfillment.
This was profound because my life has always centered around achievement. I am a goal-oriented person, and the exercise of setting and achieving goals gives me worth. It gives me purpose.
Hearing that line turned my world upside down.
In his recent documentary (I’ve been on a Tony Robbins binge lately), Tony goes on to share the question we ask ourselves often uncovers our deepest fear. After some internal reflection, I uncovered that the question I ask myself consistently is: How can I become better? Which led me to articulate that my greatest fear is that I’m not good enough.
I’m a perfectionist. It’s my greatest strength, but if I’m not careful it can also be my greatest weakness. Being a perfectionist has given me insatiable ambition and drive, but also at times I find myself yearning for fulfillment — to turn off the engine and enjoy the moment without feeling like I need to do something.
Listening to Tony’s words of wisdom, I’ve learned and started to internalize (still a work in progress) that life isn’t about achievement or accomplishment. Life is about fulfillment. Life is about growth. Because when we grow, we have something to give. And life is most fulfilled when we give something to the world.
I am now challenging myself to shift the narrative from “How can I become better?” to “How can I embrace my imperfection?”
What does that mean? I’ve articulated the following things:
- Enjoy the journey. Setting and achieving goals is incredibly admirable, and something I’ll continue to do with the same intensity. But the goal in of itself is not fulfilling, it’s the journey — with all the ups and downs — that makes it all worth it. I’m now enjoying the moment and embracing all that comes with it. One way I’m committed to enjoying the journey is by reflecting on 5 things I’m grateful for as part of my morning routine.
- Be authentic. Not liked. I’ve always been a people pleaser, and someone who wants to be liked by others. At my worst, I will say or do things that I think people want in an effort to gain their approval. In the process, I lose a bit of myself. Rather than being liked, I’m embracing my true identity. Because at the end of the day, trying to emulate someone else is exhausting. I’m now investing my time and energy in those who love me for who I am. Allen Iverson said it best: “There’s gonna be a million people that love Allen Iverson. There’s gonna be a billion people that hate Allen Iverson. Concentrate on the ones that care about you and keep steppin’.” One way I’m committed to being authentic is identifying and resisting those moments when I’m tempted to change how I talk or act in front of others, whether it’s in a business meeting, on a date, or a chance encounter with a stranger.
- Share life more. I’m an extreme extrovert, who loves people and derives energy from being around others. Although I’m outgoing, it takes a long time for me to really open up to someone and let them into my world. I think this mentality comes from my fear of not being good enough, and the potential that by exposing my true, raw self, others will not value what they see in me. One way this has manifested itself is that I’ve never had a serious, long-term relationship with a girl. It’s always been surface-level, fleeting relationships. I’m great at dates 1–5, but as it starts to get more serious, I start to unravel and act differently, and to no surprise, the relationship (or potential for one) dissipates. Rather than run away from something that may expose my true self, I‘m now remaining steadfast and secure in what I have to offer and sharing that with others. One way I’m committed to sharing my life more is by investing the same energy and passion as I do with my career into dating. I’ve always treated dating as a “it’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen.” Now, I’ve become more intentional with dating, and I’m embracing it without fear of being judged.
What is your fear rooted in? What question have you been consistently asking yourself? How will you change the narrative and evolve that question to not only confront your fear, but overcome it?
I’m excited to hear more from you.