Stop Qualifying Your Successes

Last week I hit a major milestone towards a physical goal I’d set for myself this year: I did six chin-ups in a row without stopping (my goal is to get to seven… so close!). And after I hit six, my first reaction was “Yes!!! I just reached a personal best.” But hot on the heels of my mini-celebration came a second thought: “But I didn’t fully extend each time, so it doesn’t really count.”

And as I finished that thought, I had to check myself. Because – perhaps like many people – more often than I’d like, I find myself qualifying my achievements instead of owning them.

You might find you do this too. Someone will tell you what a great job you did on something and you’ll immediately reply “Ugh, but I was so nervous” or “But I totally messed up on that one part…” Or you might hit a financial target but then tell yourself “It doesn’t really count because it’s turnover, not profit” or “It’s already earmarked for that new project, so nets out…”

And while we may not have extended all the way down, or did mess up a bit, or did “just” increase our turnover instead of our profit, the success still counts. Of course it does.

But by continually qualifying or minimizing or discounting our achievements, we qualify and minimize and discount ourselves. We  tell ourselves we are not enough. That nothing we do will ever be enough (and do we really need another voice giving us that message?!).

And that constant feeling of lack, of not “really” measuring up is toxic. To our goals, our ambitions, and to every cell of our being. And we need to cut that shit out.

So the next time you find yourself rushing to take your successes away from yourself, check yourself and then correct yourself. Yes, there is always more work to do and maybe something you could have done better. But remember: six is six, great is great, and enough is enough.

You did it. Now own it. 

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About Me
Rupal Patel logo
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Rupal is a born-and-bred New Yorker now living near London. Her high-octane career as a CIA officer turned serial entrepreneur has taken her from military briefing rooms in jungles and war zones to corporate boardrooms and international stages.

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