Exploring My Need to Achieve Greatness

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A Personal Reflection

When I look back what I realize is that even though I was able to achieve my goals, there was never an end to it. Once I achieved a goal, the happiness was short lived and then I wanted to achieve the next thing. I always had a strong inner drive to work, be successful and create impact. I took my academics seriously, went to study in the UK on scholarship, and landed jobs at great companies in London, UK. 

When I was tired of the 9-to-5 corporate grind in London, I dreamed of working at a business where I could bring more consciousness into the way corporates work; I believed and still believe that if leaders of organizations were more conscious, they would make better decisions for themselves, their employees, their customers and the planet as a whole. And so my dream was to work in the intersection of consciousness and the world of work. Within 3 years of having this dream, I had the chance to open a co-working space in Sri Lanka with this mission at heart.

So today I talk from the space of someone who has had a lot of their dreams come true. Sometimes even better than they thought it would turn out.

One of my biggest learnings from this lifetime of striving to make a difference came when the pandemic hit. First, I felt a huge sense of relief when everything stood still, I finally had space to breathe. By allowing myself to slow down and reflect, I realized that even though I had everything I could possibly want, I was still unhappy. I felt a lack of impact, I felt insecure at how I performed versus competitors and most of all I was exhausted by trying to prove myself as a leader, an entrepreneur, a mother, a boss, a wife and so on.

I realised that behind this drive to make an impact on the world, and achieve greatness, there was a deep sense of unworthiness in me. I needed to prove my worth to the world, and no amount of outer achievements made me feel satisfied with my sense of worth. Maybe for a few weeks or maximum a month, I felt successful. And then I needed to achieve something bigger to feel worthy and successful, and on and on the cycle had to continue. 

Months of meditation and deep inner practice revealed to me that my inner self worth can ONLY come from WITHIN me. In trying to validate my sense of worth through my accomplishments, I was trying to fill a bottomless pit. No level of achievement would fill it, because the belief inside me was that I was unworthy.

Right from our childhood, we are told, “You are a Good Girl if you do this, and a Bad Girl if you do that”. Unconsciously we are made to believe that our sense of worth is dependent on our actions. 

When I let go of the need to prove my worth to the outside world, I felt a shift take place within me. I learnt how to work in a state of flow, rooted in the belief that I am enough, I have enough and I do enough! The internal peace I feel as I end each work day is unmatchable to the success felt after striving to make one goal after another come true. Strangely, in this flow, more is accomplished effortlessly. New ideas pour in, I see numerous possibilities to take my work forward, and there is no force to make things happen. I find myself more aligned and in tune with life. 

I have learnt that the key is to not force, but instead allow new seeds of insights and inspirations to grow, naturally and in their own time. Let’s allow things to come into our life knowing that we are enough, we have enough and we do enough. Notice how this feels in you. Where thoughts go, energy flows. Let’s invite new energy into our field, so that we can create a space of worth, contentment and joy. 

If you roughly divide the men and women I’ve interviewed into two groups – those who feel a deep sense of love and belonging, and those who struggle for it – there is only one variable that separates the groups: Those who feel lovable, who love, and who experience belonging simply believe they are worthy of love and belonging. They don’t have easier or better lives, they don’t have fewer struggles with addiction or depression, and they haven’t survived fewer traumas or bankruptcies or divorces, but in the midst of all these struggles, they have developed practices that enable them to hold on to the belief that they are worthy of love, belonging and even joy.”

Brene Bown, Researcher who spent 12 years studying the link between connection, worthiness, shame and vulnerability

If you would like more of such content from me, please sign up for my personal newsletter. The newsletter will explore different aspects of how we can rebuild our relationship with ourselves and our work, so that we can “Show Up” from a space of clarity, knowing who we are and what we are here to do!

I have come to realize that every achievement, the ability to withstand every challenge, the confidence to adapt to new situations really boils down to the relationship which you have with yourself.

On the other hand, today, with work weeks extending 40-60 hours, we spend most of our lives at work and therefore our relationship with our work also has a direct impact on the contentment we feel in our lives.

Through this newsletter, I aim to explore both these things. And so my passion really is to talk about career progression, alongside personal growth. Outer success alongside inner exploration. Outer achievement alongside inner balance.

Click here to sign up for the newsletter!

edited by Adria Pereira and Nadeesha Paulis

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