Your Most Important Conversation
This Is Not on You

Catching Up to Your Own Success


"Reading your own bio is more painful than looking at current photos." 

I've been helping a friend update his bio. Several days after sending him the first draft, his response email came and literally made me laugh out loud. "I am learning that reading your own bio is more painful than looking at current photos."

I laughed because I related so much to the raw truth of his statement. 

My friend's career has taken a huge uplevel that puts him in the very top echelon in his field. And, while his ascent has been organic and based on decades of study, practice and proven success, the latest leap is the stuff of dreams personified. Thus, the need for a new bio.

It got me thinking about how sometimes there are those comfortable parts of ourselves - as in the parts that fit-like-an-old-shoe - that aren't quite ready for the big accomplishments and successes that happen to and for us. And, once you see yourself in that elevated position, in black and white, in meaningful descriptive words, the way others already see you, and the way the rest of the world is about to know you, it can take a minute to catch up. For the rest of yourself to catch up.

In fact, for me, there have been times in my life when I felt I went backward after a big leap. Where the fear of being able to actually survive and thrive at the new higher base camp, sent me back a few thousand feet.

When you think about it, mountain climbers who set their sites on a major pinnacle must do so in increments. They spend time at the elevated base camp to become acclimated to the higher elevation. They have to allow their bodies to catch up. To become comfortable with the new normal. Once they have, they can keep moving upward. And, every few thousand feet they must get acclimated again. 

The same can be said for your life and career. When something major happens - a promotion, a huge book launch, a major product line unveiling, a big sale from your life's work, a high profile invitation to sit at the big table - it makes complete sense that you might need to take a moment. Or several. To acclimate to your new base camp.  To enjoy the view, as well as the fruits of your labor; to get comfortable in your new suit of clothing. Adjusting. Loosening the bindings so that it fits. Making room for all of you. 

I used to think it was self-sabotage, those moments when I took a step back, and when the committee in my head would come up with all the reasons why I didn't deserve it.

Now, with the help of my brilliant up-leveled friend, I see that it really was simply space, a pause, a comma that was needed in order for the rest of me to catch up. It provides the chance to say to the self that's lagging behind, "It's okay, I've got this. How about you get in the backseat and I'll drive for a bit. Until you can catch up."

So take a minute. Get acclimated to your awesomeness. 

Photo by Samuel Clara on Unsplash