6 Ways to Feel a Great Sense of Accomplishment
Ever feel that you have accomplished something, only to find that somehow what you have done is not as impressive or satisfying as you thought? Sometimes that attitude comes down to a lack of self-confidence or simply not being able to share it with anyone.
One of my great adventures over the last decade or so was accomplishing my goal of visiting all 50 U.S. states before turning 50 years old. I accomplished that on Sunday, 12 October 2015 at 12:30 Central Daylight Time, visiting Fargo, North Dakota, for the first time.
For some this may be meaningless or trivial, but for me it was the end of an era and cleared the way for something bigger and better. The bottom line is that any and all achievements deserve their day as they are stepping stones toward newer and better chapters in your life.
Here are the ways I make the most of even small accomplishments so that they have lasting impact.
1. Share with friends.
I shared my story of state travel with one of my closest friends, Merced. When I told her I had one more state to go she yelled: “I’M IN!” She and her husband, Scott, happily flew from Los Angeles, California, to join my wife and me on this expedition to Fargo. No Frances McDormand or wood-chipper sightings occurred, but we saw Prairie Home Companion at its home, met Garrison Keillor and all got to see fantastic fall foliage in the Midwest. We ate, drank and enjoyed each other’s company on a weekend we will all remember for the rest of our lives. My friends are now inspired to start counting their state visits as well. Accomplishments are meant to be shared for maximum impact.
2. Learn something.
I have to say that technology adds a whole new dimension to geographic exploration. We had a four-hour drive to Fargo from Minneapolis, Minnesota. We looked up so much trivia on the states around us using Google and state info apps that we were all feeling like experts by the time we arrived. We city folk got to see how the country and farming folk live and work, which gave us appreciation for the diversity of this country. Additionally our friend Scott is an amateur music expert and, thanks to Sirius-XM Radio, gave us a master class in soul and rock history. Learning something new adds richness and depth to any achievement.
3. Acknowledge those who helped.
Before I embarked on this trip, I used LinkedIn to find contacts in the area. Happily one of my column followers, Julie Brown, heads up hospitality for a Ramada group in the North Dakota region. She generously connected me with the amazing Monte Jones, who not only fed us with a wonderful brunch at the Ramada Plaza, Fargo, but also personally toured, entertained and enlightened us on Fargo, which is one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial regions in America today. Gazelles coach Jeff Redmon and his wife Cindy were incredible hosts in Wisconsin, taking us horseback riding and filling us with Polish food. These are just a few of the fantastic people who have helped in my 50 state travel. My heart swells with pride and gratitude every time I think of these experiences and all the people who helped make it all happen. Thank you to everyone involved.
Humility has its benefits, but when you hit a real milestone, do not hold back. This is the time to party. You are entitled to happiness. You are entitled to be proud of your accomplishments. Spend the day with a smile. Share the joy, and for one day or one weekend, let it be about you. You can go back to being selfless and quiet on Monday. Accomplishments, particularly those that involve many, are happiness markers for those involved. Do not let them pass without notice.
5. Write about it.
Part of the fun of an accomplishment is in the details. There are memories of this trip I can easily recall. Merced asked me questions about many of the states I visited and luckily I still have distinct recollection of nearly every visit. But my most vivid memories and learning came from those that I recorded in notes or emails. I am not one for personal journaling, but some may find value in chronicling the path to an accomplishment. Someday, your child, grandchild or protégé may find value in how you came to achieve this feat.
For 15 years, I lived with the thought that someday I would cross the border into the 50th state. Once it was done, on one hand, I felt closure and contentment. On the other hand, there was a part of me that knew it was time to redirect that energy to someplace new. I didn’t replace this goal right away. Instead, I took a few months to enjoy and think about this accomplishment. And then, I sat down and looked forward to my preferred future so I could work on the next achievement. Any accomplished goal deserves a respectful amount of reflection so you can grow and advance.
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