Freelancing / General Journalism / Inspiration and Editors

Why are we so bad at feeling proud of our achievements?

I’ve read so much recently about the current generation of ‘youth’ – the millenials as they’re calling us – are these incredibly driven, self-starters and motivated individuals who are incessantly itching for the next big thing. They want everything. The best of the best. They want their own businesses, those businesses to be a success. And it’s pretty clear now that age is just a number when it comes to entrepreneurs – anyone can do it.

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That’s great, it really is. But the problem with always wanting something bigger and better and driving on that road to success, is that people don’t appreciate what they have right now. It’s actually pretty hard, no matter where you are in your career, to sit back and think ‘Wow, you have done a damn good job, Amy. Well done. Stop stressing for a bit.’ It’s hard to sit back, go on the ‘outside’ and look on your life and career from a different perspective. So many of us are getting so caught up on if we’re good enough, on the next step or how you can reach further up that ladder, that we don’t fully appreciate where we are now.

Take journalism – when you start out, you just want a job in it, anything to do with it. You just want somewhere to publish your work, and you don’t care if it’s paid or not. And then you get a job in it, and of course, it’s amazing and you love it, but you’re looking for your next step – where to next? Your work might be getting published, but now you want to be paid for it. And once you’re getting paid for your freelance writing, you’re thinking, but I want to be getting paid from THIS publication, or a bigger, better and more recognised publication. We get so caught up in desperately wanting to be the BEST, get those massive names in our portfolio, that we forget about what it’d be like if we didn’t have any of this. So you’ve got a job in journalism, and you’re getting paid freelance work. That’s impressive.

The problem, is that we’re constantly comparing ourselves to successful people in our industry. For me, it’s journalists who are freelancing for huge publications, obviously getting paid, and making a living out of it. Yet, if there was no one else around me and I stood back and looked at my career, I’d probably think actually, you’re not doing too bad Amy.

But we’re not programmed to think that. And with social media making it incredibly easy to follow anyone in the same industry as us, we focus more on other people’s achievements than we do our own. Sometimes I wonder, if I wasn’t myself and yet I was following ‘me’ on Twitter, would I be jealous of the lifestyle I have, through what I post on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn? Probably. I’m pretty sure following other people’s achievements is what makes us so much more inclined to ALWAYS DO MORE. And more, and write more, and pitch more, and search more for that perfect job and just be the best of the best.

But it’s so draining! Why? Because it constantly makes us feel like we’re not good enough, because we’re not happy with what we have right now. Deep down, we’re probably damn chuffed with ourselves, but it’s that drive to always do more which puts a downer on it. Just try it – write down everything you’ve done on paper that you’re proud of, and forget about those big aspirations for a minute. Write down the published work you’ve had, or the job you’ve got, or the feedback you’ve received – don’t think about anyone else. If you look at that piece of paper, I can bet you feel proud of what you’ve achieved? Journalists are passionate and driven, so I can bet that there’s work you’ve done, and choices you’ve taken that have made you proud.

So maybe we should do it more often – actually stop for a moment and think you know what, I’m actually doing pretty well right now. WELL DONE ME.

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