Wisdom//

Look Within to Conquer the Need for “More”

Hey overachievers, this one's for you.

Courtesy of batjaket/Shutterstock
Courtesy of batjaket/Shutterstock

Brit Marling, co-creatrix and lead character on Netflix’s acclaimed show “The OA,” spoke in a recent interview about being an overachiever all her life and her decision to leave her promising career at Goldman Sachs. She realized how dissatisfied and numb she felt, and yet at the same time knew she needed to find a new way of being instead of popping mood enhancing pills to keep going on.

This is a widespread epidemic among the high-achieving women I encounter all the time in my leadership work with female entrepreneurs and business leaders.

All too often, we women believe that we need to “keep on going and push through it.” We don’t want to show any weaknesses. We are overly concerned with not wanting to rock the boat. Instead of contemplating what’s really going on, we try to “fix” the problem by pursuing other opportunities, aiming for better work-life balance, buying ourselves something nice, or going on a holiday in the hope that these feelings of dissatisfaction, boredom, frustration, exhaustion, and numbness will disappear.

Don’t let yourself be drawn in by shiny-object-syndrome, or seduced by clever marketing tactics, other people’s ideas on how to “be” and “do” things, or any form of instant gratification. None of these will make you feel better for long.

In reality, you will remain in the same place with the same pain, because guess what? You haven’t changed.

Even if these distractions and temporary quick-fixes might have you convinced for a moment that you’ve done something about the problem, really, you have just temporarily numbed the pain.

While Sheryl Sandberg’s best-selling book Lean In has been the catalyst for many women to lean in more to achieve the level of success they desired, a recent study by researchers has shown that there are many important limitations with this approach. 

It’s not always enough to lean in, because that sh*t doesn’t work all the time. -Michelle Obama

So, what is working?

Let go of the belief that outer circumstances are going to lead to internal happiness.

Realize that no amount of pushing, working harder, or doing “more” is going to give you what you truly crave. And neither is accumulating more pretty things in your closet, buying expensive gadgets, or reading yet another book full of information without applying any of it in real life.

It might sound paradoxical, but only by going within – beyond just superficial mindset work – are we able to illuminate what’s really going on underneath and alchemize our pain, patterns, and obstacles to our desires and transform our outside experience.

Deciding who you want to BE matters.

Instead of dimming our light and hiding to fit in, we need to bring more of ourselves to the table (both in our private lives and work). Especially as women, we have been taught from a very early age through toxic patriarchal conditioning that we need permission from others. We need to accommodate, to please others, to not be “too much,” too vocal, too controversial, or too you-name-it to get validation and love from others.

However, while that may serve those around you, let me ask you: How is this serving you, your happiness, your fulfillment, and your sanity?

When you finally stop trying to be different than you are and instead focus on loving and embodying who you are at your core, you become more powerful, more flexible, more adaptable, and more creative.

Material ambitions and outer success go hand-in-hand with a prosperous and rich inner life

Through evolution, it’s wired into our very fabric of being to continue to aspire higher, no matter what we have already achieved. We have this desire to evolve.

This is becoming more and more relevant in our world today, moving away from just wanting to accumulate wealth and be handsomely paid for our work to a trend where we are aspiring to something “higher,” to more meaning, purpose, and impact – where outer and inner prosperity go hand-in-hand.

This is what will create lasting joy within, and this will be an innate driving force in your life, propelling you forward to manifest all your goals. Because what good is it if you achieve all the financial success you desire when your sanity, health, and the rest of your life is falling apart?

Originally published on Ellevate.

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- MARCUS AURELIUS

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