What is an achievement these days?

In the old days a woman had to find a husband and had to be able to get at least 3 children. If she got lucky one of her tasks was to manage a maid, if she didn’t she had to see how to feed her family.

That has changed a bit, hasn’t it? We can have it all these days, we actually are supposed to have it all these days; and then we have some dreams of what we actually want to achieve, and while trying to get there, we are all struggling along and take on the tasks as they fall into our laps. By the time we have achieved the one or the other thing, we already think that it’s all normal, and nothing special, and all the others did so much more…and nobody else is talking about it either, we can count ourselves lucky to get a sheet of paper that says ‘certificate’ or a pat on the shoulder.

The press and the telly tells us that achievement shows in the size of our houses or the horsepower of the car - well, there are quite a few people who are cheating this image using a credit card a bit too much. And I just resent that idea that achievement has to go along with monetary gain - admittedly it's nice if it does, but it doesn't have to!

I hope you enjoyed Imola’s account on how she came to running and how much this adds to her life. Her article came flying into my mailbox like a little butterfly. It was during a time of doubt and weakness. The damn flu had taken me down for the fourth time this winter, just that I had the feeling of being able to become really good in my sport again. I had found Claire, who really wants to give the heavy weight stuff a shot, and who only had been training with me for a few weeks - and I had to let her down. I couldn’t write because my head was all numb – and when I can’t write, I get depressed.

Imola had sensed it - and came to the rescue: Giving me her article firstly meant that I had something to publish and getting something like a real edition together. It secondly meant the appreciation for the work I’m doing - the acknowledgement that the web site, the shape I’m in, the circle of friends I have and the day job I’m doing: Is something worthwhile doing! And it thirdly meant that it inspired me, so that my brain eventually started working again. I opened my eyes and there they were, all these Incredible Ladies!

Imola herself has taken upon her a new challenge in going back to school, so to say, and to specialise in her field – with the implication that she has to change her entire lifestyle; Farnaz has made it from a medical Doctor who wasn’t even allowed to work in this country as she was not British, to partner in a surgery, while getting and raising two kids; Claire who after raising four kids got fed up of gaining a little bit more around the waist year after year and now is turning round the wheel and has become a confident and fit woman.

And there is Sally who somehow managed to become a successful lawyer with 3 kids while fighting celiac disease she didn’t even know of until recently; Isabelle with her two cute girls, fighting lack of sleep while finding peace of mind in her Salsa school, arts and crafts classes and in perusing her education to become a councillor; Iwona, working full time and going to college for interior design classes. Wherever I look there they are, doing incredible things...

... all of them women who actually think that they are doing normal stuff and that there is nothing special about it. I know that a lot of them started off, because it was – sort of - a necessity. They needed some space for themselves to stay sane in their mind, or the day job was not actually brain surgery and they needed a challenge, or society expected them to pursue a career: ‘Child, you learned that now! Get a job and make money from it’, or in order to do be able to do the job at all, they had to become really good in it and having to live by the 'all or nothing' principle.

However, the skill of all of them was to find the passion within the task they chose. I’m sure they had - and have - times like I had a few days ago, when they asked themselves: ‘What the heck am I doing here? And Why?’

And that’s the moment when we all could do with a bit of a confirmation and a little butterfly: ‘Yes, you are doing the right thing!’ At the moment the circumstances might be working a bit against you - but that doesn’t question the goal you have set yourself. Nothing has changed there; it is as valid as it was at the beginning. Your sanity of mind will keep your family sane and prosperous, your passion for your work will inspire your colleagues and will make a difference to your clients, and your enthusiasm and empathy will make the day of the people you meet.

And if you don’t call that an achievement – I don’t know what you do!

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Author: Rika