By Mira Nassef
A word that arouses a certain feeling, a feeling we all wish to feel at times in our lives. At Toastmasters, we hear this word often. Whether it’s during a regular meeting in which we award a member, or during a larger event in which we celebrate those who earned special distinctions, achievement is not an unfamiliar term to us members. But what is achievement and what does it take to say with pride that you achieved something? It starts with a definition.
According to the Oxford dictionary, achievement means, “a thing done successfully with effort, skill and courage.” By skill if you mean talent there is some good news I’d like to share about that. In her book “Grit – The Power of Passion and Perseverance”, psychologist Angela Duckworth, explains that talent is more a “nice to have” than an essential ingredient for success. Hard work, determination, a set goal, and well, grit, make up the framework of one’s sense of achievement. The goal can be anything that is regarded as challenging, that can feel overwhelming at times, but that you still get up and do anyway until the end. I believe a goal becomes an achievement once it has been actualized, a transformation from one state to another. Think caterpillar in its chrysalis stage. And the more time and energy we devote to our goal, the more important the feeling of achievement we get when it is actualized. Also interesting to note is that achievement is not just a thing accomplished, it is also a feeling. We feel like we achieved something when we celebrate it with our friends, colleagues, family members or fellow members.
For one, I have achieved things on my own without celebrating the fact that I achieved it, like a workout program, but other things I believe are an achievement, such as a gourmet dish I prepared, are worth celebrating on Instagram.
Each of us have our own definition of what achievement means and it is in how we celebrate our own achievements that is indicative of our perception of it. However important achievements, from giving your first ice breaker to fulfilling your duty as a club officer, are all worth celebrating. The joy of being a Toastmaster is to know that my speaking and leadership achievements are waiting to be celebrated as I hope to inspire other members to take a step further into their speaking and leadership journey. But I also believe it is important to celebrate our personal achievements in our own way, to give ourselves some positive assertion – something we don’t do often enough, because our toughest audience in the world is ourselves.
If you want to find your call to action to work on a goal, look no further to what achievement means to you. You need not have a talent, but a determination to do it, the courage to tune out negative voices, to put all your effort and passion, or grit, into it. By gathering these essential ingredients into your arsenal, you are well on your way to turning a goal into an achievement. And don’t forget to celebrate when you’ve reached your goal, remember, a goal that is reached becomes an achievement.