Why You Need to Acknowledge The Achievements You Never Set in the First Place

Amelia Zimmerman
2 min readSep 21, 2021
Photo by Yosef Futsum on Unsplash

Sometimes the achievements you can feel proud of weren’t ones you set out to achieve.

They are the way you stepped in when someone needed you, the way you handled heartbreak, the way you knuckled down and survived when tragedy came your way.

High achievers tend to overlook these accomplishments because they weren’t planned for. They weren’t declared in a journal or pinned to the cork board or stuck to the bathroom mirror.

But when you overlook the accomplishments you didn’t set out to achieve, you are mistaking the appearance of triggers (the things that happen to you) for accepting the call (taking responsibility for the things that happen to you).

The three-act structure of the hero’s journey begins with an inciting incident: an unwanted occurrence that disrupts the heroine’s life as she knows it. This is a trigger, a call-to-action. It is not something the hero planned; it is not something she dreamed up on New Year’s Eve.*

In fact it is so often not what the heroine had in mind that she will often refuse the call to heroism and try her hardest to maintain her status quo, to keep things as they are, to deny that anything has changed, that she might need to change.

Of course, we know this kind of turning away from it never works.

Some things cannot be wished away.

The heroine becomes so when she accepts the call. When she agrees to fight.

The things you accomplish over you life will be a marbled mix of the ones you planned for, and the ones you didn’t.

Life is always happening to you. Friends die, pandemics spread, hurricanes roll in.

Only you can decide whether it happens for you.

Unplanned does not have to be unintentional.

Do not overlook the victories you hadn’t planned on making.

Sometimes, these become your greatest work.

*Of course there are plots that begin with the heroine on an intentional quest. But at some point she will be forced to trade her original quest for the one she had never intended on going on. Why? Because what we want and what we need are often two very different things — more on this another day.

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Amelia Zimmerman

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