At What Cost

Photo by Florian Schmetz on Unsplash

There has been a lot of talk about Simone Biles and her journey of late. Most of the people I follow and connect with have come out fully supporting her and her decisions. They support her right to make her own decisions about her body and health. It makes me happy that the people I’ve surrounded myself with are individuals of empathy and compassion. 

But as always, there is the fringe where anger, resentment and jealousy thrive. People have strong feelings about a person they don’t know, a sport most have never competed in, and a level of achievement many will never reach. It’s made me think about our greater culture and views surrounding success. 

There is a lesson here for us all.

Why is it that if you have a talent it is required that you push yourself until you break? Why are we expected to burn ourselves out in the name of achievement? Why are we considered a failure if we take a step back to reevaluate our priorities? 

Why is it anyone’s business but our own?

This mindset has crept its way into most aspects of life. You must climb the corporate ladder to be respected. Your child must play on the most competitive and successful team. You must drive and strive, leaving no time for rest and leisure. If you aren’t the best at what you do, you’ve accomplished nothing.

Where has this attitude left us? We are stressed, irritable and view everything as a competition. Life is seen as something to be won instead of enjoyed. Those who take care of themselves, who put their health and family first, are seen as weak and soft.

How would our lives change if we embraced putting our emphasis on a balance of success and well-being? It shouldn’t have to be one or the other. We should study hard but also take a break and walk in the woods. We should build a killer slide deck for our work presentation but then shut down email and take the kids to the pool. We should be able to take that vacation we’ve earned without fear of retribution. 

What’s holding us back?

I believe it’s the fear of judgement by others. If we don’t do it all, and do it well, others will judge our character, our morals and our dedication. This is what has played out for Simone and any other high achieving individual who has said enough is enough. The only way out is for each of us to make a conscious choice to step back from that all or nothing mindset. We can model a healthier balance for our own children. We can’t remain hostage to the expectations of people who don’t even know us. 

What good is success if it costs us everything?

If success costs us our health, it’s not worth it.  If success costs us our marriage, it’s not worth it. If success costs us our relationship with our children, it’s not worth it. 

I challenge you to a change of direction. I challenge you to see hard work as enough, to do your best then enjoy the ride. We are all more than a list of our achievements. 

Good enough can be good enough. 

Published by Jill Robinson

Speech-Language Pathologist. Writer. Athlete. Wife. Mother. Animal lover. Not necessarily in that order.

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