I was watching a programme on a famous athlete a couple of weeks ago. It was a fascinating insight into a truly driven human being; two Olympic gold medals, an OBE, he’s skied across the Antarctic, rowed across the Atlantic, run the Marathon des sables and, as if that wasn’t enough, he has decided to stand for Parliament.
What, I asked myself, would drive a man to continuous achievement at this level.
I feel the answer may lie in his unconscious and that maybe he is trying to prove to himself that he is ‘good enough’.
Most of us at some time or another may feel not good enough while trying to convince ourselves otherwise. Sometimes this comes about because we are trying to prove, perhaps to our parents, that we are worthy of being loved and admired. If we continue to be driven by this need we run the risk of becoming ‘over achievers’. The problem with this being that by over achieving we run the risk of burn out, if not now perhaps at some time in the future.
Back to my famous athlete.
His wife says he overcomes one great challenge only to move immediately on to the next, while other interviewees talked about how difficult and single minded he can be, this desire to find the next great challenge is very probably what helps make him so great.
The important point here though, is that it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks or how much he achieves as long as he realizes that he is good enough (to be loved.) And if that realization has not happened yet, when it does it may result in him not achieving materially anymore but he will have learned to value himself and to know what we all want to know, that we are worthy of being loved.