The Accomplishment Let-Down.

winToday is an odd sort of day with multiple feelings to share.  I graduated on Friday with my Masters of Science in Computer Information Systems from Missouri State University.  It was a day I had worked two years to reach.  To be honest, it was rather surreal by the time it came to walk across the stage and be hooded (with the MS hood).  I had family by my side and we spent the entire weekend together just enjoying the moment.  One thing everyone kept asking me was “how does it feel to be done?” or commenting “It must feel great to be done!” In reality, I don’t feel relief or an overwhelming sense of accomplishment – yet.  I’m sure it will come but is not that day.  Today I feel a little lost.

This is not a new roller coaster ride; I’ve sensed this before.  Other major accomplishments in my life have been met with the same build-up and excitement with the same sort of empty feeling afterwards.  I think it is because the goal is achieved and my question is “now what?”  I believe that this is a cycle that all leaders need to be aware of for ourselves and for our teams.  We each have goals (usually more than one) that we are working towards, with milestones along the way.  The idea is to achieve and to reach the end goal, but then what?  In some ways it can be a big let-down or an emotional crash after such an emotional high for major accomplishments.  We see the results of our achievements and we know what it took to get us to the goal line, but like running a race – what do you do after you cross the line? You celebrate the moment but you find the next race to run because that one is now over.

What I am learning about myself during this time of reflection is that I like to achieve, and I like to have goals.  The important thing is to find that next goal or next hill to climb and find it fast. Without my goals I feel a little out of place or out of focus and start to founder. At least for me, I need my challenges to keep my enthusiasm and energy level high.  I am all for taking time off or taking breaks to unwind or relax after a stressful time, but as driven and focused people, I think we thrive on moving forward instead of standing still.  I know I am looking for my next ‘project’ because it is important to keep going.  Friday was amazing and this past weekend with family was indescribable fun but it is over now.  On to the next great adventure!!

Lori Buresh

CEO, The Professional Development Team


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  1. #1 by diana brown on May 21, 2013 - 8:21 pm

    Congratulations Lori. My observation is that this life is more about the journey and all we encounter along the way as it serves to enrich us beyond measurement.

  2. #2 by J on May 22, 2013 - 8:44 am

    My thoughts exactly! I just graduated with my MBA on Saturday.

  3. #3 by Nicole McCullum on May 22, 2013 - 9:08 am

    Congratulations Lori! I agree with Diana, achieving the goal is more about the journey than the end result. Too often we think, when I achieve this goal then I will be happy only to get there and not be happy, because there is always going to be something else to achieve. So its about enjoying the journey and living in contentment while focusing on new goals.

  4. #4 by The Professional Development Team on May 22, 2013 - 11:29 am

    Nicole and Diana – you are right. One of my other friends made the same comment. To be fair, I enjoyed the process immensely. I wrote to my professors thanking them for their efforts and patience. I learned at least one concept or method from each one that was directly relevant to my professional career. I wouldn’t say it is missing the forest for the trees in this case – I loved the process as well. Now that it is all over though, I find that I feel a little discombobulated until I figure out my next path and goals ahead.

    J – congratulations to you!!

  5. #5 by Annemarie on May 27, 2013 - 11:32 pm

    And I thought I was the only one! Graduated with my Executive MBA from the University of San Francisco a week ago and yes, it was surreal and yes, I am struggling with “what now”? Loved the program but am definitely feeling the letdown.

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