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Dealing with Achievement Guilt

What are the most common things that stand in the way of our successes in life? Most books on achievement and success will point to the usual suspects – procrastination, lack of focus, absence of action, etc. There is one big roadblock, though, that most don’t talk about: Achievement guilt. Of all of the forces that pull us away from achieving our goals, this is perhaps the most insidious.
Success is a wonderful thing, but getting there involves a lot of change. Change in the way you do things, change in the way you look at the world, and changes in your personal expectations. As you begin to make these changes, one of the first things you start to notice is that the world you used to live in isn’t all changing with you. Coworkers, peers, friends and family – may all be very content with where they are, and may not share your interest in achieving new things. You are now faced with a dilemma. If you continue to do the things you need to do to become more successful, you will be distancing yourself from the very people who are most important to you. You will be making different kinds of decisions, doing different things and focusing in different areas. If, on the other hand, you try to keep the status quo in your relationships, you will find yourself unable to move forward to any significant degree. If you do decide to move forward and pursue your dreams, the guilt of seemingly abandoning the people around you can be paralyzing.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that this sense of separation is more perception than reality. Doing different things or aspiring to different, loftier, goals might make you stand out, but it doesn’t necessarily make you stand apart. It doesn’t change the intrinsic nature of your relationships. Assuming that your pursuit of success hasn’t caused you to abandon your fundamental values and principles (in which case, is it really success?), then the real connection to the important people in your life is still very much there.
Once you come to this realization, you will also discover another wonderful thing about these people who are such an important part of your life. Rather than being anchors holding you back, you will discover that they are your greatest supporters, propelling you forward – as well as being your safety net should things go sideways. Yes, some may envy your success, but your true friends will always be there for you.

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