Thursday, October 18, 2012

Have You Experienced Achievement Post-Partum Blues?

Okay, I've never had a baby. I'm not physically made that way. And I don't have any children, so I've not experienced the waiting and birthing process. Yet, I wonder if I'm not experiencing some kind of post-partum blues. Of course I'm not comparing the experiences because I'm sure the emotions of having a child are massive. Yet have you ever worked very hard at something, brought it to completion and after the celebration of completing it, felt a let down? Yep, that's what I'm talking about.

Recently I finished a chapter for a book that is much more academic and psychological than I usually write. It was intense over the year doing the research and the months and months of writing up until the time I finished it. Then last week I pressed the send button on my computer and it was all over. Of course I felt the brief time of euphoria, but just as quickly I found that I couldn't write anything for a week (hence no blog). I'm finally getting back to a sense of normalcy.

As I study greatness, I believe I've seen similar things. When any of us prepare diligently for a significant period of time, putting in vast amounts of energy, we experience a let down when it is done. I'm speculating on what happens, but I believe the energy and emotions to complete something big (a degree, a book, a deck), put us in a different space. Pushing ourselves in new directions, or having the discipline to move toward completion of a project is almost like a high. When it's over we come down.

I'm learning two things from this experience. The first is that I have to give myself the time to experience the post-partum. There is a natural ebb and flow in life that makes the highs worth it. When we complete something, we come down off the high and it feels very different. Typically in the past I would immediately engage in something else and deny myself the time to realize what I had done. We need to give ourselves time to savor our achievements even when it gives us an emotional let down. Yet the second thing I've learned from this experience is that by letting myself experience and live through the post-partum I am now excited and ready to engage in something brand new with more energy than before.

So when you finish something you've diligently striven for and you finally put it to bed know two things. You will probably experience a period of feeling emotionally down. Live with it, because is really instructive about how much work you've put into something. And then be ready to experience renewed energy. It will come and you can re-engage fully.

1 comment:

Lisa Sansom said...

Very very cool - and yes, i get that feeling too (and I have had babies...) What are you writing? I'm intrigued!