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The Post-Achievement Professional: Life Beyond the Goal Posts
Wednesday January 17 at 11:00 am - 1:00 pm PST
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I’m Khe Hy. I chased money on Wall Street and fame on the Internet only to discover that neither could deliver true freedom. As a fellow Post-Achievement professional, my love language is “let me show you everything I’ve accomplished.” Yet when you strip it all away, all you’re left with a vexing question: Who am I without achievement?
Achievement is the poster child for well-lived life. From our earliest memories, we are taught to believe that “accomplishing” is the key to happiness – a magical elixir that promises safety, significance and the ability to be loved. Achievement, so the story goes, offers a haven from our deepest fears and insecurities.
This big promise sets us on a lifelong quest for achievement. A journey that is marked by a series of ever-escalating milestones: mastering sign language as a toddler, hiring Mandarin tutors, competing in sports, getting into a prestigious college, and eventually climbing the corporate ladder to the highest echelons.
Eventually, everyone encounters the boundaries of achievement — the “Post-Achievement” phase. You might glide into Post-Achievement on the wings of success, like receiving bonuses or selling your company. You might step into it by choice, through pivotal life changes such as embracing parenthood or adapting to an empty nest. Or, life might forcefully usher you into this phase with its harsh realities, such as caring for a child with special needs or facing a terminal diagnosis.
In these moments, achievement loses its sheen, revealing a stark truth: it’s not the panacea for our deepest sufferings and longings. Thus begins a season of a deep-seated disappointment.
Years, if not decades, of relentless striving leave us confronting the same fears and insecurities we tried so damn hard to escape. The demons of unworthiness and irrelevance persist, mocking our efforts. The realization hits hard: the achievement game, where we placed all our hopes, is fundamentally flawed.
Here, the Post-Achievement Professional faces a critical choice. One path is to continue the addictive chase for more achievements, a tempting yet futile cycle.
Or, you can radically rewrite the playbook. This involves confronting deep-seated scarcity mindsets, healing core wounds from our childhood, reevaluating our relationship with time, opting-out status games, facing mortality head-on and silencing the persistent inner narrative of insufficiency.
“The Post-Achievement Professional” draws from Khe’s personal journey – from the relentless pursuit of success on Wall Street to a life anchored by creativity, family and surfing. It combines philosophical insights, psychological theories, interviews with individuals who delight in Post-Achievement, historical anecdotes, and social science research.
If achievement is a key character in your life story — whether you’re a newly minted college graduate or you’re drawing your first Social Security check — this talk will provide a new road map to help you find joy in your everyday life.
- [To be added as I’m creating a bunch of related content]