Stop Mistaking Activity for Achievement

We all know that person who talks a lot but says very little. That person who posts on Facebook about all the moves they are making but months later you see nothing from them. Literally nothing. I think as a young professional it’s really easy to get caught up in the daily grind and believing you are moving forward. It’s really important to distinguish the difference between working hard and working smart. And the difference between completing an activity and accomplishing an achievement.

If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you know that I’m not a fan of following traditional life/career paths. Today more than ever it’s okay to go against the grain. Just because someone before you reached success doing x,y,z ten years ago, definitely does not mean it will work for you. Honestly, you may end up stuck in your same position, feeling defeated and confused.

This blog posts discusses the very real problem with mistaking activity for achievement.

Photography: T. Elaine (Caffeine Chaser)
Photography: T. Elaine (Caffeine Chaser)


I’m the queen of saying I’m busy. When someone asks me how I’m doing, I usually respond, “I’m good. Just busy.” The issue with saying you’re busy all the time is that you’re trying to say you’re working on very important things. This isn’t always true. In college I knew students who were “always busy working on a project at the library.” But they were rarely productive with their time and got very little actual work done. Although I love the word ‘busy’, I think it needs to be reframed. Being productive is a whole lot more valuable than being busy.


One of my biggest pet peeves are people who constantly say what they used to work on. The clients they used to have but failed to keep, the deals they were so close to closing but couldn’t, etc, etc. Too many people are trying to live on time they don’t have anymore. If something didn’t work out in the past, don’t try to re-imagine it and believe it was successful somehow. Move on and focus on your potential present and future success.


One my favorite Pinterest quotes is: “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.” Can these simple words be any more truer? I see too many people doing things in roundabout ways. They think they are so close to the finish line but really end up at square one again. I started waking up each morning and asking myself “With what I accomplish today, will I be one step closer to my goals?” It’s necessary to have a real and blunt conversation with yourself. Of course setbacks happen and you won’t always be moving forward. But it’s imperative to recognize the difference between complacency and mobility.

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