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The Illusion of Accomplishment
Discovering happiness and our true self-worth beyond achievement and productivity.
“I want you to tell everybody how proud you are of yourself for the crazy amount of work you’ve done in the past three years,” Joe said.
With tears streaming down my face, I looked into the eyes of the other people on the Zoom call.
“I’m so fucking proud of myself,” I said to the group.
And I let in the truth of how far I’d come.
I felt the pain of the struggles early in my relationship with my wifeand the pride of how I kept showing up — particularly in the hard moments — to get to the beautiful space we’re in today.
I felt the pride of surviving a dark chapter where I felt like I didn’t fit into my own life — where every day was a struggle to get out of bed, and my life seemed like it was falling apart.
I felt the pride of how far Candace and I have come in navigating our relationship, to a point where we’re building the foundation of a business to teach about awakened partnership together.
I was a ball of tears on that call — and it was in that coaching session with Joe Hudson that I realized something core about myself.
I’d spent much of my life chasing accomplishment.
And while the pursuit of living a meaningful life has led to beautiful outcomes that I cherish, the idea that any amount of accomplishment would ever be enough was an illusion.
Underneath it all lurked a subconscious fear:
I feared that if I wasn’t doing something productive, then I’d be small, inconsequential, and wouldn’t matter.
Without knowing, I’d been busying myself and always doing things in part to avoid this feeling of smallness.
I broke down when I let that awareness sink in.
“I’m small, and I don’t matter either,” Joe said. “And I’m sorry that anybody taught you that your worth was by what you accomplished in your life.”
It became clear that until I accepted my own smallness and insignificance, I would never be enough for myself. I would always be running away from something.
And so I'm learning to love and accept the part of me that sometimes feels small — and letting in my pride and celebrating myself are parts of that healing journey.
Get intimate stories and powerful lessons on how to navigate difficult emotions in the human experience.
It’s hard to put into words the impact that Joe Hudson’s work has had on my life.
Even in my days as an engineer, I’ve been a big believer that investing in ourselves is the highest-ROI activity that we can do.
In the past several years, I’ve invested $200K+ on attending dozens of intensive trainings around the world and working with dozens of coaches in different areas of my life.
Joe’s teachings and coaching stands out as one of the most transformative experiences I’ve had — so much so, that I’m stoked that my wife and I will get an opportunity to work with him in-person this weekend at a retreat.
Joe’s one of my foremost teachers on models and frameworks for navigating human emotions. He has a powerful way of seeing you and directly pointing at the thing that you didn’t realize you needed to look at. And when you look at it, you get blasted open with an invitation to a completely new way of experiencing life.
His courses are intense, by application only, and definitely not for everyone. But if you’re someone who, like me, has been overly focused on accomplishment, knows there’s more to life, and wondering, “Where do I go from here?” then keep reading.
The Art of Accomplishment Master Class
Starting June 2nd, Joe will be teaching his annual The Art of Accomplishment Master Class.
The 8-week online course is an experience — one that weaves together intellectual concepts with emotional experiencing and nervous system training. It’s a course where if you put in the effort, your life will change in unimaginable ways — mine certainly did.
His course set the bar for the type of transformation I want to create in my own coaching and my future courses.
The course is a sizable investment — time-wise, financially, and emotionally. It’s not for the faint-hearted.
But if you’re in a space to invest in yourself and you’re realizing that the accomplishments in your life won’t be enough to make you happy, this course can change your life.
Here are the biggest ways that it’s transformed mine:
Gaining a supportive community and lifelong friendships. Some of my dearest friends in life I’ve met through the Art of Accomplishment community. The course invites a high level of vulnerability and mutual support through its 1:1 exercises and small group work and supports the formation of lifelong friendships.
The path of personal transformation can be lonely sometimes. Our existing relationships may no longer be able to meet us in the way we need or understand our experience. And it becomes critical to have a loving support network of people who can champion us and be with us as we make big life choices.
Growing from direct access to Joe’s coaching. Unless you’re a select executive in Joe’s coaching program, this is one of the very few ways that you can get direct access to his coaching. The team limits the course size so that everyone can get access to his hot-seat coaching.
I’m continually blown away at how even ten minutes with Joe consistently creates life-changing epiphanies — and how watching him coach other people shifts my life in major ways as well. The coaching alone made the course worth it.
Practicing in-depth and well-articulated principles for enjoying life with more ease. In the Master Class, Joe distills 7 principles for experiencing more joy in life — and puts forth weekly practices and challenges to incorporate those principles into your day-to-day.
These principles have completely shifted how I approach my work, my life, and my relationships. They’ve helped me get deeper clarity on what I want versus what I think I should do, let go of managing outcomes things so that I can enjoy life more, embrace more joy in the process of creation, and leverage my feelings to make better decisions in life.
Learn more details about the course here. If you’re even a little curious, I strongly encourage you to attend Joe’s free 90-minute Q&A and coaching session on Tuesday, May 16th 9am PT, where you’ll get to experience his magic live. Firsthand experience is the best way to decide whether the course is for you.
And if you decide afterwards that the course is for you, thanks to their generosity, you can get $500 off enrollment with the discount code EDMONDLAU.
Thanks to James Tippins and Latham Turner for reading early drafts of this post.