I’ve been known to be a girl who does too many things- at college, in high school, in my community, etc. I’ve always committed to organizations because of my genuine passion for what they do, love for meeting people, and desire to try new things. Sometimes, I keep saying “yes” and doing more. I’m a person who thrives in busyness. I thought happiness and fulfillment came from knowing a lot of cool people and doing a lot of things.
…until that changed. A couple of years ago, I got to a rough place of overcommitting myself to things I couldn’t do or handle in college. Much of it had to do with health issues and friendship struggles I was experiencing at the time, but I broke down. Multiple times. I had to do things differently because it was all too much. I removed myself from quite a few commitments, and things got much better for me.
To this day, I’m still removing myself from organizations and am doing less. It’s not because I don’t appreciate what I’ve been a part of, but it’s because I want to thrive at the few things I’m doing instead of spreading myself too thin. I’m at a place where I’ve prioritized my life better than ever, and I couldn’t be happier about it. But recently, after some reflection I learned that there’s another piece to the happiness I’m having right now in this season of life. This recent reflection and realization has come from my own thinking, prompted questions, and thoughtful words sent my way.
I’ve been asked in some interviews in the past few weeks about “my greatest accomplishment” and I’ve had to think about it and what’s on my resume. Every time though, I respond with describing my relationships with some of my mentees in an organization that I hold so close to my heart at Virginia Tech. My greatest accomplishment has been loving them, being loved by them, listening to them on hard days, laughing with them on the most joyful days, and being there for them everywhere in between. It’s not a “title” per se that I’m most proud of, it’s the relationships I share with those incredible people who make my life better everyday.
My old way of thinking of doing a lot of things would’ve prevented me from seeing my greatest accomplishment as loving, meaningful relationships, but this new understanding I’ve come to has allowed me to grasp what life is really all about. At the end of the day, it’s not roles, titles, awards, positions, or anything you can just “write on a resume” that brings you happiness or fulfillment. It’s love. It’s how you love on others and how they love on you, and it’s as easy as that.
So how does this relate to my current season of life? I’ve come to realize this even more throughout this month after the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Leaders Conference that nine of my teammates and I hosted with AFA staff in Kansas City, MO. We worked so hard throughout the year to plan programming to meet the needs of our peers, and at the end of it, we were exhausted, emotional, and inspired. I don’t exaggerate when I say it was the best week of my life.
Our team is called the AFA Student Advisory Team, and we serve AFA for a year. It’s similar to a national officer role, and in all honesty, it’s a big role that allows us to get a lot of attention at times. It can be easy to consider this title or role as our greatest accomplishment for speaking in front of 1,300 people on stage, representing a national organization, or facilitating in groups of nearly 250 people frequently. It sounds pretty cool, and it’s a blast.
But after our Leaders Conference, I’m going to change my answer to “What’s your greatest accomplishment?” to “Being on the AFA Student Advisory Team.” No, it’s not because our job is important or because we’re in the spotlight sometimes. It’s nothing to do with the title, or any of that.
Serving on AFA’s Student Advisory Team this year is my greatest accomplishment because of the love and purpose that surrounds our team and AFA as an organization. I could’ve never dreamed to become so close to people who are separated by thousands of miles, but my teammates have brought me so much happiness and joy that I can’t even explain it. Being loved by them this year and being able to love them with notes, jokes, or calls has been incredible.
But it doesn’t stop there, because the true sense of fulfillment comes from AFA staff, student leaders, delegates, and partners being so committed to a sense of purpose – of creating a stronger future for the world through the agriculture and food community. Being a part of a group that believes in the future of our world and that wants to be that future is unlike anything I can describe.
Right now, in this season of life I feel inspired by the purpose and passion of others involved with AFA, fulfilled because of the hard work of my team coming together for an amazing Conference, and loved because of my team and the AFA delegates who are going to change this world one day. And I don’t know about you, but that’s better than anything I could write on a resume.
My greatest accomplishment isn’t a title, but it’s how that position allowed me to love on others and to receive the love of others. Maybe that’s how we should look at our accomplishments- not by their name, but by what they bring to our lives and how we can sprinkle joy and love into the lives of those around us.