The Achievement Dip

Over 3 years ago, I went through a long process of research and decided that I wanted to add to my tool belt and become a nutrition coach. I looked into many certifications and decided I would work through a company named Precision Nutrition. I moved forward, registered for the certification and pursed all the materials and tests.

Month after month, I had those materials sitting there and I occasionally would muster up the strength to crack one open and yet never made it further than chapter 3-4.

2020 arrives and I am coaching a 12 week program. I work to hold my clients accountable by also taking on a project of bettering myself or my community. During these 12 weeks, I decided that its was going to happen and I am going to see who I would have to become in order to complete this certification before the end of April. If my clients were taking on an area of resistance, I also would need to tackle something.

During this 12 week coaching course, 3 of the weeks I didn’t do anything, which meant other weeks I had to double up on chapters. April 25 comes and I have 3 chapters remaining. I decided to sit down and complete all three chapters in 1 day. No leaving the office until it was done.

I did it.

And then a wave of depression and anxiety took over my body.

I “should” be elated.

I “should” be proud.

I “should” jump up and down.

And yet, my reaction was exactly opposite.

I hit the achievement dip.

My mental space spiraled in the opposite direction of what I had anticipated I would feel like. I was in a state of growth resistance. It can be difficult to “become” something new. The small self and the ego knows that it is safe to be the girl who didn’t have her certification, who was failing at actually achieving it, and the girl who was a fake in the industry. I knew how to be the girl that didn’t have a plethora the nutrition knowledge.

Passing the certification exams, meant I had to level up. I would actually have to do something with this certification, otherwise it is just a piece of paper. This also lead me to spiral into self-doubt.

“Who would want to hire me?”

“I have a nutrition coach. Why couldn’t I just do this for myself?”

“Shame on you for taking this long to accomplish this.”

Those are the thoughts of the small self; the ego trying to keep every person in their very own safe bubble of familiarity. Feelings are a body reaction but are not identity and it is perfectly okay to feel all of this.

This isn’t the first time I have gone through this exact sensation. When I graduated from college I had a similar experience because I just didn’t know what to do next. My identity had been wrapped up in the student mentality. This identity died with graduation and I was FORCED to become the next level of human, leader and coach. Achievement might look like getting the job you’ve always wanted, hitting your goal weight, finishing a speech or even the day after your wedding. It can look like a lot of things.

The more you can be aware of what a potential dip might look like after an achievement means you can now prepare and plan for that. The people around you can be warned and support you differently.

When you’re in this dip, watch out for self sabotaging behaviors that can dig this dip even deeper. The self sabotaging behaviors can feel like a fix in the short term. They may be hold habits that help bandaid uncomfortable situations. This MIGHT look like eating a box of cookies (my personal favorite and ol’ reliable), and it actually can be healthy for some people’s state of mind. The familiarity can ease anxiety, remove panic and or alleviate further self harm. Becoming aware of these and replacing them with other coping mechanisms is the best long term solution for both your body and your mind.

I have found it beneficial to do something that changes the state of mind or physical body when in this dip. Ideas: go on a walk, jump up and down or do some breath-work. The body will move out of the emotion and after you have changed your state you can relax into a bit more. This is when you have the choice to expand yourself and take actions to become the person that matches your vision of the achievement you’ve accomplished.

Today, I am a certified sports nutrition coach. I still have my own coach. I am a personal trainer and I still am a student. The dip is over, the student ego will move to the next area of development and I get to level up for myself and for all of my clients.

The biggest lesson I have learned in this achievement dip is the faster I am able to become the observer of the reactions I am having, the faster I am able to take control and move out of the dip.

And, so it is.

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