As a Sensor, I have always been intrinsically motivated to achieve, holding myself to exceptionally high standards. I could set my mind to something, and achieve it, usually independently and efficiently. My profile even says this about me.
These qualities are neither better nor worse when compared to others, they just are. They are uniquely expressed in me, and so they serve a purpose to me, just as we all have our unique qualities that allow us to serve our purpose.
I like my unique qualities, and being able to rely on them. They allowed me to achieve. And as a Sensor, basically all my achievements – especially those most valued by others – were those I did with my mind.
My pregnancy is teaching me a whole new way of looking at achievement though.
Many of the mental qualities I relied on before, seem to be taking a leave of absence. Due to my changing hormones, my mental processes are drastically different.
I’m not a fan of the term “baby brain” as it’s often used as something of a dismissive put down, which is the last thing any pregnant woman deserves given the work she’s doing. But it is true that the brain changes enormously in pregnancy. This doesn’t make a woman better or worse than she was before, it’s just change. The changes serve an essential purpose, as the hormonal shifts allow the development of the baby and the mother’s connection to her baby.
I was shopping for baby things, and I was comparing costs. I found myself having to use the calculator on my phone. I plugged in the data carefully. When the result showed I was shocked. Because it was a terribly easy calculation. One I could have done without thinking. Fortunately I had my Connector like hormones working in my favour, and found the whole thing pretty hilarious. Such a little thing, but it’s like I was a different person.
Earlier this month, I sat down to write an article, which, when my Sensor brain kicked into gear, turned into six. That was my high standards, detail oriented mind getting into flow. But then something happened. It just stopped. The words stopped. The motivation left. My mind which used to be as organised and directed as a rail network, thoughts efficiently travelling along their tracks to their intended destinations, had become a bizarre fireworks display. It was bright and colourful and everywhere all at once, and then it was suddenly over. And I didn’t really want to finish what I’d started until I actually felt like it. Again, a small thing, but so uncharacteristic of my former self, it felt like maybe I wasn’t achieving anymore.
But my pregnant self has other priorities. Like resting, eating, more resting, and quality self care. My mind might still try to run the show sometimes, creating more to do lists and priorities to complete before baby arrives – and more and more often now, I get a ‘no’. My focus wanes, my attention shifts, or my energy halts.
At first these sorts of things irritated me, making me question my abilities of focus and drive, causing self doubt and frustration. But I’m understanding them now as signs. Useful signs from my body and mind to redirect my attention to what matters now, because it innately knows. Just as all of us, in our unique design, have built in knowledge of what we need.
Now, as I approach the birth of my baby, I need to be present. I need to be in my body. I need to connect with loved ones. If that means I’m less in my mind and less in the future, the usual habitat for a Sensor, that is where I need to be.
I’m not ‘not achieving’ or ‘not using’ my genius. I’m using an entirely new genius that I’ve never tapped into before – the genius of my body to grow another person inside me. And of course while it is a gift most women have, I’m still doing it in my entirely unique way. In the delicate body of a Sensor, which is working very hard, and signalling the mind to take a back seat for once.
Just as we are each unique, achievement is unique to each of us. And that isn’t even a constant. We are unique in each moment as we constantly change in response to our environment and circumstances. So what we are achieving, and how we do it, will always look different.
Now, achievement can look like me lying down, in pyjamas, stroking my growing belly.
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