Don’t Let Your Accolades Define You
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Catherine R. Malone

Catherine R. Malone

Don’t let accolades determine who you are.

Why is it that whenever I ask an American person what they are most proud of the conversation begins with accomplishments. It is guaranteed that by the third sentence the discussion turns to their profession; their many awards and accolades that they have accumulated. Professional accolades, academic accomplishments, Heisman Trophies on and on. BORING! And SO PREDICTABLE!!

Ask most individuals from another country what they are most proud of and they will begin to tell you about who they are. They speak about their stance in life and the pursuit of their hopes, and most certainly their dreams. They will talk about their family and their culture. More than all of this they discuss relationships.  Personal pride exudes when discussing how these relationships make them feel.

Today, I ponder why American people tie who they are to what they do? I am asking what happens if you can no longer do whatever you are doing?  Who then will you be? What motivates you besides money, power and fame? Can you even answer the simple question, what makes you most proud in your life?

Marianne Williamson said so profoundly:

“Our deepest  fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves,  Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You’re playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I am not the smartest, the fastest, or the most beautiful; nor am I the sexiest or most talented. I am not a doctor, nor am I a lawyer. I have not accomplished any accolades. But the one thing I know for sure is that on any given day I am proud to be a woman. I am proud to be a mother and a friend. I am so proud of the tenacity and dogged determination that I possess. I am proud that I am kind, considerate, and loving. I am so proud of my family and take great pride in my children. I am not perfect, nor am I a perfectionist.  But I am loyal, honest, and I am amazing. Simply put, I am proud to be me.

Have accolades limited how you truly define yourself?





Catherine R. Malone is a non-traditional aged student currently pursuing a dual major in Political Science and Cyber Security. Catherine is an active member of the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey. She has recently become a member of the American Association of University Women which works to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, and research. She is a graduate of Eagleton Institute’s New Leadership program and a former OFA intern. Catherine has helped to organize Voter Registration and Student Awareness campaigns. She is happily divorced and a proud mom of three children.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Let Your Accolades Define You

  1. Enjoyed reading this. This outlook is such the American ideal, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” that we are successful when we do it all by ourselves. Then and only then do we have worth. It is also a recipe for disaster. What happens after “that thing” is achieved? How does on live day to day? What happens when you fail? What if you get no accolades? Thanks.

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