First, I guess I should preface this by saying that this is a continuation (ironically) from the post I wrote exactly a year ago today. For those who haven’t read the first post and are too busy to search my archives, the basic assertion of the post was that sometimes our loneliest moments in life are when we are happy and don’t have anyone to share our happiness with. Fast forward to today, exactly a year later. In the last two weeks or so I’ve experienced the much anticipated results of the past two years of work towards various professional goals. The word “work” in the context pretty much means blood, sweat, and tears. While in some circles, these results might be called accomplishments, the truth is that they have come because of a consistent, dedicated, and focused effort toward goals. Fighting through lack of sleep, feeling stuck, and even being inconvenienced because I had priorities that I was not willing to budge on. While those days have not ended, I’ve reached a rest stop of sorts on the highway of my life. A chance to take a breather, refresh and reflect on the progress made towards the destination. As someone who works frequently with people who know how to talk a smooth game, I’m really big on the understanding piece. Anyone can say “congratulations,” but it’s a totally different thing to say that word with an informed understanding of the work and dedication that was necessary to reach that point. Words of affirmation or endorsement seem rather shallow when looking at it from that perspective. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that many times these words of affirmation come from a good place and good gestures shouldn’t be ignored. Regardless of whether or not they are informed words of affirmation. However, it’s my opinion that while congratulations and words of affirmation after accomplishments can be great, there’s no substitute for these same words coming from someone (or some ones) who have an informed understanding of the journey as a whole. People who know the amount of work that was put into the endeavor and the setbacks, stressors, and discouragements that were overcome in order to make the goal a reality.