I’m an overachiever…
I’m an overachiever and that means constantly feeling like I’m stuck in a rut without being able to get out, no matter how hard I try.
Some people may think that being an overachiever is a good thing, some people may think I have a good work ethic, but for me, I’m ready to give it up and be normal, like other people.
‘Like other people’, you ask? Yes, you know the ones. The cruisey ones, the ones that find things less urgent than you do, the ones that don’t seem to take on too much and don’t always make themselves available when things need to be done, the ‘she’ll be right’ people, the ones that aren’t too concerned about not completing something that needs to be done, the smart ones that put less pressure on themselves.
I’m the opposite of these people. I’m not cruisey, particularly when it comes to work. To me, when it comes to my work, many things are urgent, although I really want to, I find it hard to just leave it.
Why can’t I change? It’s because I feel so god damn guilty about it, it affects my conscience because to me, I’m not doing the right thing for other people. And there you have it people, the crux of the matter. I’m always trying to do right for other people but NEVER myself!
But here’s the thing I’ve learnt. This is no one else’s problem but my own. Those ‘other’ people, well there’s nothing wrong with them at all, in fact, I think they’re probably a hell of a lot smarter than me. Why? Here’s why.
- They strive to be productive instead of a perfectionist like me
- They ARE NOT people pleasing pushovers like me
- They don’t resent other people like I tend to
- They deal with failure a lot better than I do
So let’s break these down, shall we.
Productivity over perfectionism
My problem is that as an overachiever I try to do everything perfectly, a half-assed job just doesn’t cut it with me. But this means I try to do it with everything and it gets pretty damn exhausting. I set the bar way too high. The other problem with this is that because I’m all about doing something really well, I tend to procrastinate A LOT because I do tend to find it difficult to prioritise. Everything to me is equally as important. Go figure!
And to all you other perfectionists out there, does “I’ll just do a little more” or “just one more thing” sound familiar? I figure these are the rules I’VE set for myself, no one else. No one is asking me to do more, it’s me who’s asking me to do more!!!
Oh and I forgot one other thing. I tend to make so many promises that completely stress me out and then, of course, this leads to overwhelm.
So, of course, the ‘normal’ people not in this predicament are going to be so much more productive. They do what needs to be done and they don’t waste time, they set realistic expectations of themselves, they are able to prioritise more easily and they don’t have ridiculous rules set for themselves that no one else cares about!
People pleasing pushover
No matter how many times I’ve written about this, the number of times I’ve challenged myself to stop being a people pleaser, it still crops up its ugly head like it’s permanently ingrained into my being!
Problem is, when you’re a people pleaser, some people can take advantage of it. You’re always the one people come to rely on.
This is where I need to go back to my own advice (it works most of the time) and learn to say NO. I think it’s also useful to ask yourself if it’s something that’s actually expected of you or not.
I must admit, as an overachiever I do tend to get resentful and it’s not nice. The thing is, when I feel resentful towards another person, it’s not their fault at all, it’s mine. Because I’m the one pushing myself, because I have high expectations of myself and try to please others, I can tend to feel as though others aren’t working as hard as I am which frustrates me to no end. I can feel a sense of unfairness but I’m most likely very wrong. The problem here is that I’m simply doing more than I actually need to. Did anyone ask me to do it? No. Hard work can easily be misinterpreted too, and I definitely don’t like having to do more than I need to so it might be a good idea that I stop!
Dealing with failure
Yes, there have been a number of times where I’ve felt like my world is like a sunken ship, like I cannot go any further like I’ve failed myself even though I’ve worked so damn hard. I hate failure, I hate that it feels like I’m exposed, like a weakness is exposed, but I know I shouldn’t feel that way at all. Most of the time it’s only me who thinks I’ve failed, no one else would have a clue. But also, failure to me is often a reminder that I’ve spread myself too thin, that I can’t do it all and maintain my over-achieving ways. I must remember,
I must remember, “slow and steady wins the race.”
Are you an overachiever? Does this resonate with you?
This post totally resonates with me! I so wish I had a cruisey-er personality but I don’t! It’s just the way I’m wired, I’ve tried changing but I damn well can’t!
Yep, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve tried to take a step back but find myself right back to where I started. As some of the other commenters have mentioned, it’s all about being able to conciously recognise you’re doing it that will help a little. x
I don’t think I’m an overachiever, but I’m certainly a perfectionist.
I’m more of a – if it’s not going to be perfect (or I’m not going to good enough etc) then I won’t even try.
At least I’m conscious of it I guess and trying to make some changes!
I think that’s the important thing, being conscious of it otherwise that’s when it can really get you!
I never thought I was a perfectionist until I began a deeper read of the books by Brene Brown. She nails it all and she is as guilty of any of the above mentioned in your post as anyone. However, as she continued her research and had people talk more about shame, resiliance, perfectionism etc she points out we are not alone. It would be wonderful if we could ‘change’ if we wanted to but more than that it is important to recognise the signals we get (usually in our body) that we have ‘over’reached.
I’ve heard of Brene Brown but haven’t read any of her work. I think I’ve started reading my ‘signals’ which is why I wrote the post I guess. I’ll have to keep an eye out for them more often. x
Oh I can so relate to this. I’m a total over achiever, people pleaser and perfectionist and god damn it’s exhausting sometimes isn’t it? But I doubt I’ll ever change…
Totally exhausting. And the change bit, well, I’m not expecting any anytime soon, but I can always try.
This is so me – I tend to respond to all requests immediately (even during time that should belong to my family) and then resent the person asking. Even though their deadline is not “drop everything and do it now”
YES!!!!! This is me! I can’t seem to get it around my head that it’s not the end of the world if I don’t reply straight away.
I can relate to some of this. I am very competitive when it come sot work related stuff, other areas not so much. I can relax on weekends and with family or friends but when I get spare time, I am working away.
Yep, sounds very much like me. Every ounce of my spare time seems to be working 🙂
How different we all are! Should we spend a life time trying to change ourselves or recognise who we are and celebrate our specialness?
LOL I’m one of those “she’ll be right people”. It’s great.
Can you share your secrets with me? 🙂
Errrmygod Eva we could be twins … except I’m perhaps a little further along the line of trying to reform myself of some of these things (especially perfectionism) – and so I should be considering the fact I am quite a bit older than you! However, I will never be a ‘she’ll be right mate’ person – just can’t do it! I will always like quality over slapdash. Gotta embrace some characteristics that just can’t be shaken! 😉 xo
I’m a bit like you too, our move to the country has made me more relaxed though,
I always have a million ideas in my head that are wanting to get on paper so that’s why I’m always working.