the problem with overacheiving

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Overachieving is an insidious little bastard. It’s that fake friend that’s sweet to your face but ruins your reputation behind your back. Overachieving seems like a good thing because you get things done and strive to do better and take on more and show people how accomplished you are, but in reality it’s an insatiable monster that will feed off every chance you have of living in the moment.

Overachieving often wears a disguise in the form of the word ‘HUSTLE’.

Confession: I hate the word ‘hustle’. It’s a word that’s hard for us over-achievers and type-A personalities to take lightly because we never think we’re working hard enough already. If there’s rest, if there’s a break, if there’s a day of no productivity, we think we’re lacking ‘hustle’ and that we’re lazy pieces of shit that won’t amount to anything or deserve anything good. Tell me I’m lying!

Overachieving appeals to the EGO self, not the TRUE self. 

The EGO self wants to feel proud of how productive its been. The EGO self, when fueled by over-achievement, becomes a parasite that feeds off burn-out and recognition from other people. Meanwhile, your TRUE self wants you to rest. Your TRUE self wants to bite off only what you can chew. Your TRUE self wants you to say ‘no’ once in a while, prioritize and let those items at the bottom of the list go. It wants you to LET. ITGO.

Overachieving makes us numb to all that we DO achieve.

The problem with over-achieving is the ‘over’ part. Take the ‘over’ part away and you’ve got ‘achieving.’ You’re achieving thingsYou’re actually achieving things, but are so busy OVER DOING IT that you don’t even notice. So more work and more burn-out and more striving for recognition inevitably follows. EGO.

It’s exhausting and dangerous and it’s time we become aware of begin taking steps to change it.

One thing that’s helped me in the past has been The Sarah R. Bagley Podcast where she talks about being a recovering perfectionist, and interviews guests each week about how to get over perfectionism, what is good enough, and being cool with a B+ life.

Getting older, having these conversations, and hearing more women share their over-achievement stories has definitely helped me become a aware of my over-achieving tendencies.

Another recent interview Creative Live’s Chase Jarvis had with Arianna Huffinton for his 30 Days of Genius series was helpful in reframing my over-achieving mind. Arianna talks about the importance of rest, and what she says is SO. TRUE.

“You can do anything, not everything.”

I’m doing my best to ditch over-achieving, especially when there’s nothing to show for it except dark circles and a panic attack. In this new season, I’m goaling to:

  • take my time and spread tasks out
  • not pressure myself to post or preform
  • stop turning hobbies into responsibilities
  • work smarter, not harder
  • make room for fun
  • give up on NAP GUILT (nap guilt [noun] – when you need a short nap in the middle of the day to recharge, but feel guilt and anxiety about needing it)