Time to read: A reasonable, not-overachieving one minute and thirty-six seconds
(No photo this week because I'm not overachieving today!)
Hi, my name is Christina, and I'm an overachiever. It's been 2 months since my last overachievement, and it's been going ok. Well, if I'm honest I've been jonesing for another overachievement and fighting the weak parts of myself to not fall off the wagon into overwork and stress.
It's nice to meet you. Can you relate?
Over-acheiving is an addiction because your brain gets a delicious hit of dopamine every time you check one more to-do off the list. Ahhh…..so good.
So, in the absence of over-working, I've been uncomfortable. I don't mean the pillow-on-the-couch-is-squished-in-a-weird-way uncomfortable. I mean a deep down in my gut uncomfortable. I feel antsy and discombobulated. I have more than enough work right now, and I'm learning a ton about myself and my emotions in an advanced coach training course. There's a lot going on at home, too, so it's not like I'm sitting around eating bonbons and watching Oprah all day (and, hey, no judgment if you eat bonbons and watch Oprah). My plate is full, and I'm uncomfortable because it is not over-full, and I'm not ploughing ahead on a big project.
If you are a chronic overachiever and cycle through burnout and exhaustion, here are some thoughts:
- The messages around you state that more is always better. Bigger portions. More with less. Faster results. Higher salaries. More responsibility. You find yourself on a constant hamster wheel in pursuit of "more." I'll tell you this, it will never be enough. There is no "ahhh…I made it" at the end of that game.
- Notice if you use work to avoid discomfort. A friend of mine once observed, "Christina, you work to manage your anxiety." You may be using work to numb uncomfortable feelings (like fear, doubt, or uncertainty).
- Notice how your sense of self-worth and value is wrapped up in what you produce. Overachieving has made me successful. It got me a PhD, corporate promotions and a successful coaching business. And each time, there has been a price to pay to my relationships, wellbeing, and happiness. The price isn't worth it anymore (and probably never was), and I'm determined to learn how to be successful without the overworking.
- See what it happens when you give yourself permission to stop overachieving and just be with the discomfort, even if it's only for 2 seconds. Start small and work up from there. I have a feeling the secret to peace, flow, and ease is weirdly in the discomfort.
- Ask yourself, "for the sake of what?" What's the purpose behind the achievement? Is it joy and learning or is it the outcome and recognition? Align your work to your values and align your daily choices to what you want for your entire life, including family, self-care, hobbies, and relationships.
I don't have the answer to this one yet as I'm on this journey with you. When I figure it out, I'll let you know.
For now, you are enough. You have enough. You're doing enough.
P.S. Think of 2-3 friends who need to hear the message that they are enough and are doing enough. Send them this newsletter with your love and this link so they can sign up to hear more!