Confessions of an Overachiever
Do you ever find yourself joining every club on campus,balancing a million responsibilities, or giving all your energy to getting good grades in every class? Then you might just be an overachiever.
Amanda L. Chan wrote an awesome article called the 17 Signs you are an Overachiever and it sheds light on some of the darker sides of always trying to be perfect.
In my life, it’s become pretty clear that I tend to bite off more than I can chew. The sheer number of jobs and positions I have held an indication that I always like to challenge and push myself to the limit.
Well, this over achiever is tired. I am 25 and I am tired. I am the one who constantly takes on WAY more than is either necessary or even healthy. The reason? I got used to listening to others on what made me “successful”. To one person success is good grades. So I earned them. To another success is being fit and pretty and well dressed. I tried to do it ALL. At all times. Like juggling 17 things while standing on one leg.
Others would watch with admiration, curiosity and maybe some pity wondering if I would ever drop anything. I took on so many things and put added pressure on myself to live up to everyone expectations. Of course, I would occasionally drop the ball, just to turn around and pick up a different one. One job? Not enough because you have time to rest after work. You can take on more. Do more, more, more. A constant inner voice that I am actively working to silence would tell me, “That’s all you’re doing? What a shame. You know you can do more than that.”
It is a little sickening to think about because I was not even present in my journey.
When this job ends what will I work on next?
When I get this next paycheck where can I travel to next?
Always living for the next goal to be set and reached.
If I am being honest, a lot of my 15-24 was a blur. 25 started off with a bang leaving me to ask myself– what or who are you living for? To impress the random people around you? They don’t have to wake up and do all these things you’ve taken on.
Twenty five has been the most reflective and rewarding year of my life. I have been abruptly and rudely awakened to my own issues. I learned that I live with severe anxiety, and I was moving so fast through life that I confused my panic attacks with heart problems. I have been awakened to the kinds of people I have really let close to me who didn’t have my back like I had theirs. I have been awakened to realize I have not been brave by listening and obeying everyone around me…in fact that is the opposite of bravery. That was me being afraid.
Afraid to make my own decisions, afraid to admit what I really want out of life and afraid to tell people, “Thanks but no thanks. I’m going to do life my way.”
I have become more vocal and assertive recently. I am 25 and I am not going to take on more responsibilities than what is fitting or healthy. My Uncle once told me, “Don’t be a hamster running on a wheel. You’ll expend so much energy just to find out you have not really gotten anywhere.” That really stuck with me. An over achiever might think that because their hands are in various projects, and because they are exhausted every day they are making progress.
But it is time for said overachiever to PAUSE.
Look around. What direction are you moving in? You cannot be a specialist in everything on the planet. Take time to remove yourself from the loud & influential voices and think to yourself— What am I passionate about? What problems in the world bother me enough to take action? What beauty in life to I want to seek out most?
Things that helped me be more present and feel calm
Candles & Mood lighting
Telling people "I'm sorry I can't"
Time with friends (video chat works too)
Using a journal
This is going to be an ongoing mission, and I have just begun. If you tend to take on many jobs, tasks, and you are the one your circle looks to as a leader that is okay! But remember you can say no, you can be tired, you can pass along a job to someone else, and you get to relax sometimes.
And guess what, you are already a more successful person than you probably realize.