Do you tend to be someone who always strives to get it all done for everyone?
For many, including myself, this overachieving behavior can lead to burnout and anxiety and often stifle others' growth and learning opportunities.
So here is the big question:
“How can I center my well-being, trust others to contribute, and still get it all done?”
Start with your ABCSS’s!
Acknowledge your patterns
Be willing to reflect
Challenge your assumptions
Success, redefine what it means to you
Start with one step
Let me be clear: your desire to get it all done is not a problem in and of itself.
Overachieving behavior often begins in early childhood through experiencing instability, trauma, or a need to be seen and served as a coping mechanism or survival technique. These behaviors may feel like a part of the fabric of your being, and it may be difficult to see them as a choice.
Your independence and can-do attitude have contributed to your successes and gotten you to where you are today. Your “high/overachieving” behavior may have served you well. There may come a time when this no longer works for you, and the cost to your well-being is too high to be sustained.
Your ABCSS’s can guide you through how to handle that:
Acknowledge your patterns The first step is acknowledging your behavior patterns and how they contribute to your feelings of overwhelm and inadequacy. Acknowledge that it no longer works for you, even if it did in the past. Once you name and define these patterns, you can make choices about your behavior. Remember, overachieving is learned and is not an inherent part of who you are.
Be willing to shift. Now that you have acknowledged your overachieving tendencies and know they are learned behaviors that can shift, your next step is to be willing to make changes. This may sound simple, but it can be challenging to unwind these behavior patterns and find other operating methods. This process may not be a straight path from where you are now to where you want to be. Seek support along your way and find ways to be kind and gentle with yourself throughout your journey.
Challenge your assumptions Your next step is to do reality testing with your assumptions of how you need to behave and what you need to do to be seen as successful. Sometimes we don’t even realize we have adopted other people’s beliefs about success. Write down everything you believe and know to be true about what you must do to be acknowledged as worthy and receive external validation for achievements. Then ask yourself, “Is this true for me?” Notice what thoughts and feelings arise. Where do you feel at ease, and where do you feel resistance in this process?
Success, redefine what it means to you now. Once you have challenged your assumptions about your worth and external affirmation, you can define what true success means to you based on what is most important to you and your internal compass. Take a few moments to sit quietly and imagine what success looks like to you regardless of what you were told to think or do. What would be possible? How would you feel if you moved toward your definitions of success and aligned your actions to do the same?
Start with one step. If overachieving is a long-term pattern for you, your first inclination may be to go full steam ahead and make many rapid changes. I invite you to begin unwinding this behavior right now, take a breath, step back from the end goal, and identify ONE step you take now or within 24 hours. There is no need to have a structured plan. Allow this process to unfold, and trust that your first step will inform your next step.
When you feel nervous to start:
At first, the lack of a structure with clearly defined action steps may feel uncomfortable and unnerving. You may wonder, “Am I doing enough?” or “Am I doing this right?”
YES, you are. And know that those questions stem from your overachieving patterns.
Here is what I find helpful: When I feel anxious about what I am doing or not doing, I pause and ask myself this question instead.
“What do I need right now?” Notice the question is not “What do I need to DO, right now?”
I invite you to try this and be curious about what shifts you can make to improve your well-being from one step and this simple question.
Celebrate your accomplishment no matter how small it may seem to you!
Action begets action. Make a shift now, do not wait for the “perfect” plan or structure, and as one wise client once told me, “I’m done waiting for Monday to start!”
You can get started right now.
Remember, you do not have to do this alone. If you are ready to release old patterns and improve your well-being, reach out to me, and I will support you along the way!
See if coaching is a fit for you right now: