The Real Problem with Over-Achievers

Posted by Stacey Brown Randall

The problem with over-achievers isn’t that you strive to hit 200% of your monthly sales quota every month or push the team to hit the million or multimillion mark year over year.

The problem with over-achievers isn't that you give it your all on the process improvement task force or the social committee at work.

The problem with over-achievers isn't that you try to be the best board chair, ushering in change to your organization as you try to take the organization to a new level.

The problem with over-achievers isn't that you spend hours creating the perfect birthday party for your child complete with handmade invitations.

The problem with over achievers is that you try to do all of these once. There aren't four different over-achievers described above...there is only one (maybe it’s you). And that is the problem.

Over-achievers strive to over-achieve in every part of their life which is unhealthy, unsustainable and let's be honest...makes for a stressed out, cranky work or home life (just ask my husband).

My coaching practice is filled with over-achievers (and I myself am a recovering over-achiever). My over-achieving clients come through my office like they are walking through a revolving door. In and out, in and out. Each one successful, each one knowing they are capable of more and each one wanting to step off – if only momentarily - the merry-go-round they call “driven to over-achieve” life.

Their biggest problem is their success. When we are successful on any level it creates a default state of how we think, behave and more importantly act.

We mistakenly connect all past behaviors and actions to current success so when we are challenged to work different, live different, think different to have a better outcome…we cling dearly to “this is what’s worked for me, gotten me where I am” mindset.

And it is that mindset that keeps over-achievers over-achieving.

And stressed.

And tired.

And headed towards burnout.

And sometimes thinking too small of what they are actually capable of.

Because they believe they are achieving the level of success they have now because of how they are doing “it.”

“It” can be anything…

  • Why you always jump when the client or prospect requests something regardless of what that request will blow up on your calendar.
  • Why you are convinced you can’t delegate the “$8-hour work” to someone who can do it better and faster freeing you up to do higher dollar work.
  • Why you believe you must network every night of the week.
  • Why you stay involved in 8 (or more) membership organizations and serve on 8 (or more) different committees somehow loosely connected to your industry.
  • Why you believe that having a structure or routine to your days would be detrimental to…well…just about everything.

So when I step in and challenge my clients to change their ways – change their “its” - to achieve more or decrease their stress…their “success” thinking gets in the way.

I spend a lot of time in my practice helping my clients give themselves permission. Permission to not do everything that they feel they are supposed to do…permission to question why they do what they do and what actually works in creating their success…permission to consider what it would look like if they changed their “it”. Some of the permission I give comes in the way of challenging them to consider an alternative.

So I’d like to challenge you as we head into the end of 2015 to consider what you cling tightly to that may not be serving you well. Challenge your sales activities, your marketing activities, your networking activities, the services you offer, the type of clients you take on, your processes and system within the business…challenge it all and be brave in questioning why you do what you do.

2016 can be the year you stop over-achieving. When you break free from over-achieving you also get a bonus…the opportunity to step away from the comparison game, which in some cases is the more dangerous and unhealthy and only feeds our need to over-achieve.

Make 2016 the year you “right-achieve” – focus on the things that matter, that truly cause an impact and are aligned with your values.

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