To my fellow overachievers,
Know that you naturally can’t give 100 percent to everything––you’ll have nothing left to give in the end and the bright flame of energy you have will dwindle to a flickering flame. Just like a fire, you need fuel to keep going and shine your brightest. Without this fuel, your blazing fire extinguishes. God rested on the seventh day and it’s important that you rest as well (Gen. 2:3). Yes, your to-do list may have more items to check off, but the list never ends. Take the rest time while you have it. Your body can run off adrenaline for a short time, but it will fail to keep up after a while. Pushing yourself too hard and working all day comes with devastating consequences.
Our society tells us that we have to work hard for success, but in the end, hard work doesn’t always pay off. Some people simply don’t like others and will not grant promotions or other opportunities to hard-working employees. Sometimes your best is enough and it’s not necessary to over deliver with every last little thing. Other people understand that you juggle multiple responsibilities.
Although some people may monitor your progress, most of them aren’t scrutinizing everything you do. We’re our own worst critics and sometimes what you believe that others think about you isn’t actually what they think.––it’s actually more common for them to believe the opposite. I’ve felt like I’ve failed in certain areas, but my friends tell me that I’ve done a great job. It’s hard to believe them, but overachievers are generally never satisfied with their work because they always strive for improvement.
Speaking of improvement, remember that you don’t always have the necessary skills for everything at the given moment. Failure is acceptable. You can’t always do you best on everything because there’s more to learn. If you received an A plus on every assignment, readily received promotions at work, or won every contest you entered, how could you strengthen your skills? It’s not surprising that some of the smartest and most talented people failed several times because they learned from their shortcomings and fought back against adversity. Those who constantly get everything they work for take things for granted and plateau after a while, while those who face failure appreciate the fruits of their labor.
Rejoice in your successes. As an artist and writer, I always scrutinize my work. I read through articles again after someone tells me they’re great. I regret reading them later because I see sentences I’d like to reword or brainstorm ideas for an ever stronger piece. Hindsight is always 20-20 and it’s easier to see things after they occur. We have to accept that we can’t see the future in the present time and that we did our job well. Say “thank you” when someone gives you a compliment and smile as you look at your work instead of criticizing it.
For all the college students––employers won’t look at your grades. They don’t care that you graduated summa cum laude or that you earned tons of scholarships. They care about character and who you are. They want to hire a hard worker with integrity that cares about their company and others around them.
Don’t stress over the minor things––you already have big stressors and your mind doesn’t need more negative things clouding it. Focus on the positives and find a silver lining during every dark storm you face.
It’s okay to ask for help. God designed humans to work with each other instead of walking through life alone (1 Thess. 5:11). He created each person with different strengths and other people can help us because they see things differently. We all have blind spots and need others to remove those blinders. Invest in other people. They can help you during the toughest times and can help alleviate a workaholic mindset.
Don’t forget that your health is important. Visit a primary care doctor regularly, even if the results always come back positive, because you never know when your constant overachieving will catch up with you. It did for me, and I’ve paid the price for over a year. If you notice anything wrong with your body, get it checked out immediately. Something as simple as a recurring stomach ache or weekly fatigue can spiral into something much greater that’s hard to treat after it develops.
Enjoy life and the earth God created. Go explore trails, hang out with friends, watch a movie, or even pamper yourself with a weekend trip. Set those textbooks aside and pull out a great novel. Call up your friends and meet them for coffee or lunch. Life is a balance of work and play. Take advantage of the short time you have on earth and enjoy the life God has given you.
An overachiever who continues learning from her mistakes