I’ve been a high-achiever since I entered the world a cold January day back in the early 80s.
I’ve never been satisfied with the status quo, and am always trying to figure out how to do and be better in all areas of my life.
And as the years have gone by, I feel like this trait has only intensified. Maybe it’s because you realize how fast life moves and how limited your time on earth is. Knowing this never fails to give me a swift kick in the behind to go for it all.
Even though I’ve always played by my own rules and have never been overly competitive with my peers personally or professionally, I always joked that I was competing against myself; setting such high bars, standards, and expectations for what my life and career should be.
I don’t necessarily think this way of being is a bad thing. This drive, hustle, and ambition has gotten me very far. But recently, it went into overdrive, and I was left feeling like…well…absolute shit.
I’ll premise this by saying that as I look at my life, I realize I have a lot going on. I knew things wouldn’t be the same once I started my business – especially on top of holding down a demanding corporate gig. And they definitely haven’t been.
I’ve become “busier” than ever (ugh, I know, I’m one of those “busy” people), and my schedule is locked weeks in advance. When this journey started, I said goodbye to the simple pleasures of life, like sleeping in, weekends to just chill, and relaxing nights at home with my partner. The reality is I haven’t slept in, in a long, long time, I’ve worked every single weekend since launching my business (even when I am on vacation), and most nights, after a long day at the office, I am working with my clients or doing other business-related work.
A few months ago, I was thinking about how I wanted (or felt like I needed) to make a bigger impact with my online marketing. While I had a social media presence, I knew I wanted to dip into creating online video and just have a stronger online presence in general. Because I believe in getting help from experts, the power of coaching, and knowing success is rarely down on one’s own, I hired a media coach to help me achieve this new goal.
I remember the day I signed our contract; I felt nervous because I knew I already had a ton going on, and this was one more commitment to add to my already very busy and very full plate.
As I started this new “project,” it became apparent that the little (itsy bitsy) spare time I did have was now gone. It was spent working on my videos – which isn’t as simple as recording the 90-second product that you see on my social pages. It takes a lot more work than that – at least it did for me. After a month or so, I noticed my stress levels being at their all time high. I was trying to do my best as a leader at my corporate gig (I manage a national team of people), be my best as a coach to my roster of clients, be a great girlfriend, sister, daughter, friend, and colleague to everyone else I connected with every day.
The truth is, I was so focused on being there for everyone and everything else, I forgot about #1…ME!
It got so intense that I was officially in a funk. I woke up stressed, had a difficult time just enjoying things, and being relaxed (ever) was out of the question. I also realized I wasn’t having fun anymore, and when that happens, you know it’s time for a change.
Yup. Being a high-achiever got the best of me.
It took me a minute to be aware of what was really going on, and figure out how to pull myself out of this crappy feeling. Needless to say, I decided to put a halt on my video and media goals for the time-being while I focus on my health and wellbeing, meaningful relationships, job, and clients.
This was an important lesson for me. I had to accept that I am indeed human, and since my time on earth is limited, I don’t need to figure out how to do it all. Instead, I had to learn (and continue to learn) to find happiness and satisfaction with what I do have and am doing.
If you find yourself in this situation, ask yourself these 3 honest questions (which I had to ask myself to get through this):
1. Am I having fun?
If you’re no longer having fun with something, it means you need to take a closer look. While I enjoyed making my videos, I was not enjoying all the pressure I was putting on myself. I decided to not give up making videos entirely, but to instead take a step back and do it when I was really called to – versus forcing it because I had to reach this high bar I had set, which was probably unrealistic.
2. What are my priorities?
Be really honest with yourself. While growing my online presence is important to me, trying to set really high goals to do it while also managing bigger priorities – like my health and wellbeing, relationship, job, and clients – wasn’t going to work for me right now. I had to be honest with myself that not everything can be a priority, and once my health and happiness were slipping, I had to make choices. I can always make this goal a priority when the timing is better.
3. How are my larger goals being affected?
Regroup with yourself on your bigger picture goals. Maybe the current goal you set for yourself isn’t going to really make a huge impact or matter down the road. I realized that my larger goals of how I wanted to run my business weren’t going to be affected if I pulled back a bit from cranking out videos and stressing over it. My larger life goals of being happy, healthy (inside and out) and in harmony with my daily life and relationships were going to be affected if I didn’t take a step back. I had my answer then and there.
Has being a high-achiever ever gotten the best of you?
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