I have always been very driven.
As a young child, I knew that I could accomplish so much in the world and was committed to doing it all. This belief and drive gave me spark and fire toward creativity and accomplishment.
It served me well. I was willing to move away from my hometown – many states away – to a new place.
This drive pushed me to work two jobs, climb the ladder, learn, and to do whatever I needed to position myself in a corporate position that would allow me to accomplish more.
In the end, I started my own company – built from nothing but my hard work – and grew it over time to a success.
I wasn’t just driven. I was a Hyper Achiever and over perfectionist.
What I was calling drive, commitment, and accomplishment was actually hyper-achievement and over-perfectionistic.
I allowed myself to be in a place where surviving financially and thinking about work and success, was the only thing that was driving me.
Sure, it was coming from good intentions for others, but I was blinded by what was happening inside and outside of myself while I was so busy accomplishing the next thing.
My personal life was not what I thought it needed to look like. My relationships suffered. I didn’t take care of myself, and my body reminded me of it in the way I felt and looked.
Ultimately, I could see that no matter how successful I was professionally, if I wasn’t taking care of myself, both my personal and professional life would suffer.
Pumping Life too Hard…Are You a Hyper Achiever too?
One of many taps on the shoulder I received in life occurred when I overheard one of my mentors talking about me to a group of other businesspeople.
She bragged of my successes and spoke high praises of me. But she said something that I remember to this day:
“It doesn’t matter what Michelle does in life, she could be pumping gas for a living and if she did, she would pump gas hard!”
I knew what she meant. But in that moment, I felt ashamed. It was a tap on my shoulder to re-think some things like:
- What makes me think I need to pump gas hard?
- Why does anyone? Who cares?
- Why do I or anyone think that doing something “hard” is better?
- What if it didn’t have to be hard and we could get the same – or better results?
I thought about the other things I was not doing very well or even paying attention to.
What did I cost myself? What did I miss while I was so worried about pumping the gas hard?
My mentor had no idea the significance of that conversation that I overheard that day.
Do You Like What You See in the Mirror?
I did not want to define myself that way – but that is exactly how I was defining myself already.
I needed to recognize my values, priorities and hold myself accountable. That would be the true test of who I was going to choose to be as a person -not just as a business professional or an entrepreneur.
If I want to be satisfied, an example to other women, to my children and to my friends and anyone else, I first needed to be an example that I am proud of.
My mentor put a mirror in front of my face to see if I liked what I saw. The truth? I did not like it.
I was not getting results in my life that brought me the peace and satisfaction that I so desperately needed and wanted.
All of the people and things that I was continually trying to control, fix, make better, perfect, and manipulate were causing me more pain in my life. I was doing it because I believed that would bring me what I needed.
But it did the opposite.
Outlining my values and my priorities allowed me to see where my energy could serve me and others best – and where it would not.
The Inner Perfectionist Drive is Part of Who You Are
I struggle regularly with my perfectionistic tendencies and probably always will.
Each individual brain is hard wired for survival. Sometimes I’m still pumping hard and it’s a good thing. But most times, it’s not.
Our best blessings can also be our curses.
Once we know that, it makes it much easier to see it when it is happening and make decisions about how we want to proceed each time.
- What are your tendencies?
- What are the ways you have operated for as long as you can remember that have served you well and gotten you to where you are?
Then ask yourself:
- What are the ways and in what times have they been in the way, or limited you?
- Do you have the results you truly want in your life? If not, why?
I had plenty of things and people that I could have blamed back then. But blame never solves anything. It simply perpetuates a cycle.
I – and I alone…
- chose to lose track and not honor my priorities and my values.
- didn’t redefine success for myself again.
- forgot to take care of myself.
- never communicated to myself or anyone else what was most important and what needed to change.
Because of that, I no longer dreamed or knew how to be creative and explore the things that brought me the most joy in my life. The only person responsible for that was me.
And you know it’s you, too.
Honor Your Priorities, Create a Space for Yourself
Once I honored my priorities, the rest fell into place. Because I found the peace, resolve, acceptance, and happiness for myself, I continued to find it everywhere I looked.
Because I found a space. A freedom.
My work was the most fulfilling and rewarding it had ever been. It remains that way today. It is not perfect and it never will be. I work hard and give all of myself to it, but not for the same reasons: not because it will be better when I get there and not because it’s not yet perfect.
Can you relate?
Ask yourself, What…
- Are the results I have in my life right now?
- Are the most important things to me?
- Do I want to change in my approach and thinking to get me on the track that takes me where I want to go?
When you go through that process, you find freedom from the Hyper Achiever inside. You find your true power. And from all of that, you find happiness, fulfillment, and reward.
If you are looking for ways to work on this path for yourself, we tackle this issue and a great deal more here at Strive Coaching Studio. It costs you nothing to check us out.
Come see how you can create a life of true reward.