Overachiever: one who achieves success over and above the standard or expected level especially at an early age.
I am often described by people as an overachiever. It might be more accurate, based on the definition of the word, to call me a Wannabe Overachiever. I set goals and go after them. I am committed to the idea that I can always improve. I think you should do something right the first time rather than fix it. I wouldn’t say that I have achieved success over and above any standards. And with each passing day, I move farther away from doing anything at an early age.
One of the greatest challenges for a Wannabe Overachiever is setting limits. It seems to be a contrary concept. Limit setting and overachieving just don’t go hand-in-hand. This morning, I saw this:
“Respect yourself enough to walk away from another that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.” What a concept. For a wannabe overachiever – what a challenge.
The overachiever strives, struggles, even fights to make the thing that no longer serves them do what they think it should do. They commit to the potential and ignore that it just isn’t quite cutting it. Walking away is… scary.
Courage is acknowledging our strength and setting limits. Sonia Johnson said it well:
Feminism called upon me to have the courage to grow up, to discover and exercise my womanly strength, to be unafraid of pain – and the pain is immeasurable – knowing that fully experienced, it makes joy fully possible.
Sue Patton Thoele blessed us with The Woman’s Book of Courage. Women – overachievers or not – should grab a copy and be reminded to embrace their courageous selves. Thoele reminds us:
Although it is one of the most difficult things women have to learn, often the most courageous and loving thing for us to do is to acknowledge our strength and learn to set honest limits.
Women and overachievers courageously unite!
Ifeoma Aduba, AWP Director of Public Advocacy