Tales From An Overachiever :: I Don’t Give 110% Anymore
I’m a solid mix of Type 3 and Type 1. If you’re unfamiliar with the enneagram, those types are known as The Achiever and The Perfectionist, respectively. I instinctively strive for excellence and carry out most tasks with maximum effort. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to rein it in.
I’ve learned to resist that urge to do everything, be everywhere, and give it all 110%. At one point, I was a full-time teacher, chair of my department, dance team coach, mother, my son’s soccer coach, wife, and taking graduate classes in educational leadership. I’d had this idea that being “just a teacher” wasn’t enough, that I needed to take on extracurriculars or move up into administration. I didn’t want to be “just a spectator” in the stands at my son’s game; I should coach a team. Although I love a packed calendar, it wasn’t mentally or emotionally sustainable to do all the things. Everyone else saw a reliable and organized overachiever, always remarking to me, “I don’t know how you do it all.” Now as a recovering overachiever looking back, I don’t know either. I was sprinting when I should have been marathoning.
Fast forward a few years. I am now a nurse. I work PRN, which means I’m not considered full-time and am only required to work one 12-hour shift every two weeks (though I choose to schedule myself for 3 shifts per week). I have no desire to go back to school for a higher degree or move into nursing administration. I rarely pick up overtime shifts. I sit on a few committees but don’t want to be a committee chair. Even as I type this, I’m worried those reading will write me off as a slacker or not a team player. But I work hard. I never call in. If I’m available to help when the unit has a need, I do. At the very least, I am reliable and hardworking. And I’ve learned that that’s enough. It’s enough for me. It will have to be enough for others.
I didn’t sign up to be a room mother for my son’s class, but I offer to chaperone field trips and help back stage at the school play. I didn’t sign up to cook something for the potluck, but I quickly Venmo’d the people in charge. I’m not coaching a sport, but I rarely miss a game, keep the scorebook if needed, and buy cookie cake for the championship. That’s enough. I’m artistically talented but no longer take paid projects (after maybe a month of doing that, I realized it took the joy out of my hobby). I have nothing to prove and don’t need to do everything.
I do what makes me happy and understand that running myself ragged doesn’t make me a good nurse or mother or anything. In fact, it’s the opposite. When I’m stretched too thin, I can’t be great at anything. I’m intentional about what I do now. I’m an asset in most settings, and I know my limits and refuse to be stressed or exhausted.