Tales From An Overachiever :: I Don’t Give 110% Anymore

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.

Alyson Haggerty
Alyson lives in Metairie with her husband, Patrick, their two boys, and their Morkie, Beignet. After teaching for almost ten years, she left a career in education, earned her BSN, and now works as a pediatric emergency nurse. In her free time, Alyson enjoys flipping furniture, writing, dancing, and painting. She is always looking for a racquetball partner and loves streetcar rides and playing board games with her family. A good cook, she is constantly on a quest to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” but has thus far been unsuccessful.


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