I Am an Overachiever

I’ve never identified myself as an overachiever. I would definitely describe myself as driven, motivated, goal oriented, and even a little Type A – but not an overachiever.

Until I read 5 Mistakes That Cause Overachievers to Fail by Jennifer Gresham on Everyday Bright.

Unfortunately, I’m becoming very familiar with these failures Jennifer references in this post. Too familiar. And I would venture to guess that many nonprofit staffers feel the same – we’re all passionate people or we wouldn’t be in this field. When does passion go too far?

I have been incredibly stressed out lately. Yes, I’ve had a lot of life changes in the past few months – moving, new job, new grad school program… but still, something more has been tugging at me. Something beyond the usual nerves of something new. Something more substantial.

I read this post and realized – that’s it. I’m an overachiever. My overachiever self is going crazy trying to balance all these new parts of my life and do them all perfectly.

I’m spending a lot of time worrying about what others think. I want to impress my colleagues, look smart to my cohort/professor, and fit in perfectly with my new community. I want to be the perfect employee, friend, and girlfriend. I want to achieve perfection in every aspect of my life.

Instead of inspiring me, these goals are causing me to be anxious almost all of the time. I’m worried about balancing it all and being perfect all at the same time. I’ve realized I’ve become obsessed with this idea of being good at everything. Not just good – great.

When I had just one or two things going on, it was doable. I would say I was a pretty great employee and girlfriend back where we used to live. But now we’ve moved and I’ve added on student and family member… with a brand new job that demands more… and less time to be a great girlfriend… clearly, my perfectionist self is in overdrive. How can I make this happen??

I can’t.

What I can make happen is doing the best I can at everything I do. And knowing that’s good enough.

It’s better than good enough – it’s perfect.


How NOT To Get a Promotion

I’m aware that I’ve been citing other blogs frequently lately. I’m also aware that this next one I’m referring to was written over a week ago. But I’m writing about it anyway, because it’s that good. This was one of those think-about-it-days-later blog posts. I’m talking about 7 Lies That Undercut Your Chances of Promotion at Everyday Bright. I absolutely encourage you to take a moment to read it – it will definitely give you a new perspective on some tried and true job skills.

I’d like to outline a few of my thoughts on some of the lies.

Lie #1: Work hard

I love this. We all know that one person in the office who comes in at 7:45 and leaves at 6:15. She likes to talk about how much work she has to do and how there isn’t enough time in the day. In fact, everyone in a nonprofit has more work than time to do it in. That doesn’t mean you should overwork yourself and sacrifice your personal life. After the workday is over, put your work down and go home to your family. You’ll be able to recharge your batteries and will be that much more efficient tomorrow.

Lie #2: Do your job well

This one might be the one that resonates with me the most, that I personally need to work on. This relates to what I mentioned earlier as my biggest weakness – I need to step up and do projects that are outside of the box that showcase my creativity and understanding of fundraising and the nonprofit sector. I need to do more than my job – I need to prove that I can do my future job.

Lie #5: Network with influencers

Jennifer is emphasizing the point that you shouldn’t just network with the high ups, you should network with everyone. You never know who will become what and who has pull where. I love this point. It’s critical to be friendly and open to everyone you meet, whether it’s the receptionist or the CEO. Everything has something to offer – you just need to give them the chance to show it.

Lie #7: Have a career plan

I disagree with her just slightly on this one. I would modify this point to say you should have a plan (or goal), but it should be loose and ever-changing. I think there is value to having an idea of where you’d like to be in the future, but mostly to notice the aspects of the goal that are attracting you and keep them at the heart of your actions.

Notice I didn’t address Lie #6: Go back to school, because clearly that’s exactly what I’m doing in two months! However, I don’t see going back to school as my ticket to promotion, instead simply something to pair with my work experience and knowledge of the sector as I navigate my way to my goal.

Thank you, Jennifer, for such a wonderful post. We all can learn a little something from these points!!