The overachiever's feelings of underachieving
Whether or not I’m actually achieving anything, I class myself as a bit of an overachiever. I’m not happy with doing my 9-5 and going home to sit on the couch and do nothing. Although, sometimes I do really need to do this. Even when I’m sitting at my desk, the thought of not being able to reply to all the emails, get all the stats for clients, or write 50 articles in a day can send me into a bit of a panic. I love to be able to do everything, even if it’s impossible.
Just recently I let go of something I didn’t actually realise was causing me more harm than good. For nine years I invested so much of my energy and my passion into something that I always came away from feeling unappreciated, not listened to, and I knew I was never going to make a difference. I took a make or break leap. Do it all or do nothing. So when all of my input was kicked to the kerb, I said see ya later, and my mental health is so much better for it.
But leaving nine years of my life behind like that really did mess with my overachiever mindset. I felt like I would be letting people down if I didn’t continue, but really all I was doing was letting myself down by pouring this creativity into something that, quite honestly, I should have let go of years ago and was bringing me nothing but anxiety and anger.
Since I let go, my achievements are climbing. Hatchling is generating a steady amount of sales, Yarns is letting me flex my creative muscles both in writing and crafting, and my job is incredibly satisfying with the right amount of challenge. And then alongside that, I still have room to do a bit of fundraising for a charity as well as dream up plans for the future. I’d be absolutely bored out of my mind without my side hustles, so I’m so stoked to have my energy levels restored for these.
Something I’ve learnt is that boundaries are essential. I’ve spent most of my working life and my extra curricular life saying yes to everything because I thought it would make me look incapable or like I had a weakness if I said no. But, really, it’s only been the last few weeks where I have learnt that being able to say, “I can’t do that today, but…”, or even just “I’m running at capacity today”, whether that’s workload wise or emotionally, is incredibly important for your wellbeing. It’s something I’ve taken for granted for a long time. I always assumed that by putting myself on the line all the time, all these “achievements” would amount to something and I’d get some sort of “reward”. But other people don’t define your self worth, and the constant feeling of underachieving is hurtful and damaging. So if I can give you one piece of advice, it would be to ditch the people, places and events that make you feel unworthy and put all of your wonderful passion and energy into something YOU enjoy.