If you are reading this, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you’re an overachiever as well. In my case, this attribute is becoming slightly hard to deal with as a post-grad. All throughout my time as a student, most things came easily to me and it wasn’t very difficult for me to excel in my classes. I was in almost every club my high school offered and I always got any job I wanted along the way. College was a little bit harder, but understandably so, to study for certain classes to get the grades I wanted. Since graduating, I have had the hardest time accepting the rejections coming my way from numerous companies, simply because I have never had to deal with it before. I don’t mean to brag in any way when I say all of this, but if you are reading, you can probably relate. Having my dreams become less easily attainable is a heartbreaking experience for me as an overachiever. It has been a rough few months of me trying to keep myself motivated and not to lose sight of the goals and drive that I had when I walked across the stage last May. Since it was such a difficult experience for me, I think by writing this, I may be able to help someone else who is going through a similar situation or may in the future experience this. I know that I am not alone in the long search for a job after graduation, but I just never thought it would be something that I would have to endure for so long. That being said, I have learned a few things along the way on my journey through school and now even as a post-grad about dealing with being an overachiever and I am going to share these “words of wisdom” with you.
When You Want to Start too Many Things at Once
You have probably experienced this before but after graduating from college I experienced this worse than ever before. I was no longer a student for the first time in my life since I was 5 years old and in my mind, that meant free time! What I didn’t realize was that I would have to cook and clean and do laundry and all of those things that I had to do in college and that meant that not all of my hours in the day are going to be idle. I got so caught up in the idea of being able to do whatever that I started making goals:
- blogging more and trying to profit from my efforts
- start a youtube channel
- apply to at least 20 jobs a day
- start reading at least 2 books a month
- exercise and eat a healthier diet, which turned into eating a vegan diet
- watch some of the shows that I had to catch up on
- decorate our new place
- cook meals every day and meal prep
- explore all that the city has to offer
- and LOTS more…
Although some of these goals can be easily attained, some of them cannot be reached to the extent that I wanted to reach them. So I decided the best way to handle my overachieving goals was to make a list sorting them from highest priority to lowest. Then, I set lower versions of these goals, such as trying to read one book a month and not forcing myself to read every day to reach that goal but making it a priority to read if I have some free time during the day. Although it seems less structured and “go with the flow” than I am used to from being a student, it does help lower my anxiety about not reaching a certain goal. Instead of trying to meal prep every week, I make larger batches of whatever I make for dinner so I can save some for other meals throughout the week. This has definitely proven to help me out with maintaining a healthy schedule since graduating. This also helps you feel more achieved when you are reaching smaller goals instead of seeing month by month go by without feeling like you have made some progress.
If one of the things that you have on your goal list is a necessity, you’ll want that on the top of your priority list and then from there, you will want to break out a timeline explaining how much will have to get done by what date to be on schedule to complete it. When I have a hard deadline, I usually schedule it out so I will be done with it before the deadline so I have some leeway in case something unexpected comes up. You don’t ever want to schedule something important to be fully completed the day before. I have had too many wrenches thrown in plans in the past to prove that that is a bad idea.
If you notice that you have a lot of hobby things on your list, try to decide which ones you want to start immediately and which ones can be done later. This was the case for my blog and YouTube channel goals. I wanted to jump in with both feet on both projects but when you want to create quality content, that is just not reasonable. That being said, I decided to focus on my blog primarily since I had made the investment into my domain and decided that I will try to develop the YouTube channel at a later date. This helps me be able to come to the blog and feel fresh minded when I want to write a post instead of being pressured to try to think up content for both a blog and channel. Now that I have a good handle on my blog and am planning ahead with posts, I will start to lay the ground for my YouTube channel.
When You’re Devastated by Failure
This one is what I am having the most trouble with myself lately. I am so unmotivated to continue applying to jobs after dealing with so much rejection in the past few months. Overachievers naturally have a lot of pride and nothing hurts pride more than continuous rejection. That being said, I have realized that I can dwell on the rejection that I have experienced, or I can put that behind me and focus on the possibility of future acceptance. Obviously, the latter is the better idea of the two.
The first thing you have to do when you are dealing with a bad time is to give yourself a break. We are not all perfect and at some point, we will all deal with a period of failure. The biggest lesson that I have learned when dealing with failure is that you have to take advantage of your overachiever qualities and use them to put your effort into doing as much as you can to move toward your goals. Your overachiever personality can be a blessing in disguise and when you are feeling down, sometimes you just need a different perspective to get yourself moving again! It is extremely important not to let your losses get the best of you.
My last piece of advice on this subject is to refrain from punishing yourself when you are unsuccessful. Instead, celebrate your efforts! You put a lot of hard work into trying to reach a goal. If you aren’t successful, you shouldn’t discount that effort!! In my case, I spend a lot of time putting as much effort as I can into each application and interview, so when I get a rejection, it’s important for me to be proud of the effort I put in and look at it as experience. I now have one more application and/or interview under my belt that I wouldn’t have otherwise!
When You Have too Many Things to Juggle
Sometimes we have a day where there are just too many things that come up at once. I was victim to this the most during my high school years and I learned from it when I went to college. Like I said previously in this post, I was in almost every school club in high school and had a part-time job. I often had days where more than one meeting were on the same day at the same time and then others when I had meetings then headed straight to work with little time to do homework when I got home. When I went to college, I only joined a few select clubs to give myself more time to adjust to the additional responsibilities of college. If you are dealing with something like I did in high school, I can completely relate to how draining it is. I can also relate to the fact that you may not want to leave any clubs to lighten your load.
My biggest piece of advice is to stay organized and write down when you have a commitment so it will be obvious to you that you have a conflict usually at least a few days before. Once you see that you have a conflict, decide which obligation is more important or time sensitive. If you have to let someone down, as hard as it can be, do it sooner than later. If you have to miss a shift at work, reach out to your coworkers to see who can cover for you before reaching out to your boss so you seem more responsible and also offer to take a shift for that person whenever they need it in the future as long as you are available. As an overachiever, you never want to let anyone down, but sometimes it is inevitable. The best that you can do is make sure that you aren’t letting down the same club or boss often and hope that the people you report to can be understanding. If it becomes an issue where you are constantly letting people down, you may want to evaluate the depth of your involvement.
Juggling a lot of things at a time can be very strenuous so it is important to take some time for self-care and focus on some of your hobbies. A creative outlet can help you relax and let your mind and body recoupe from all of the draining activities you’re involved in throughout the day. It can be anything from taking a bath with a face mask to coloring in an adult coloring book or painting. Whatever your favorite activity is to wind down, make sure you take time to indulge for a few minutes at least every other day.
I hope that this little bit of advice helps you out when being an overachiever just gets to be too hard to handle. These pieces of advice have really helped me deal with my struggles these past few months and I hope that I can help at least one person dealing with a similar situation with this post. If you have any other advice, leave a comment down below! We can all help each other out!!
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
Until next time,