What was the impetus for that never-ending search for success in all my undertakings? Was there ever a moment where I couldn't/didn't because of self-limiting beliefs? Did any 1 person push me beyond my comfort zone and into accepting the latest challenge?
To be truthful, I guess I did enjoy the kudos from the onlookers who would remark "I don't know how you do it!" I guess I wanted to live up to their expectations of my dubious Super-Woman status. I guess I secretly relished in the fact that I could & they wouldn't/couldn't. To some degree, I guess it's just my innate nature, and I would probably still be that way regardless of any external variables. I don't compete with anyone actually. I am my own barometer. I've seen many people who limit themselves because of numerous reasons: their gene pool, socio-economic status, race, sex, responsibilities, neighborhood.... You name it, there's always an excuse for why One couldn't, wouldn't or shouldn't..... To quote 1 *famous* character on You-Tube during a time of great distress: "Ain't nobody got time for that!” And so I persisted in doing, learning, achieving, spinning & running on my self-imposed Hamster Wheel of Life. I slept fitfully at the end of the day from sheer exhaustion, until one day the spinning couldn't & wouldn't stop, and sleep finally escaped me.
SYMPTOMS OF AN OVER-ACHIEVER:
I share these with you - without shame - in the hopes that this will awaken you to some red flags. Here are a few of mine (see if you can relate to any of them). I must also remind you that #Overachiever'sSyndrome leads to Burn-Out Syndrome (but that's another day's blog - *smirk*):
* Multi-tasking; insisting on doing it all & hesitant to delegate because your self-imposed standards & work ethics are above board;
* Thrive under pressure;
* Not saying "no" when you really need to;
* Not enough hours in the day to do all you need/want/have to do; work long hours and often take work home;
* Unhealthy eating habits (poor food choices, rushed eating, eating while working, overeating, missed meals, etc.);
* Tension headaches; muscle aches; extreme fatigue; GI distress;
* Difficulty falling/staying asleep; insufficient sleep; restless, interrupted, dream-disturbed sleep;
* Being snappy, irritable, prone to frequent mood swings, impatient;
* Failed relationships.
I could go on.....
SO WHAT TO DO?
* Seek to understand the real reason behind why you do the things you do. I am naturally competitive, not against others - mind you, but with myself, setting MY bar just a little bit higher. There is no room for mediocrity in my world. I am Warrior-Goddess. We pursue, persist, persevere. Yet, at the end of the day, it's not about winning. I really just want to do my best and not make excuses. My grandmother had 2 sayings: "Nothing beats a failure but a try", and "When men on Earth have done their best, angels in Heaven will do the rest".
* Let stuff go. You don't have to own everything and you certainly don't have to prove anything to anyone.
* Surround yourself with a team that supports a common goal - whether it's family, business or your spiritual beliefs - and reflects the skills, gifts and talents each member brings to the table.
* Delegate based on people's strengths. The front desk receptionist spot is not the place to put the office's Dilbert who is awesome at crunching numbers or prefers balancing the budget, but shies away from interacting with the public.
* Celebrate your successes but learn from your 'mistakes'.
* For Pete's sake, be kind to yourself! Give yourself a break! When I was in acupuncture school, 10 minutes to every hour we would get a break & the faculty encouraged us to walk around the campus to move our Qi. Thank goodness for the 10K step-fitness challenge I recently signed up for with my "sole-mates" at work. I divide my lunch break into 15' of walking outside in the Elements around the hospital campus, with another 15' to enjoy a light lunch. Both of these breaks give me a chance to step away from the intensity of the work at hand, throw in some physical activity, while reconnecting to Source. I return after my lunch-break refreshed, inspired and energized and able to finish up my day. In my acupuncture practice, you will often see me outside the clinic facing the sun in-between patients for a quick 5 minute grounding & energizing meditation, or if time allows, I'll take a luxurious, well-deserved 15 minute session on my BioMat.
* And finally, leave work at the office. Not very long ago, I was that over-achiever. Now I've learnt it is important to take time for me. Now I'm learning how to say 'no' to others and 'yes' to me... WITHOUT guilt! My birthday week (every year on this day) begins my sabbatical from the outside world and a renewal of my commitment to my Self - physically, emotionally, mentally & Spiritually. Let your family time be your sanctuary from the grind of the outside world. Make time for developing friendships - we do not live in a vacuum. Find your alone-time. Breathe. Let go of agendas and expectations. Have no attachment to outcomes. At the end of the day, your health is more important than any business accomplishment or accolade you could ever achieve.
So why am I writing this on my Chinese Medicine blog? Because I do not just preach "Body-Mind-Spirit medicine"; I live it. And because if you don't take care of yourself, I might end up being the one to help You take care of You.
Be healthy; Be well!
Audrey Steele, L.Ac.
Would'a, could'a, should'a... so I did!"