Confessions of a needy overachiever
Posted by Meg Bear on September 18, 2009
By now you all realize I’m a bit of a Hermione Granger, overachieving, overdoing, inclined to study for tests that aren’t ever going to happen.
I cannot remember a time when this was not true. All I can tell you is that this is not something I try to do, this is something I cannot keep myself from doing. It is core to my personality.
I am also quite aware of how annoying this can be to the rest of the population. I actually spend time worrying about how my need to overachieve, might make others annoyed and attempt to hide achievements at times. I know, its odd, what can I say?
In recent weeks, I’ve been noticing a few things that are not so obvious byproducts of this personality core.
- I do not like to be threatened to do something — very strangely, if you point out something you need from me I will do everything I can to get it done for you. Even if it’s only a secondary or tertiary kind of priority. If I can achieve it I will. No questions asked. BUT if you threaten me to do it, I will respond in the opposite. I will actually get rebellious and combative. I’m sure this is an overreaction to the kind of respect I feel I should get for the overachieving side, but it’s there just the same. As you can imagine this could be [is] wildly career limiting at times.
- I need to be recognized — this one is a little more complex than it sounds. Ironically, in this area I don’t really need to be recognized personally. I take it as a given that I will want to overachieve, and as long as there is a slight nod to the fact that I’m doing well, it’s all good. BUT when it comes to my products I actually need to be LOVED. I get real joy from being able to create something that meets the needs of the customer, in a way that gets them excited. It is that excitement, that practical sense that we have met the goal of a product release, that keeps me going.
Without positive feedback on my products, I get a bit cranky and depressed. When positive feedback comes, I feel joy and purpose. I can’t really imagine being in a job where I don’t get that kind of recognition, since it really sustains me. This is probably why I’ve kept at this job for such a long time.
Yes, this does make me needy, but it is a need to be useful. The need to put my core overachieving self to use on something that actually matters. For without that I am just working hard and frankly I’m not a fan of the work, I’m a fan of the results.
What about you? What is the thing that really keeps you going?