Tell Me: Are You an Overachiever?

Overachievers come with a multitude of descriptors: type-A, red, self-critical, perfectionistic, demanding, ambitious, determined… Ultimately, I have run into overachievers who have a variety of characteristics, but they seem to share one constant: a competitive drive to be the best.

I recently posted on a dilemma, one that many other overachievers share: The lack of certainty around which career focus to pursue and whether a multi-passionate career can actually work in the beginning when you are still building a brand and/or reputation.

In case you missed that post: I am passionate about both lifestyle and young leadership, two pretty disparate areas. The conventional definition of success is pretty unfulfilling for a lot of us: big title, big paycheck, big house, plus two or three small, fast cars that you drive to and from the office. Booooring. On leadership, other overachievers, like myself, find themselves promoted quickly into leadership roles that they are unprepared for. The learning curve is fairly harsh for us controlling spreadsheet gurus who shy away from distracting social work relationships.

I’ve been struggling with identifying which direction to pursue so that all of my efforts can compound rather than being wasted across two different platforms, marketing plans, etc.

I’m reading The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau right now (it’s fantastic and a review plus giveaway will be hitting the blog shortly so stay tuned). After a particularly insightful chapter, I started to define and pick apart my audience, or target market, rather than trying to find markets for my products (which has not been helpful).

In looking at the clients who have reached out to me and those clients I have enjoyed working with the most, I realized that they were the same people. In fact, on multiple occasions I genuinely did inadvertently convert one type of client to the other.

Folks who end up in leadership positions prematurely are overachievers. They have incredible work ethics, aren’t afraid of change, and lead the charge on constant improvement. They are a natural choice for harried CEOs trying to turn a big ship on a dime in order to adapt in increasingly competitive markets.

Similarly, most folks stuck in the rut of conventional success are also overachievers. They worked hard to get where they are. It’s not until after the glow of their C-suite title and pretty leased sports car wear off that they begin to sense their own disappointment. Conventional success isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, they would rather be scuba diving or traveling or cooking…

I have a sense that most of my readers on this blog fit into the overachiever group, why else would you spend your valuable time reading about lifestyle improvement and unconventional income solutions?

You tell me: Do you consider yourself an overachiever? If so, in what sense? In not, what drew you to the blog?

Thank you in advance for your feedback and candor.

  1. Thanks for chiming in! I also find myself measuring my input and output based on other overachievers, constantly raising the bar so as to ensure that I never quite feel accomplished. Funny how the lens we view ourselves with is much more critical than the one we view others with.

  2. I actually consider myself a bit of an underachiever. But I suspect that’s because I’m comparing my true self to some hypothetical “efficient” or “fully realized” self. Compared to my coworkers and peers, I feel like I achieve more, on the aggregate (with some notable exceptions who, unfortunately, I compare myself to as well).

    I like the idea you noted on trying to think of your target audience first, rather than coming up with a good service/product & then searching for a customer. That seems like a strategy that might yield you some awesome results. All the best!

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