My Complicated Relationship with Words, Part 1: Overachiever

I love words. I constantly turn them over in my mind, back and forth. I move, change, and manipulate so I can transform them into what I need them to convey. Every day, all day. Words, words, words. Spend enough time thinking about some words and you develop complicated relationships. Plenty of loaded words in our modern vocabulary get caught up in double meanings, hidden agendas, cultural stigmas, fleeting trends. I have a few in mind, but today I’m going to pull out one of my favorites: overachiever.


This past week I was in flux, fully steamrolling through life. My new pal Annie Passanisi had filled my head with work I needed to do to focus on marketing, branding, and selling books (hey, I’m not ashamed). I had lists everywhere (still do). I was surrounded by mundane tasks and giant ideas. I was careening. My brain at a fever pitch.

Caution: All signs point to an overachiever. Or at least a scribbler.

Caution: All signs point to an overachiever. Or at least a scribbler.

“Oh, here I am in overachiever mode,” I thought. “I always want to write and work and create everything. I overschedule myself and clog everyone’s inbox with new pet projects that I want to start ASAP. I’m relentless.” Damn these overachiever tendencies.

Wait a minute, though. What’s so bad about being an overachiever?

Is there some set amount that each person is supposed to achieve—to want to achieve—and anything above that level is considered wrong? What makes people point the finger and label a go-getter as someone who has too much achievement on deck?

Being an overachiever isn’t all accomplished tasks and project milestones. Yes, success is positive. In my heart of hearts, I want to convince you that there’s nothing bad about overachieving or being the overachiever. There isn’t, really. (Here comes the complicated part.)

Nothing wrong with being driven. Except when my spinning head, hell-bent on new ideas and projects, shoves me right out of the driver seat and into the land of the restless insomniacs.

All that internal push to achieve starts some real fires in me, and if I’m not careful, I wind up flying off the charts and staring at the ceiling at 4 a.m.

That’s kind of where I was this past week, but sleeplessness doesn’t stand a chance in the face of a little break from the full-time job, long talks with my partner in crime, and a few cozy treatments at my favorite acupuncture clinic. It’s one thing to be an overachiever, but it’s another to try and take on the world without a little help. Because I might be an overachiever, but I know I can’t do it all alone.

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4 Responses to “My Complicated Relationship with Words, Part 1: Overachiever”

  1. […] me to say my affirmations three times a day and check in next week? I don’t. I’m a motivated overachiever, dammit. I don’t need anyone to tell me what to […]

  2. […] on a bit of a self-help kick, though I hate the term (a post on my complicated relationship with it is coming soon). I’ve gotten some help from a no-bullshit life coach. I’ve been […]

  3. […] think we’ve established that I am a take-charge, go-get-‘em gal. Maybe sometimes a little too much so. My brain is restless. It drives me to chew up feelings and experiences and spit them out as words […]

  4. […] not talking about suppressing your drive for more in life. Or settling. God, no, not settling. The unrepentant overachiever in me would never stand behind […]

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