Achieving: Too much of a “good” thing

Achieving is really important to me. In the world of CliftonStrengths, ‘Achiever‘ is in my top 5. This basically means it’s my way of being and my default. My need for achievement (ticking both big and small things off my to-do list) helps me get things done; but it also gets in my way. Case in point: my spouse used to call me “jefe” (chief, in Spanish) because of my habit of continuously rattling off things he needed to do the moment he woke up.

My constant drive to get things done means I work a lot. I do so in an attempt to shrink my to-do list. Strangely (sarcasm), that list never shrinks.

Incongruent beliefs and actions

Until recently, I held this narrow definition achievement: a work-related accomplishment. Though in theory, I believed that activities such as mothering, reading, singing, and spending time with friends were achievements, most of my actions prioritized getting work-related tasks done. So, in my mind ‘work = achievement’ and all other activities were (theoretically) important and valuable, but were not achievements.

My actions and beliefs were not congruent.

Out of integrity

Without wanting to be overly dramatic, lack of congruency between actions and beliefs is a major violation of (my own) values. Once I realized how I was framing achievements, and my inconsistencies, I started to shift how I think about achievements. A bike ride with my daughter, a conversation with my son, a laugh with my spouse, reading a fiction book–are all now fulfilling and pleasurable achievements.


If you’re feeling stressed and stressed because your need to achieve is in overdrive, these resources may help:


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