They believe that the inability to be perfect is a warning sign of failure. So they often resort to extreme measures to hold their perfect reputation. Educational consultant Kendra Cherry writes that being a perfectionist “often means that you value good work and are committed to doing your best. It is when this perfectionism becomes a source of stress and anxiety that it can start to take a toll on your physical and mental well-being.”
In fact, a 2015 study by John D. Kelly, IV, MD revealed that perfectionism was directly linked with anxiety. The research found that “perfectionism derives from anxiety or self-esteem issues, which themselves have been linked to less personal satisfaction and an increased risk of suicide. Indeed, perfectionists have a higher risk of eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression.”
4. You believe you are not worth it
All overachievers secretly have this inner belief that they are not good enough which is why they always strive their hardest to prove that they have what it takes, mostly to themselves. Self-doubt and self-criticism about your own abilities is a sign of overachievement. You believe your self-esteem and identity is built on your success. And when you feel inadequate, you may even resort to self-sabotage strategies.
Kendra adds that overachievers “have a tendency to berate themselves for failing to live up to their own excessively high expectations.” She explains “Being an overachiever may mean that you are more likely to suffer from self-doubt and anxiety. The stress of constantly striving to reach an almost impossible goal coupled with the ever-present fear of failure can be a major source of stress.”
5. You are motivated by fear
The primary cause of overachievement is fear. Fear of failure. Fear of letting yourself and others down. Fear of being criticized. Fear of other people seeing you the way you see yourself. This fear can motivate any overachiever to give everything they have to accomplish their goals. As they are afraid of appearing incompetent and weak before others, they start experiencing anxiety, stress, and depression.
“This type of motivation serves as a source of anxiety,” explains Kendra. She adds “Ultimately, you are working hard in order to avoid a negative outcome (failure) rather than achieve a positive outcome (achieving the desired goal).” This is a form of avoidance-based behavior that can result in worry, anxiety, distress, and other negative emotions which can severely impact your sense of self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence.
Here are some other signs of overachievement that you need to consider to find out if you are an overachiever:
6. You tend to ignore your personal needs to focus more on your work. And this directly affects your physical, mental and emotional health.
7. You suffer from anxiety as you constantly worry about failure and the future. Always thinking about what you can achieve next is a shortcut to stress.
8. You are only focused on the future and you are too busy worrying about the things to come. Hence, you are unable to enjoy the beauty of the present moment.
9. You are unable to relax as you are always working. You never take any days off or a vacation or take small breaks during the day.
10. The need to avoid failure at all costs can often compel you to take unnecessary and dangerous risks which can be detrimental to your well being and reputation. This often leads to setting unrealistic goals and unethical behavior.
11. You tend to become easily frustrated and tend to lose your temper. As you are under constant stress to avoid failure, you are highly prone to emotional outbursts when things don’t go your way.
12. You are unable to accept criticism as it denotes that you have failed at something. Even the slightest constructive criticism can make you feel anxious and afraid.
13. You are unable to enjoy your success. Even after accomplishing an important goal, you immediately run after the next.
14. You don’t enjoy doing things that are not good at as it means there’s a chance you may fail at getting those things done. So you choose to stick to things you know well and are already good at.
15. Overachievement affects your relationships with your partner, family and friends. As you are always busy with your work, you can never manage to spend quality time with your loved ones.
16. You often work long hours and are often the first one to reach your workplace and the last one to leave.
17. You are always running against time. You find yourself running constantly from one task to the other and hence you are unable to find any work-life balance.