I heard an interesting quote on NPR this morning. It was US Olympic Team swimmer, Ryan Lochte, talking about Michael Phelps. Lochte said: “I know he gave it 110%, and honestly, that’s all you can really ask for.” Really? 110% is the new 100% ? Now, I’m not criticizing Ryan Lochte personally, because this seems to be a ubiquitous mindset in our society today. In fact, if I were to criticize his comment at all, it might be that it’s cliche. A sad state of affairs for those of us underachievers who only have 100% of our resources available to us at any given time.
It is these kinds of messages, delivered both explicitly, as Ryan does, and more subtly, that foster a feeling of not being good enough. How can you possibly be good enough when the unachievable is what is being called for? Now, if someone expected you to fly by flapping your arms, or breathe on your own underwater, you would laugh it off as ridiculous. But the more subtle expectations, that feel just as impossible, seem to fly in under the radar and take root undermining your self esteem. You feel compelled to take on too much, and ultimately, when you can’t accomplish the impossible, wind up feeling disappointed or inadequate.
Here are some steps to quell the overachiever inside you:
1. Pick an Expectation.
This could be something on your to do list, or something in the back of your mind that constantly haunts you. Lets say it’s “Watch all my kid’s soccer practices”
Do a round of tapping on the aspiration with the reminder phrase “I must”
“I must watch all my kid’s soccer practices”
2. Ask Pointed Questions
Is there an absolute (all, none, always, never, forever, etc.), either said or implied in my expectation?
“ALL my kid’s soccer practices”
What am I worried will happen if I don’t meet the expectation? These worries don’t have to make sense logically, just how it feels emotionally. You may have many of these, and they may sound extreme.
“I’ll be a bad mother”
“Other mothers will criticize me”
“My kid will be damaged”
“My husband will criticize me”
“I won’t be able to justify the fact that I don’t work for an employer”
Write them down and do a round of tapping on each of them. Write down your intensity level for each before you start.
3. Take it to the Max
Write a new version of each of your worries from step 2, this time make it as extreme as you can think of.
“I’ll be the worst mother in the world”
Do a round of tapping on each of those.
Take any absolute or superlative in your expectation and bring it down a notch (or several notches). There are several variations you may think of. I encourage you to try all of them and see which is most powerful for you.
” I can go to some of my kid’s soccer practices”
” I can go to half of my kid’s soccer practices”
“I can skip my kid’s soccer practices”
How true do each these statements FEEL to you? If you have any worries about these, repeat steps 2 & 3 for these statements too.
Finish off with a round of tapping on having a choice.
” I can choose to go or not go to my kid’s soccer practices”
” I can choose to skip practices and go to the games “
In the end, you may wind up doing or not doing the goal you started with. What’s important is that you are now free to make a conscious choice about it. You aren’t doing things out of guilt instead of priority. You are able to realize that by going to practice, you’re not doing something else, and you get to make that tradeoff or not. Best of all, you aren’t stuck in this belief that you are less because you didn’t win that 20th gold medal in swimming.
Where does your overachiver show strongest? I want to know, leave a comment below
Did you try the tapping above? Let me know how it worked in the comments below!