Dear Overfunctioning Human...
Is your to-do list infinity-long? Do you schedule your life back to back to back? Do your days feel lengthy yet somehow never long enough?
If so, you might be a fellow overfunctioning human—feeling responsible for everyone and everything; believing that if you don’t do it, than no one will (or it won’t be done right); working yourself into a frenzy until you crash, taking forced rest in big chunks when life throws an illness or accident your way.
Welcome. I see you.
My dear, hard-working friend, here’s what I know right now (one moment in my ever-evolving understanding of life as a sensitive deep thinker):
Even though these methods have served us well for much of our lives, at some point, we might be called to change.
I’d like to tell you a story.
A few months ago, I caused a car accident. It was minor, but traumatizing; I hadn’t had an accident or even a ticket for 15+ years.
A few hours before, my computer had stopped charging, and I felt an intense, urgent responsibility to figure it out and show up on time for my coaching clients that day, creating a state of frenzied focus.
My lack of presence as I rushed to FIGURE IT ALL OUT and DO ALL THE THINGS WITHOUT FAIL, resulted in my car accident.
And, if you can believe it, I still somehow managed to gather my frazzled self, fix the computer, spend ten minutes doing breathwork and calming my system down, and was on time for my client sessions.
Though the cars and people were ok, and I actually accomplished what I was pushing myself to do, it was a massive wake up call to notice the expectations I held for myself and reevaluate if they are helpful and reasonable.
In reflection, I was able to see how ineffective it was for me to push myself so hard. If I had a do over, I would've simply canceled my sessions and let my clients know I would be in touch within 24 hours to reschedule. Then, I could take my time to figure things out.
I deserve to have space to solve a problem.
Here’s the nugget of wisdom I gained from that rough day:
It's ok for me to create space for myself when the unexpected happens.
I don't have to kill myself to figure things out in order to show up at 100% all of the time, forever. In fact, if I push myself to that point, there will eventually be a cost — possibly to my health, my relationships, or even actual harm done like in my car accident.
In the months since that day, I have recalled this lesson and caught myself in overfunctioning mode when extra stressors or problems arise.
In those moments, I’ve often decided to act opposite of my instincts —
To give myself space if I need it.
To slow down.
To make requests.
To receive help.
Not at all comfortable in the moment, but such a more pleasant and effective way to do life
So, my dear fellow Overfunctioning Human,
I want to extend you permission to do the same:
Permission to give yourself space when you need it.
Permission to reschedule or make requests or receive help.
Permission to rest before you’re taken out (by illness, injury, or other life mandates).
Permission to have white space on your calendar.
Permission to experiment doing B- work for a day, rather than A+.
Permission for your "best" to look different on different days
Permission to just be Human.