Healthy Performance: pulling the plug on overachieving

by Caroline van Kimmenade

I used to be a gotta-do-things-right-or-not-at-all person. And I always worked hard and did well. Then I became ill and where before I could read and analyze difficult academic texts for hours, now (read: 2009) my head started spinning after 1/2 hour of light reading of any kind. So, I needed to tweak my performance expectations just a teeeeny bit.

Guess what, it was hard, initially, but once I realized how precious being able to do anything truly was, I started to think “what the heck, it’s an achievement for me just to do something relevant every day, I’ll let that be enough”.

I transformed myself into an all-I-can-guarantee-is-that-I’ll-show-up performer. And often that was more than enough! What’s more, learning to take it easy I realized that for the first time in my life I was able to kick back and celebrate any achievements and steps forward. And, for the first time in my life I was acknowledging myself for everything I was doing to move forward in my life.

Now, with my health not quite where it used to be, nor as bad as it’s been, I realize that I’ve been given an amazing opportunity to expand my possibilities. Before, top performance was a must. Now, it’s a conscious choice. Some projects I give my all, others I do just enough to “do” them, and it is my decision now.


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