Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Day 2974 - What's the difference between an achiever and an over achiever?

I was once told I was an overachiever.

Eight years ago, as I stood in the minus 6 degree frost at dawn with bats squealing overhead and a rope around my waist in readiness to drag a truck tyre up a hill, my boot camp instructor called me an "over achiever".  Clearly she wasn't referring to my exercise mindset because I really suck at exercise. I just don't recall what it was about, but the words "over achiever" kept reverberating through my brain as I painfully ran up the grassy slope of Regatta Point dragging the extra weight behind me.

I've often thought of her statement and wonder why on earth I would be referred to as an OVER achiever.  I agree that I like to achieve results, but why do we need the word "OVER" to preface it?  Can't I just be an achiever instead?

So I did what any over achiever would do.  I googled it.


According to the Huffington Post there are 17 signs you're an overachiever.  It turns out that overachiever is actually one word.  It is not an add on to being an achiever, but a state of being all by itself.   

  1. It's all about the outcome (and it better be a good one)
  2. You live your life in a state of perpetual relief (at avoiding failure)
  3. You secretly think you're not good enough 
  4. There is a short list of things you want to be good at (the stuff you know you'll be judged on)
  5. Your significant other is tired of hearing "I'm sorry, but I have to stay late at the office again". 
  6. Criticism is the worst
  7. You're very future-focused
  8. You feel anxious a lot
  9. You think about the next success even when you've just reached a significant goal post
  10. You're a perfectionist
  11. You're the first in the office and the last to leave
  12. In high school you were the one in 15 clubs
  13. Providing opportunities for your kids is due to the fear of being a bad parent (rather than helping kids to realise their interests and passions)
  14. You gravitate towards commission-based jobs
  15. You keep score in your relationship
  16. Crunch time is the worst time (because mistakes can be made)
  17. You may be more likely to stay in an unhappy marriage (because you hate failure)

I'm not going to go into detail about which of these points I was able to put a tick next to, but let's just say that if I was to score a point for each solid "absolutely yes" tick I've decided I'm a 7.  If I was to score a half for each point where it might relate occasionally, I'd need to add 4 points.  Which means I'm an 11/17 in the overachiever stakes.

People often say to me "I don't know how you do it all" which is apparently the equivalent of a big red alarm that screams "brmp brmp brmp - overachiever alert". 

But I swear, I'm not an overachiever. 11/17 does not an overachiever make. Point 10 confirms that. 

So can I just be a plain ol' achiever instead?

Do you ever use the word overachiever?

Where do you stand in the overachiever checklist?

What are your thoughts on this list?

Am I an overachiever? 


  1. I'm only 8...that's ok then???Though a few I think I might overcome and ditch....

  2. LOl I am sitting at 5 - not sure what that actually means but it was fun to read.

  3. I am sooo not an overachiever. I spend as few hours as possible at work :)

  4. I got 7 or 8 and wasn't even eligible for some (no significant other, kids and so forth so those questions were irrelevant!)

  5. I think I ticked around 10 items on this list! Time to think about my goals for next year and also to be mindful and slow down ... thanks a lot for this post! Food for thought!

  6. Look it is only one list and I think that 'overachiever' is 'overused'. Personally I think I like to do things well but my life does not depend on that. I have enjoyed achievements that I have been mostly responsible for but I did not achieve them for the sake of 'saying I did' if that makes sense. That is a US-based list from what I see, and I do think that whilst a few might be me, there is also something to be said for doing a job and doing it well. IF though, in doing so you are harming your health and perhaps in turn, that of others, then is any achievement worth that? Great topic!

  7. I wonder if I'm even an achiever, let alone an overachiever, I just scraped a 3 in that list. Half the fun for me is the act of having a go at things. I like to achieve my goals but I'm very au fait with failure. In fact, I think it's the failing where all my learning and growing happens!

  8. Not an overachiever but honestly, I think most people think they're not good enough. I do too and it's not a secret. :P

  9. I would hit some of these points but I would never say I'm an overachiever, I just want to do a good job with whatever I'm doing.

  10. In some regards I think I'm an overachiever, but most of that just comes from being a perfectionist, lol! A trait that I am trying desperately to help my eldest daughter with!


I love hearing your thoughts! Keep them rolling in :)

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