#13 I can’t stop…

Sometimes I like to change things up and walk to my local coffee shop to work. We’ve got an office but sometimes it’s just nice to change up the scenery and get the head into a different working space. What I’ve noticed is that I work up a sweat every time I get to the coffee shop (relax it’s like 2 miles away so I’m not completely in lawyer shape). I tell myself every time to take it easier because I hate being sweaty going anywhere that’s not the gym. I never do. Once I start I can’t stop. I had a professor tell me it’s a dual edged sword. I never really understood what he meant until recently. (The professor calling me out was Michael Chasalow, more on him and his mentorship later). Sometimes I wished I could stop.

I suppose the other interesting thing about this trait is that I find myself incredibly competitive about some things, and then not at all at other things. Beer pong? Not competitive. Call of Duty? Incredibly so. Golf? Yes, very much so, but only really with myself. I think the through line with this trait is that I’m tough on myself and seek internal validation over external. If you ask my previous bosses and supervisors, they’ll tell you I’m TERRIBLE at taking compliments. That’s like a person who sucks at receiving gifts from others, at some point it doesn’t make sense to give them any more gifts.

On the one hand, this is what keeps me going. It’s a fear of failure, of not being able to achieve the arbitrary goals I’d set for myself. Without that fear, I don’t know if I’d be in the position that I am. It’s the voice in the back of my mind that wakes me up at 5:30 every morning to train and get better.

On the other hand, it can be debilitating and an unpleasant personality to be around. Someone who is relentless can be, well, annoying and a pester others at times. They are constantly pushing. There’s this internal anxiety that you can tell is building up when you’re around them. I’ve recognized this over the years so I try to internalize the pressure, but it boils over sometimes and I know it affects the people I’m around. Because I’m filled with so much pressure I can’t even take a compliment. It feels unnatural and uncomfortable, which is bad because sometimes others need the external validation. A person who doesn’t take compliments is hard pressed to remember to give them to others.

On the other…umm…other hand, the internal pressure can be a good thing at times. It can be a force multiplier for a team, when other team members want to match the energy and push themselves to their individual limits. To help folks realize their own individual potential. I think that’s an important message. Don’t let the anxiety be a destructive force to yourself and those around you. Channel it into trying to make yourself and others better (note: an important caveat is to do so only if they’re a willing participant).

What I’m trying to say is, I don’t have a solution for not having an off mode, but if you find yourself in a similar mindset consider the ways to channel the energy. Sometimes a destructive force can be used to build something.

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