The realization that finally freed me from perfectionism and overachieving

Woman jumping in canyon

There were so many wake-up calls I totally ignored. Sobbing on the floor when I was a junior in high school because I was so completely exhausted. Nearly blacking out during a final in college. Getting shingles when I was 30.

I knew all these things were because of my crazy driving and overachieving, but I didn’t actually know WHY I was putting so much pressure on myself to succeed at EVERYTHING.

Until last winter.

I finally took a step back and asked myself the question.

The answer came to me in an instant.

I was working so hard to prove myself. To compensate for areas in my life that I felt behind or out of the race entirely. It started in high school when I was overweight and boys weren’t interested in me, so I put all my energy into getting good grades and being the captain of two sports and working at my church and volunteering.

And it continued up through last winter when I realized I was putting all the pressure on my business because I wasn’t married and wasn’t a mother. I thought to myself, “Well, I better be successful in my business, because if I fail here and I’m not married and I don’t have any kids, then what do I have to show for my life?”

Part of me knew this wasn’t true. I rationally knew that I was worthy as a human no matter what I achieved. But there was another part of me that didn’t fully believe it.

I didn’t want to keep feeling this way.

So I worked. My new mantra became you are worthy for who you are, not what you do. I let go of the comparison, of feeling like everything had to be successful the first time around, and adopted a mindset of progress over perfection. I practiced quieting the inner critic that was forever telling me I had to be working and proving and I started trusting my true inner voice. I even discovered I had an artistic side and started painting for the first time ever.

The inner critic isn’t completely gone, but it is SO MUCH BETTER. And you guys – life is so much more fun this way! An outsider looking in might not notice many differences, but I feel completely different on the inside. More centered and present and playful and open to the possibilities. I work from joy and inspiration rather than proving and driving.

This alone would be enough, but it isn’t all – my business has also continued to expand as I’ve done this work on myself.

This isn’t just my story – it’s the story of my coaching clients. These women are slowing down and enjoying life. They are growing their business and career because they focus on impact instead of proving. They are saying no and letting go of people pleasing. They are getting out of their own way and standing in their strengths. They are changing the world, one unhurried step at a time.

If you want to stop the madness of hustling for your worth so you can have the life you want while making a big impact, schedule a coaching consultation with me now. It’s a free 30-minute call where we’ll get clear on what’s holding you back and decide together if coaching is the right fit for you.

Don’t wait. Life is so much better on the other side.

 

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with high achieving women to get out of their own way so they can have the life they want while making a big impact with their business. Click here to learn more about coaching.

How to get out of manic mode

Are you operating in manic mode?

I’m guessing if you clicked on this blog post, you already know what I’m talking about.

Manic mode. It’s feeling like you can’t slow down. Like there will never be enough time to get everything done, so you rush from place to place to check another item off a to-do list that never seems to get shorter. There is an underlying feeling of anxiety and edge through your entire body.

One of my clients calls this panic mode. Not quite an actual panic attack, but snaking in that direction.

It’s not a healthy place.

I first noticed my own manic mode a few years ago when I was running errands on a weekend day. I felt my whole body rushing with an urgent need to get everything done on my to-do list. It was like there was a hamster wheel in front of my lungs and I could feel it spinning faster and faster, whirring inside my body.

So I stopped.

My rational brain kicked in and I said to myself, “This is ridiculous. Nothing you are doing is an emergency. You don’t need to feel this way.”

I took a breath and let go of manic mode. The whir of the hamster wheel in my chest began to quiet down. My heart rate slowed. The underlying anxiety pulsing through my body started to subside.

I purposefully shifted my body out of manic mode and back into a normal state of being. Still moving forward. Still getting things done. Just without the manic.

I realized I could be productive AND calm at the same time.

Manic mode didn’t help me get through my to-do list any faster. It just made it less enjoyable.

After that day, I started to notice when I was operating in manic mode. The hamster wheel in my chest was the dead giveaway. Over time, I noticed more subtle signals as well. Shallow breathing. My mind ticking faster than normal. I often bumped into things when I was in manic mode – literally. I have manic mode to blame for countless bruises and scrapes!

Manic mode shows up less now than it used to, but it still makes an appearance every once in a while. When I notice it, I take a breath and move my body out of manic mode state. It’s an intentional shift. Sometimes I can do it in an instant and sometimes it requires sitting for a minute and taking deep breaths. But it works every time.

What does your manic mode look like?

Think about how your body tells you that you’re in manic mode. Do you have the wheel spinning in your chest like me? Or is there tightness in your belly? Do you feel like you can’t take a deep breath? The signals are different for everyone – start paying attention to yours.

When you notice it, stop and breathe. Tell yourself that you don’t have to live this way. Purposefully release manic mode. Feel your body and mind slow down. And then keep going on with your day – no manic required.

 

ONE FINAL NOTE: If you can’t slow down and manic mode is more than an underlying feeling – it’s a high level of overarching anxiety, please reach out for help. As I coach, I work with women that experience manic mode, but if you are having panic attacks or all-consuming anxiety, then a therapist or psychologist is a better fit (I have also worked with clients utilizing a therapist and me as a coach at the same time and it’s a great combination!).

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with high achieving women that want to stop being so hard on themselves and get back their joy while still having a successful career. Click here to learn more about coaching.