How to Stop Being a Trailblazer at Work (and Why You Should Be Doing It)

Thus, you consider yourself to be the exact opposite of a quiet quitter (which, if you haven’t heard, is a gross misconception). On the contrary, you are successful and always strive to achieve more and more. As we said before , stress caused by overwork can backfire, actually harming your ability to do your job right. Even if you love to give all your time and effort to your work, it’s important to set boundaries before you overdo it on your road to serious burnout .

For many people, anxiety is a major component of their overachievement. The risk of overspreading yourself can even harm your career prospects in addition to your personal well-being. Here are some of the downsides of overachieving at work and what you can do to overcome them while still being successful.

How to please people

First, there’s an important disclaimer: Many workers know they have to go overboard to be treated the same as other people, based on their race or gender. However, knowing how to apply boundaries at work is a necessary skill to avoid burnout in the long run.

If you say yes to every little thing at work, you will waste yourself too much. You may take on tasks when you really aren’t the best person for the job. Moreover, this form of overachievement will lead to personal and professional burnout .

Reconsider what your job responsibilities really are. If you’re unsure, set up a one-on-one meeting with your boss to clarify what you should be doing, as well as how you can stand out as an asset (without pushing yourself beyond your limits).

Prioritize perfectionism over productivity

Many high achievers struggle with perfectionism, and perfectionism is the enemy of productivity. This breeds procrastination, as perfectionists tend to delay projects out of fear of imperfect results.

If you truly care about your work, you must learn to curb your perfectionism in favor of prioritization . Work smart, not force. If you feel like you’re wasting your time and sanity with every little task, think about what job you’re dying for. You can give your co-workers the extra time they need to do more strategic work while you’re left in the dust.

Neglecting a healthy work-life balance

If you constantly raise the bar on what you can and should do, you will fall into a vicious cycle of “insatiable pursuit without purpose,” according to the Harvard Business Review . You may sacrifice your personal life in order to continue working without fully appreciating the impact of your decisions.

Setting boundaries at work is key not only to your health, but to doing your job well. We’ve previously covered how to set different kinds of personal boundaries , which largely comes down to knowing yourself and effectively articulating what you need. For example, learning to say “no” ( without actually saying “no”) will help you do the job you were hired to do as efficiently as possible.

Fall victim to burnout

The term “burnout” is used casually, but its impact is very real. In addition to mental or physical exhaustion, burnout also leads to feelings of helplessness or incompetence. And especially for high achievers, it’s hard to resist burnout. This may seem like an admission of defeat, but ignoring true burnout will not get rid of it – it will only exacerbate a possible collapse.

Here’s the thing: if you’re an A student, you’re probably not used to cutting costs and setting boundaries. I understand. The secret is to channel your insatiable desire to achieve something healthier. Consider setting aside time for things outside of work that satisfy your need for a sense of accomplishment, such as working out or a quiz night.

Ultimately, it is important for your long-term health to address the root of your overachieving tendencies. Are you in a toxic work environment? Are you anxious and insecure about your work, unable to accept a job well done? Take some time to reflect and understand when you feel that other people’s expectations are driven by an inner desire to achieve something, no matter what it costs you and others.


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