From Chronic Hand Raiser to Happy, A Very Weird, Amazing Path
Updated: Sep 29, 2022
Written by: Lauren Lefkowitz
I was born a high-achieving people pleaser and I was awesome at it. You needed it? I’d figure out how to do it! No one can figure out what we needed? I’ll investigate! And offer the solution! And do the work!
I was a one man band with administrative work on my knees (cymbals!), subject matter expertise around my neck (accordion!), management skills on my waist (bells!), things I’d already done earlier in my career on my back (drums!), and an I’ll-do-it attitude coming from my mouth (harmonica!).
I started my corporate career learning praise came to employees who came in early, stayed late, and popped in two Saturdays a month. I wanted to be the best, so I did all three…plus an extra Saturday here and there for good measure. That worked out to 60 hour weeks.
The thing was, I didn’t have enough work to keep me busy for all of those hours, because as a high achiever, I worked quickly. So I took on extra work! Manage the receptionist? Sure! The administrative assistant? Yeah! Train every incoming HR supervisor and manager and be their mentors? On it! Manage an audit in another office? Yeah, I can! Oh, no promotion or extra pay with that? Well, OK.
When that was no longer enough, I found a new job, where the praise for all of my work led to opportunities for extra responsibility and projects with the parent company, and 70 hour weeks. Extra money, though? Nope. Just the satisfaction of doing the best job that had ever been done in that role at that company.
I finally moved into the ultimate high achiever, people pleasing, perfectionist role – building a department from scratch! I also took it upon myself to be the Vice President of Whatever You Need. Sure, I was busy leading a new department, but the marketing team needed an interim leader, and finance did, and the person managing our office renovation left. Who was going to handle that? You guessed it! This hand raiser. And now? I was working 80 – 100 hour weeks.
And then one day, in the midst of striving to achieve a level of perfection that doesn’t actually exist in real life, I slipped on my floor, while chasing a robot vacuum heading for the hanging cord of a glass lamp, landed face first with my arms overhead, and broke both of my shoulders, taking me pretty completely out of both hand-raising and regular life functions for months.
You might think that this was the moment I realized my life had to change! It did not.
It wasn’t until I finally realized that in order to take real action, to actually change my own life, I had to ask for and accept support. I learned I wasn’t meant to fix my life on my own. I learned the work I had been doing in coaching others for years and years, the support I had offered clients to shift their careers, find their versions of amazing, was also available to me.
Hiring a coach, counting on friends in a new way, and being willing to let go of my quest for perfection – that’s what helped me recreate my life, escape the trap of my ‘fine’ life, and create a life that is full of choice, success, and joy, in ways I had never imagined.
It may not feel like it, but this kind of shift, this move from ‘fine’ to amazing, is available to everyone. Yes, even you.
About the Author
Executive Leadership Coach
Fine Is A Trap | Believe In More | Break The Work, Sleep, Repeat Cycle | Podcaster: I Could Talk to You All Day | Writer | Spe