We are the first ones in the office and the last to leave. We put in the extra hours and we go the extra miles. We are determined, resilient and focused.
We make lists of our goals, and we steadily cross them off. We won’t take no for an answer. We are constantly reinventing and improving ourselves. We are the go-getters of Generation-Y.
I truly believe our generation has the ability and the willingness to change the world, and we are more eager and well-equipped than any generation before us to do so.
However, the go-getters and Type A personalities are the ones who are driven to succeed at any cost, and there are certainly a few downfalls that come with these mentalities.
Here are a few common traps into which the go-getter type falls, and how to avoid them:
1. Comparing Yourself To Others
I remember my first day of work at my first "real job" at age 22. I spent the night before rigorously preparing for the day ahead of me. I arrived an hour early so I would have time to settle in. I also hoped my colleagues would notice my early arrival and eagerness.
About six minutes into the day, all of that preparation and effort was thrown out the window when the vice president of the company came to my desk to introduce herself. I learned she was only two years older than me and immediately, my head started spinning.
Suddenly, I was watching her mouth move without hearing anything she said after the words “twenty-four.” She was two years older than I was, but light-years ahead of me career-wise.
I told myself I would never be able to catch up, that I was behind and had lost too much time. Looking back on this, it seems crazy.
I spent that entire day feeling bad about myself and brainstorming ways to make up for “lost time” when I should have been focusing on absorbing information and tackling my first day.
If you’re busy comparing your journey with someone else’s, you’ll never have time to create your own. Spending your energy comparing your accomplishments to someone else’s is, quite literally, like comparing apples to oranges because there is no comparison.
Your journey is unique and special because it is yours, and the experiences you have will shape and mold you into the person YOU are supposed to be. As Theodore Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the thief of joy."
2. Difficulty Admitting Your Mistakes
I hate being wrong. I hate it more than almost anything else in life. It is important to me to be the best and, ultimately, to win.
I’ve spent most of my life going out of my way to make points I knew were wrong, or justifying decisions I made that I knew weren’t the best, just for the sake of being right. Let me tell you, this is a miserable and debilitating way to live.
In both my personal and professional life, this personality flaw caused me great conflict and embarrassment.
When I finally had a few servings of humble pie and learned how to admit my mistakes to others in an honest and communicative way, the floodgates opened.
My relationships, work life and overall growth as a human improved exponentially. I learned making mistakes doesn’t make me a failure, and admitting them doesn’t make me weak.
Admitting fault is one of the most liberating things you will ever learn to do. It forces you to be reflective and honest with yourself and others, which in turn, allows you to grow and improve as a person.
Spending time justifying your mistakes is the equivalent of a hamster furiously spinning in its wheel: There's zero ground coverage.
It’s also pretty amazing how learning to do this will change your relationships with those around you.
Once people realize you’re mature and healthy enough to start a dialogue about your failures or shortcomings, they are usually receptive and appreciative because they can relate.
No one understands someone who doesn’t believe he or she is ever wrong. You will be surprised at how warmly and openly people receive you once you start to openly embrace your flaws.
3. Being Too Hard On Yourself
I am my own worst critic. If I fall short of an assignment or fail to accomplish something I set out to do, I’ll never let myself hear the end of it.
I obsess over my mistakes and it's easy for me to work myself up into a frenzy by telling myself things that aren’t true like, “You aren’t smart enough,” “You should’ve worked harder,” and "This was a rookie mistake, you obviously don’t know what you’re doing.”
Don’t let that pesky voice have control. You are the only one who gets to decide how you feel about yourself and what you take from each learning curve you experience.
The truth is, you will mess up. You will fall short, and you will make errors that make you feel stupid. It's important you retain perspective and realize no human being alive doesn’t mess up.
The difference between the successful mistake makers and the unsuccessful mistake makers is that one group picks themselves up when they fall and then learns from their mistakes, instead of just dwelling on them.
Take note of the things you want to do differently, and make a point to implement those changes. Don’t look back; you aren’t going that way!
4. Stressing Over Things You Can’t Control
Us go-getters are a naturally high-stress breed of people. In my case, maybe even a little neurotic. We are concerned with productivity and precision and we like to be in control.
If you’re like me, you like to run the show. Being able to call the shots means you get to move the pieces and make sure everything goes according to plan.
Well, as I’m sure you’ve already figured out, sh*t happens. No matter how prepared you are or how skilled you are at “maintaining the flow,” life is bound to intervene.
As Woody Allen said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
When it's in your blood to crack the whip and orchestrate the choir, it is tough to let go and surrender to the chaos of life that inevitably ensues. The important thing is to prepare for things to go awry, so when they do, you have other options.
Have back-up plans, but also be prepared to laugh when those don’t work out, either.
None of us get out of here alive, so as hard as it may be, it's in your best interest to take everything with a grain of salt (or in my experience, tequila is sometimes more effective), and go with the flow.
5. Never Being Satisfied
We may be happy, but we are never satisfied. We are constantly striving to be better, to do better and to achieve more.
While this quality is likely one of the major motivators behind our drive and ambition, it can also cause a significant amount of anxiety and depression.
Take inventory; look at the big picture, and take the time to list your accomplishments and the milestones you passed. There are likely many achievements you’re overlooking, and it helps to put things in perspective and see how far you have come.
If you’re like me, you worry that stopping to pat yourself on the back will lead to complacency. I promise it won’t. If you are a go-getter type, complacency isn’t in your vocabulary.
Appreciating the miles it took to get where you are will help you form a more focused view of how to you want to proceed.
It's like taking a pit stop to refuel and enjoy the scenery on a long road trip. You always get back in the car ready to tackle the miles ahead of you with a newfound vigor and clarity.