We all know the one: never late, always busy, own toughest critic, etc. If you don’t know that guy or gal, s/he is probably you. People with Type A personalities tend to be successful academically and career-wise. They usually have a lot of the characteristics that make them excel. Unfortunately, they also have characteristics that might make their personal lives suffer. If you have that ambitious spirit and competitive nature driven by high energy that is making your family and friends miserable, here are some ways to curb your bad habits:
Trade perfection for practicality: Learn to be ok with doing things right rather than doing things perfectly. If you are that driven, you are smart enough to know that chasing perfectionism is futile. Human nature simply won’t let us be great. The opposite of perfection is not mediocrity. Find the balance and relax a little.
Delegate: I should take my own advice in this area. But there is no greater insult to your team or your partner than to refuse to let go. You’re sending one of two messages: “I don’t trust you” or, “You are incompetent”. Learn people’s strengths and weaknesses and delegate accordingly. Should you have the most introverted employee go to a client meeting? Maybe not. But that person might also be the most organized and could thrive in an assignment that allows them to use that skill. You don’t have rearrange all the cabinets, and coordinate catering, AND meet with all the clients, AND pick up the kids from school, AND chaperone the girl scouts’ trip etc. That’s why there are employees, interns, assistants, spouses, grandmothers.
Take a break: I get it. Being smart and successful makes you feel invincible. But you aren’t. You need sleep, adequate nutrition and love. You also need time, and unfortunately we only get 24 hours, which aren’t even promised. There is always something to be done and if you don’t force yourself to stop, your duties will seem endless, because they are. Value your mental and emotional health as much as you value your success and schedule time off for some self-care.
If none of these sound appealing, consider the fact that people with Type A personalities are at a higher risk of a heart attack. If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is.