A ‘Human Doing’ — Not a Human Being. That’s what I was.
I’d been trained to be this way. Like so many things in life, this was a learned behavior that seemed to work for me.
I began early, having what I’d now call workaholic tendencies by the age of 16. At that time it was applied to studying for exams, but I’d safely say I was in the top 5% of obsessive studiers.
This was also the first indicator for me that by ‘over-doing,’ people paid me attention. They worried about me, they fretted. I was suddenly this work martyr — an identity I seemed to like.
It was my scorecard on effort. And in some way, I’d internalized a message that ‘trying’ was about putting one’s absolute best effort into the work. So not just trying, but trying as if my life depended on it.
I took this maximum-effort strategy into my workplace. Somehow believing it would guarantee continued employment. After all, how could ‘they’ get rid of the hardest worker in the department? I was trying to guarantee ‘certainty.’
Before you do anything, think. If you do something to try and impress someone, to be loved, accepted or even to get someone’s attention, stop and think. So many people are busy trying to create an image, they die in the process. Salma Hayek
This quote was my truth — Although I suspect that the idea of being frantically busy and not being witnessed would have made it a relatively empty experience. It was not only being a diligent worker (which is the story I told myself), it was about the approval. Looking for it the one way I could get it.
I’d branded myself as the hardest worker. I was using the tools I felt were effective for me at 16 and simply continuing to apply them. It was that badge of honor, the reason for existing. Being busy, obsessed, committed, was approved, affirmed, acknowledged.
Even the idea of being questioned about work being left on the table, of my work being judged was so…