Compulsive Overachiever or Just Compulsive?
I would guess that most of my former teachers in school would say one of two things about me. Some might say I am a compulsive overachiever. And some might just say I am compulsive. (Or neurotic, but I dropped his class anyway).
Then there would be that one really cool teacher…forgot his name, of course, but he was a young guy at the University of Arizona (Bear Down, Arizona!) so let’s call him “Mr. Young Guy” — he was my instructor for some sort of public speaking class. When it was my turn to do a speech (and we did them 3x per week), I would get so excited about my topic, whatever it was, that I would start talking really fast. I talk really fast on a slow day already, and sometimes wave my arms about to illustrate a point and generally get a bit loud.
People would critique you as part of the class, and that was always my downfall. “You talk too fast,” “You get overly excited,” “You need to calm down.” What?
Calm down? Me? I hate those words. I mean, want to tick me off? Tell me to “calm down”. No way.
Sustaining Passion Beyond the Classroom
So, getting to my point here…Mr. Young Guy pulled me aside one day after class and rather sternly told me to ignore anyone who tells me to calm down. He said, and I quote, “Passion is found in few people these days. If you are passionate about something, anything, you are real. And real people are what makes life interesting.” (And he also said that I did not talk fast, but that others “listened slow” (ly).) I do not recall much else from the class, but in that ghastly and awkward phase of my life, he gave me permission to be the real deal—flapping arms, fast-talking, excitable, argumentative, neurotic that I am. It was my tipping point.
I love what I do. It’s my hobby and my job. And that is ok.
Now, years later, I am still passionate about things like politics and religion; independent opinions and critical thinking skills and how they are soooo not taught in schools today. But most of my passion is “spent” during my workday. Sure, it is trite. But yes, I really love my job. There are days that I want to fire all of my employees and then myself. Or fire myself and then laugh when they are still there having to deal with the fallout. There are days that just running the business of a business takes a toll that requires a month of “friend therapy.” And there are days when I wonder how I can glue my mouth shut long enough to not piss off someone.
Ready to Embrace Each Day
Yet every morning (and sometimes in the middle of the night), I wake up ready to go at it all over again. I really am excited to be heading off to my own version of the American Dream, built with lots of hard work and a really, really good team. Even the most challenging of clients can get my passion going for a great idea, a new design, innovative products, beautiful materials.
Uncompromising Standards for Success
And while I cannot say that every one of my clients embraces my (let’s call it) “enthusiasm” initially…every single one of them knows they are getting their money’s worth with me and our team. We do not go halfway. We do not settle for mediocre design or materials. We do not compromise for expediency’s sake. We think we are pretty good at what we do. It’s the passion. It’s real, and we got it.
And I may even wave my arms around to make sure you get it too.
Just don’t tell me to calm down.
Live passionately, Cheryl
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