Responsibility is one of my core values, deeply anchored inside me. A value that my parents taught me. A value I am proud of. I take responsibility for my life and my choices.
I take my commitments very seriously. Too seriously?
Yes, there is such a thing as being too responsible.
Sure, it comes with a lot of benefits. People can trust me and rely on me. My colleagues, my clients, my bosses, my friends, my family.
Wonderful... till you push your strength too far and it becomes a liability... like any other strength that you "overdo"
What happens when you take your commitments too seriously?
It creates an extreme pressure on yourself to succeed, to deliver exactly what you committed to. In my case it fed my fear of failure. That fed my anxiety big time.
It led me over-ride my own needs and jeopardize my health. I would not listen to the messages from my body clearly indicating I was out of balance. Commitments came first.
When you are doing something that has an uncertain outcome (most things do!), it generates a constant anxiety: always prepping for the worst case scenarios, worrying about anything that could go wrong, not being present in the moment.
You tend to become a control freak.
It led me to be very hesitant to take any risks or try anything new. Too much uncertainty on the result...
It is clearly one of the things that has fed my anxiety and kept me going on a path of suffering. The word that actually just crossed my mind is self-destruction.
It took me a while to correlate my anxiety with my value of responsibility.
It all started as child: I took upon myself to be the perfect child that will not create any problem to my parents who were dealing with my mum's Multiple Sclerosis. I tacitly committed to deliver what I thought they value the most: good grades at school. It was my responsibility and I took it VERY seriously. I was not allowed to fail. Never. And I delivered... and in the process unconsciously connected my value to my results...
I kept the same mindset with work.
But school was a system I had control over: I put the efforts in and I got the good grades.
This is not valid for work. 1 + 1 does not always equal 2. The efforts do not always pay... particularly in sales... I learnt this the hard way.
It took a very long time to shift my mindset to a place where what matters is not the outcome, but the engagement and commitment to give it my best and to enjoy the ride.
I am still struggling sometimes to embrace uncertainty with excitement and joy. But I am 10,000 miles from where I started. And ti changes everything.
It was a long journey of rethinking what it means to be responsible. I worked on my values, my mindset, my boundaries.
It is part of the work I do with my clients willing to set free of their anxiety.