Hey, fellow high performer. It’s been a bit of a struggle with our high expectations, perfectionistic tendencies and quest for quality. We continually strive to be a better leader, person, mom or dad, son or daughter, sister or brother. What’s wrong with that, right?
Here’s a term I picked up from a Brene Brown podcast that I’ve shared with a number of coaching clients who have found it super helpful: under versus over-functioning
What is Under versus Over Functioning
Most of the people I coach and speak for fall on the over-functioning side of the continuum. I’m right there along with them. We take so much responsibility for the performance of people who report to us, we take to heart a projects’ performance, we are the organizers (even if it’s not initially we take it on if it’s not getting done), that do more than our share, we don’t say no often, we jump in, we’ve been known to take over, we struggle to delegate despite being great mentors, and may take it back quickly when we do hand it over.
Sound like you? You may be owning more responsibility than you need to.
On the opposite side of that continuum is under-functioning. You know you lean more toward this side if you pull back when someone is ready to jump in, you may lose your voice to someone who has strong opinions, you suffer from strain on the shadows. You pull back when feeling overwhelmed, you don’t advocate for what you need, your talents are the best-kept secret, you appease other people’s wants and needs. We may think, “You know what? They need the win, they define their identity this way, they can do it. That’s fine.”
So in the over and under-functioning spectrum, that must mean there is a center point: functioning.
Functioning is taking 100% responsibility for what you can control, what you can contribute, and being okay with yes as well as no. When you’re sitting halfway between over and under-functioning, you know perfection is an unhealthy and unrealistic goal. You strive to make things definable. You know what’s yours and what’s others’ responsibility, and rather than take over or let others take control, you strive to stay grounded and not easily swayed. You’re open, collaborative, and committed, and part of that is seeking to understand where your contribution needs to be.
It’s that middle ground, functioning, we are aiming for. Imagine how helpful that would be right now, in the midst of the biggest health crisis of our generation? Have you spent time thinking, expressing opinions, and getting upset about things outside of your circle of influence (when in over-functioning mode)? Have you felt disheartened about how little you can do, enjoy, missing out on (when in under-functioning mode)?
To be clear, this is not something we “diagnose” or label in ourselves or others. It’s a framework to use as a gauge to find our more resourceful way to think, contribute, and love.
The closer we are to that middle ground, the more likely we will access resources, seek help, practice self-care, produce, clarify our identity, and contribute the best of what we have.
And always remember, You Are Already Greatness!
Here are a few more resources about finding that functioning balance:
- Why it’s perfect to be Imperfect
- Three Perfectly Imperfect Tips for Busy People
- The Benefit of Failure in Your Career or Business
PS. – For those of you in healthcare, a great ‘functioning’ place is for you to celebrate nurses this year is with some help! The Nurses Week Resiliency Reboot experience allows you to recognize and celebrate your nurses while handing over the heavy lifting to us. My speaking colleague, Stephane Staples, my event professional and speaker agent Tami Adams, and I have put together a dynamic four-day program with all the events, communications and promotions you’ll need to have a nursing week to remember, without the days of planning meetings, hours of sourcing speakers, and unaffordable price tag. Now THAT is functional recognition!