Abby over at Bright Yellow World wrote a post today that really resonated with me. In it, she describes one of the results of her annual work review, and how her boss pointed out that:

I cannot tolerate doing less than gold-star-worthy work. And I have a hard time when people with whom I work do not do gold-star-worthy work.

This statement so totally reflects my own attitude, it’s not even funny. I am flabbergasted that, like Abby, I haven’t ever really thought about it in those terms, but now it’s one of those things that I simply can’t stop thinking about.

I don’t know that I’m an over-achiever, but rather I feel that I am able to quickly recognize what is necessary to do a job right, rather than simply done, and I can’t imagine doing anything but ‘right.’ I don’t feel that it counts as ‘above and beyond’ if it’s simply the appropriate way to do something.

The problem, as Abby points out (or rather, her boss does), is the whole working-with-people-who-don’t-“do-gold-star-worthy-work”. I am fortunate in that most of the people with whom I work are similar to me in the striving for achievement rather than doneness, but there are times when I get so frustrated with people for not caring enough to do things properly. It constantly baffles me.

Abby comments that this striving for over-achievement might be holding her back, and I started this sentence about to disagree with her (at least when it comes to myself), but I’ve since come around. Abby doesn’t really comment on why exactly it’s holding her back, but for myself, I think it might be a growing distrust of other people’s abilities to accomplish things to my satisfaction that is hindering me. To put it simply: I don’t delegate well.

I also get incredibly frustrated when I do have to work with others (say, with another company who is contracted to do work for us), and they clearly care about getting a job finished according to the slightest reading of the contract rather than done properly. And while I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to hold others to high standards, I do think it might be a detriment that I can’t easily find a way to work with people that I have no quality control over.

Now, none of this is the whole story, of course, but I don’t want to detract from this with caveats and the like (I’m a good person and fairly easy to work with, I swear!). So I’m interested to hear from you: do you ever find yourself dealing with this? Or maybe on the other end of it? Any advice for letting it go, and moving on, with minimal stress? I’m listening!

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