Performance Obsession: Why Do We Need To Be The Best?

I never leave my computer, I stay up late to double-check my presentations, I compare myself to my work colleagues… Help! I think the need to be the best at work is making me crazy! This obsession with performance and wanting to be number 1 affects a lot of people. Why do we have this desire to perform the best we can? What makes us behave like this? What if we simply stopped wanting to be perfect, wouldn’t that be nice? Let’s take a closer look at this behavior.

Contents: 

Why are we obsessed with performance?

Work gives us value

We need to perform well because work is at the center of our lives. It defines our existence and identity in our modern society. In the past, we were identified by a lot of other things such as religious beliefs, for example. The question “What do you do for a living?” is central. It allows us to define ourselves and introduce ourselves to others. Our work gives us our value and mirrors our life.

Strong competition at work

As well as reflecting our existence, work sets targets that can put us under a lot of pressure. Indeed, in some companies, there is strong competition between employees to achieve certain numbers. This is toxic management that worsens the need to perform and stress at work. Nonetheless, it’s also possible that we put ourselves under strong pressure depending on our own values and education.

Raised to perform

Indeed, combined with these two reasons, it can be said that the obsession with performance has a greater effect on perfectionists who need to control everythingBeing the employee who landed a big contract, the one who did the perfect presentation or who got an interesting contact… Wanting to be the best often hides a need to be recognized, appreciated and valued at work.

📚 People who feel the need to perform well to this extent have often been raised in this cult of “being the best”. As a result, many of them have the good student syndrome, which drives them to want to please and be perfect.

What if we stopped wanting to be the best?

The anxiety of not being productive

We’re pushed to be productive all the time in today’s world. It makes sense to be productive at work, but it’s necessary to be able to take a step back. We shouldn’t want to be good at everything, setting unattainable goals for ourselves. If what we set out to do couldn’t be achieved, we’ll feel bad that we didn’t succeed.

⚠️ In the long run, this will result in increased anxiety, or worse! This need to be constantly the best can lead to a burn-out.

>>> Discover the 5 signs you are going through a burn-out at work

Tame failure?

It’s hard to say that you have to tame failure, especially for something as important as the cornerstone of work. However, you mustn’t hesitate to accept your shortcomings. You cannot do everything on your own, and it’s okay to admit it! You have to be able to surround yourself with others and ask your colleagues or manager for help. It’s important to distance yourself so that you’re not overwhelmed with guilt because you’re not at your best.

Take a step back

It’s essential to do this to understand this need to perform the best as possible. You’re not just a project manager, a childcare worker, a teacher… You’re also a woman, a friend, a citizen, a mother, a neighbor, etc. Furthermore, you need to think about the different identities you have in order to remember that your value is not just your professional productivity. If you’re obsessed with your work and your desire to perform, it may be because you reduce yourself to it.

Is wanting to perform well a way of hiding from your problems?

All obsessions are a displacement of something. Indeed, it’s a way of not thinking about other things we identify as problematic. Wanting to be perfect therefore hides traumas or problems buried deep within us: the need to find a reason to live, our relationship or on the contrary being single, our self-confidence, etc.

🧠 It’s therefore important to find the concrete and sometimes hidden reasons in our subconscious to be able to release the pressure.

Editor’s note: What if we started by doing our best?

What if, instead of wanting to be perfect, we did our best and learned from our mistakes so that we could simply be better next time? If this need for perfection and to be the best is holding you back and preventing you from expressing your potential at work, turn to a coach, so you can take stock together.

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