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What is an over-achiever?

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

climbers scaling a cliff face
The relentless pursuit of excellence

In today's fast-paced world, where success is often strongly connected with relentless pursuit and continuous accomplishment, over-achievers have become a very visible presence in most successful organisations and in society in general. These individuals possess an unquenchable thirst for success and strive to excel in every aspect of their lives. While their drive and determination can result in remarkable outcomes, it's crucial to recognise the fine line between ambition and self-destruction. In this article, we will explore six indicators that identify someone as an over-achiever and learn how the relentless over-achiever mindset can lead to stress symptoms.

1. Setting Unrealistic Standards:

Over-achievers tend to set exceptionally high standards for themselves, often surpassing what is considered realistic or achievable. They continuously raise the bar and feel an insatiable need to outperform their previous accomplishments. While this pursuit of excellence can drive them forward, it can also create an immense amount of pressure and stress as they strive for unattainable perfection.

2. Relentless Pursuit of Success:

Over-achievers are driven by an intense desire to achieve success in every area of their lives, be it their careers, relationships, or personal goals. They constantly push themselves to accomplish more, driven by an unyielding determination to outperform their peers and their own previous performance levels. However, this constant pursuit of success can result in neglecting self-care and personal well-being, eventually leading to burnout.

3. Inability to Rest and Relax:

Over-achievers find it challenging to unwind and relax, as they often view downtime as unproductive. They struggle with the concept of taking breaks or engaging in activities solely for leisure. The fear of losing momentum or missing out on opportunities keeps them engaged in a perpetual cycle of striving, leaving little room for recharging or re-energising. This continual state of busyness can lead to chronic stress and anxiety.

4. Fear of Failure and Judgment:

Over-achievers have an intense fear of failure and are highly attuned to external judgment. They perceive any setback or mistake as a personal failure and tend to be overly self-critical. The fear of not meeting their own expectations or the expectations of others can be paralyzing and trigger significant stress responses.

5. Over-committing and Over-extending:

Over-achievers often take on more responsibilities than they can handle. They struggle with saying no and tend to over-commit themselves, seeking validation and recognition through a constant stream of achievements. This excessive workload, coupled with an unrelenting drive to excel, can lead to overwhelming stress and an inability to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

6. Neglecting Personal Well-being:

In their relentless pursuit of success, over-achievers often neglect their physical and emotional well-being. They sacrifice sleep, exercise, healthy eating habits, and quality time with loved ones in favour of working longer hours and taking on more projects. This neglect can eventually manifest as physical symptoms of stress, including headaches, fatigue, insomnia, and compromised immune function.


While over-achievers possess remarkable qualities that drive them towards success, it's important to recognize the potential pitfalls of this mindset. The unrelenting pursuit of perfection, fear of failure, and self-imposed pressure can ultimately lead to stress symptoms and burnout. Understanding the indicators of an over-achiever, acknowledging the importance of balance and prioritising self-care is essential in preventing the negative effects of chronic stress.

At Chyra Ltd, our mission is to guide over-achievers towards a healthier and more sustainable approach to success so that they prevent burnout. By applying neuroscience and leveraging Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques, we empower individuals to recognize the signs of stress, develop effective coping mechanisms, and create a harmonious blend of achievement and well-being. Remember, true and lasting success lies not only in accomplishments but also in maintaining a fulfilling and balanced life.

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