Do you always do more than your share? Are you the one who works harder and stays later? Are you tired of being that person?
You may be saying yes but…
If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.
No one does it as well as I do.
If I let someone else do it, I’ll just have to do it over.
If this sounds familiar, we need to talk.
You may be a victim of a vicious cycle. And, even though it seems like the problem is them,the good news is, the person responsible for the vicious cycle is probably you. And let me tell you why that’s a good thing. Because if you are responsible for it, then you have some control over it. First, let’s define the four characteristics of the vicious cycle, because when we identify it, it’s easier to stop it:
- You never intended to be here. Most likely this started at some point early in your life. Maybe in grade school or in your family someone didn’t pull his or her weight, so, being the “doer” you are, you filled in the gap.
- Everyone loves praise and craves attention. If you got a lot of kudos for going the extra mile, it makes sense you would do it again… and again. And, oh, again!! As time went on, you took on a larger and larger share of responsibilities. Your standards for what was “good enough” inched higher, until it became true that no one was going to do it like you! And then the vicious cycle began.
- The more you do, the less others do. As soon as people notice you are doing more than anyone else (even when it may not be entirely necessary) they figure you will do WHATEVER else needs doing. And, you do. They continue to thank you and show appreciation, but they don’t DO more, they do less.
- You feel angry, taken advantage of and resentful. When friends or family say you are working too hard, you say something like: If I don’t do it, it won’t get done. Which is true, you are doing everything. And so the cycle goes.
So there’s what the cycle looks like… how do we stop?
The vicious cycle ends when we stop believing it is OTHERS’ behavior that forces us to do more. But the more we do, the less they do, the more we do and so on. So if you want to turn a vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle, only you can change. And there’s only one way: Stop over-doing!
It won’t happen instantly. After all, a vicious cycle has momentum. It takes time to change directions. And yes, there will surely be some conversations about agreed upon results, but when the results are not there, don’t fix it!
It can feel scary to stop your end of a vicious cycle, but it will keep on rolling until you do something different. And you know what? You deserve a change.
In the comments below, tell me about a vicious cycle you’ve been in and how you stopped. Or tell me about one you are in now that you might need some cheerleading on.
Until next Tuesday. YIPPEE!