I have often talked about how Type A’s crave control and how their minds are always racing with ideas, analyzing, planning, etc. At no time is this more the case than when we take on a new project or position at work.
When we take on a new assignment, this constant worry and mental consternation can be somewhat helpful in that it motivates us to work very hard and tenaciously. In important ways, though, it is also a negative thing. This approach tends to be very stressful and robs us of much of the enjoyment of the new experience—the simple pleasure of learning something new and growing as a person. It is also when mistakes happen and the quality of work can suffer.
We Type A’s spend much of our lives bored and anxious, and when we finally have something interesting and challenging to work on, we stress about, over-control, and rush through it, only to more quickly be sentenced to boredom and anxiety once again! This is unfortunate, and as it turns out, unnecessary. There is a better way.
I had many instances during the course of my career where I was either given a large new project, transferred to a different department, promoted, or left a company to work at a different firm. Prior to these moves, I was often bored in my current position. Like most Type A’s, I am a fast learner, grasp things quickly, and get bored easily. So you would think it would have been a welcome change to finally have something different and stimulating to work on, right?
Well, what often happened was that I was so anxious about being 100% competent (whatever that is) in my new assignment that I would frantically try to learn everything I did not yet know, as quickly as possible. I would rush, rush, rush! This was my way of gaining control over my new circumstances.
Also, with the expanded scope of my new assignment, my mind would race with all of the possibilities I might pursue to take advantage of and excel at it. This would cause my mind to be in a continual state of uncomfortable agitation, what with all of the idea-generating, planning, analysis, etc.
I eventually learned that in situations such as this it is much more enjoyable, and also more productive, to embrace an attitude of enjoying the learning and growing process. Not rushing through it, but rather, immersing yourself in it and savoring it. How often in life do you get to learn something new and stimulating?
If you can adopt an attitude of calmly and patiently learning new tasks, you will be much happier, and your work will be performed with greater care, thoroughness, and quality. It’s a win-win. Life is short—when you get the opportunity to learn something new, relish it!