Episode 32: 7 Lessons From A Recovering Overachiever with Karen Mangia


We think we have to do more, have more, be more, and that will sum up to success. And as women, we feel like we have to try to make it look easy, and be pleasing and agreeable on top of that. It can get very overwhelming very quickly and lead to serious burnout. Well, in this week’s episode of Career Strategies for Women that Work, I’m chatting with my friend Karen Mangia, tech veteran, TEDx speaker, and author, about what it’s like being a perpetual overachiever and how to “recover” from it. 

In that major medical crisis, Karen learned some of her hardest lessons and finally really examined her relationship with success. Read on for some of her amazing wisdom, and don’t forget to listen to Episode 32: A Recovering Overachiever Shares Success From Anywhere to hear our full conversation!

7 lessons from a recovering overachiever

2:39 – Divest before you invest

How do you do it all? You don’t. The secret behind not doing it all is being clear at any given moment about what success means to you and what your top priority is. Once you do, it will become the easiest filter for what you say yes or no to, because those decisions will either move you closer to or further from your definition of success.

8:07 – Choose your words carefully

One of the most powerful, easy, least time consuming shifts you can make is being thoughtful about the words you choose because they affect your mindset. For Karen,  it was about eliminating “never” and “should” from her vocabulary. The consciousness of those words can either put you in the box of limit or limitless—which is a big difference.

12:11 – Decide what voice to listen to

We all have these inner saboteurs that talk to us and tell us things that may not serve us; they trap us into a way of thinking that may not be entirely healthy. But in contrast, we also all have an inner Sage to help us create choices, be curious, and find calm. Karen uses the book Positive Intelligence to build strategies to recognize the saboteur voice and choose to fuel yourself differently. 

15:30 – Start your day with intention

Karen says she used to be someone who would get up and immediately check her email. Over time, she discovered that she was starting every single day with chaos. Now, she chooses to start her day with calm. Whether it’s meditation, mindfulness, movement, or gratitude journaling, starting your day with intention sends a signal that you matter and you’re the first thing on your list. Plus, you’ll find that you can create much more value and contribute more from a place of calm.

17:50 – Do the doable

Focus on the “five minute fix.” If your goal is a health change or a relationship change or a job change, what can you do for five minutes a day to make that change? What’s the smallest thing you could give yourself permission to adjust? You don’t always have to do the grand gesture.

19:35 – Find your voice

Karen’s healing journey really helped her listen to her voice, find her voice, and use her voice. Oftentimes, as women, we hear our voice but we stop short of using it to advocate for ourselves. You don’t have to always be the one talking, but it’s important that you speak up for yourself, whether that’s in a meeting or with a doctor. Give yourself permission to hear your own voice and then find your voice in an authentic way, and show up in the world as you. Karen says, “I think that’s some of the hardest and most healing work that I’ve done.”

23:32 – Get rid of the labels

When you assign labels to yourself, those labels can get turned into limitations. That’s how you’ll begin to see yourself. And even if it may be factually true, you’ll be living a connotation of something that may not serve you. So, unwinding those limiting beliefs is hard work because sometimes we don’t know who we are without those labels. But still, you’ve got to release what no longer serves you to make room for what does—including beliefs, limits, and labels.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Karen’s story! I too can fall into the trap of trying to overachieve, and it’s so encouraging to know that someone as amazing as she has not only been there with me, but has overcome that feeling too! And if we can do it, so can you. Listen to our full conversation here!

Stepping away from overachieving and constantly pushing toward “success” can be scary, but I’m rooting for you! Connect with me on Instagram – @JJDigeronimo, and share some of the ways you’re redefining success in your life.

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