Many of my favourite people – and many of my favourite clients – all have the over-giver pattern running. I first discovered this pattern in 2014, when I worked with someone incredibly dedicated, hard working, and amazing… who was at the same time:
So I dived into supporting this woman to shift this pattern.
And now I want you to break the over-giver pattern too.
What can happen when you over-give
If you’re thinking that giving is great, so why should you care about over-giving? – let me tell you why. Of course, you’re always going to be a wonderful, generous, helpful person. Yes, giving is wonderful. Except when you’re over-giving in a way that’s not helpful or healthy.
Here are some of the things that I’ve seen happen again and again, with those favourite clients of mine that are over-givers:
You burn out
You burn out, because you’re constantly running on empty, and you don’t get the recognition and appreciation that is rightfully yours. You end up playing much, much smaller than you are, because you’re depleting yourself. So you’ve got nothing else to give. So you hold back on your potential.
You get taken for granted
People take you for granted and walk all over you. (And if you have your own business, or you’re running a smaller company, you’ll likely have clients walk all over you.) You give and give… but you’re not appreciated. And because you’ve already said too many ‘yesses’ you didn’t mean to say, you end up take being taken for granted. And at some point, you end up feeling resentful.
You might even lose your job
At the extreme of the pattern you can end up being pushed out of your job. You give and give… and what is the reward? You lose your job. I have seen it happen.
9 signs that you are an over-giver
Are you still wondering if you’re an over-giver? Maybe you’ve already recognised this in yourself. If you’re not sure, here are nine signs of over-givers. (To be honest, there are more. But these are the nine really common signs.) You might find that you recognise yourself in just a few, or you might find that all of these sound familiar.
(I’ll tell you at the end how you can solve this, how you can break this pattern, how you can shift it while still keeping the good, wonderful parts of the giving pattern.)
1. You always have that niggling feeling that you probably didn’t give enough.
This could be to a task, or to a person. I see the over-giving happen both in terms of the work someone is doing, or around other people. Many over-givers have the over-giving pattern both when it comes to the task and the people, and some have it stronger in terms of either the work or the people. But sign number one that you’re an over-giver is always this niggling feeling that you didn’t give enough to a task or to a person – and you always end up giving much more than you were supposed to.
2. You don’t like to ask for help.
Really, you’ll go to some quite lengthy detours to avoid asking for help. Yes, it can be really uncomfortable asking for help. But you will always jump when anyone else needs help! You will offer help even before anyone asks you. You just love to help others.
3. You always do more than you were asked for.
But you will tell yourself that it wasn’t very much, it wasn’t a big deal. You’ll probably even tell yourself that… it wasn’t even enough!
4. The rewards and appreciation you receive don’t match what you are giving.
Even though you work incredibly hard, probably harder than most others, the rewards and the appreciation you receive don’t match what you are giving. You might not be getting the promotion you should be – and it doesn’t make any sense! You look at all these other people, who do less, the quality of what they deliver is less, and they’re not nearly as willing to help. But they get promoted. They get pay rises. They get clients easier. What’s that about? (Hint: that’s about your over giving pattern. That’s what it’s about.)
5. You take on more responsibility than is yours.
But mostly, no one recognises this – so you aren’t rewarded for it, you aren’t appreciated for it. You pretend it’s no big deal. And mostly you don’t even mind, because this is your normal, this is what you gravitate towards. But sometimes you have these moments of clarity and you think, This is unfair. Why do others that seem to do less get rewarded? And why do they attract all the good stuff into their life so much easier?
What often happens is you end up acting with more responsibility than is officially yours, and you end up being this person that just does, does, does. And even though in a way you’re holding real responsibility, you end up being the person that makes it all happen, while someone else just sweeps in at the end to take the rewards and take the glory.
6. You’re so busy worrying about what you need to do and what you need to give that you have no idea what you really need.
So even if you do have a moment for yourself where you could do something for you, even if you did have a moment where you could ask for help, you often don’t even know what you really need, because you’ve been so busy focusing on everyone and everything that needs to get done.
7. You are constantly depleted and running on just a little bit of gas.
You’re hanging on just enough to keep going a little bit more. And you’ve gotten so used to this that you don’t know any other way. This is one of the big signs I see when I encounter over-givers. I have so many clients that come to me who are just exhausted, but they keep going. They’re still working all the hours, all the time, not making space enough for their sleep or for their basic human needs. They’re constantly going, going, going.
Yet stopping just seems ridiculous, because the truth is, over-giving gives you a sense of self worth. And in a way you need that fix that over-giving gives you – so stopping doesn’t make you feel good either. But you do know that you’re running on depleted.
8. Your brain never stops – you’re always thinking of all the things.
All the details, all the people. It feels like there are always things that you’ve forgotten. Always work that could have done better. Always people that you could have done more for. Always something else or someone else to take care of. There’s always something more, so your brain is constantly active with All. The. Things.
9. You end up saying ‘Yes’ to lots more than is good for you.
This is the piece that connects into responsibility. You end up with more responsibility than was meant to be yours. And before you’ve even noticed it’s crept up on you and you’re left wondering, How did I end up with this task or taking care of this thing? But you end up saying yes and stepping in to fill the vacuum – before anyone has even asked you to do this.
Breaking the pattern of over-giving
Here’s the thing: over-giving isn’t something anyone asked you to do. But it is the pattern that you know, the pattern that is so familiar to you.
And if you want to be a kind, generous, loving, helpful, good person who adds value in this world, how is it possible to do anything else? Is there another way? Something other than just working harder and harder, and doing just a little bit more for others?
Yes, there is another way.
What you’re doing isn’t helpful. It’s unhealthy. It’s not good for you. And it is actually not good for the tasks or the people or the places where you are over-giving. It is absolutely time to break this pattern.
It is absolutely time if you want to be a healthy, successful, generous person who gives in a way that is healthy for you – and for everyone + everything else. If you want to shape a new identity that is a helpful, wonderful human who adds value and has massive impact. But who doesn’t over-give.
Are you ready to break the over-giver pattern?
My new online course, Breaking the Over-Giver Pattern, is now open for enrolment!
In this 10 day course, I take you from Depleted Over-Giver to Success with Ease.
- Understand that the details of why over-giving is not generous. It’s like building a leaky house.
- Gain total clarity on why as and over-giver you end up getting less respect, less appreciation and less rewards both at work and at home – and by breakting the pattern you can achieve success with ease
- Find the root cause of YOUR over-giver pattern and get the keys to shifting this at the base-level where it comes from.
- See why setting boundaries and saying no is so difficult for you and learn the key mindsets that makes this sooo much easier
- Learn the code of Healthy Giving and what to always pay attention to so that your giving creates much more success and joy for you and others
- See how you are worth so much less when you over-give and learn how to shift it in all the work relationship where you feel stuck
The course also includes 6 deeply therapeutic bonus audios that will take you to the root cause of where your over-giver pattern comes from, so you can really break it and heal it.
There is honestly nothing like this course out there.