Perfectionism vs healthy striving

Are you striving for more, going past what is enough? In this episode of the Burnout Recovery Podcast, Dr Jo Braid shares examples in medicine of striving versus thriving. Get clear on what is enough for you with questions she shares at the end.

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Hosts & Guests

Dr Jo Braid


Podcast Transcript

Hi, my name is Dr. Jo Braid and I am the Burnout Recovery Doctor. I help health care professionals overcome burnout and get their energy back. So whether you’re a med student, allied health professional, or a doctor who is suffering from feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, you’re in the right place. In this podcast, you will get your energy back through strategies for burnout recovery. This show will give you the practical tips and mindset strategies to help you recover from burnout in healthcare. 


Are you ready? Let’s dive in. 


Hi everyone, today I am talking about the concept of more versus enough. 


As we’re going into the festive season, only weeks away till Christmas, if that’s a day that you celebrate, I’d love to share a coaching concept of more versus enough. What does this really mean? Here’s a example you might relate to, especially if you’ve got a medical background, for example, studying for an exam, you’re cramming in more and more study hours as the date and the time of the exam closes in, you feel like you don’t know at all, there’s a sense of scarcity and gaps in your knowledge. So how can this be different knowing that you have attended the lectures, read along with it kept up with it and trusting yourself that in the heat of the exam, you have the skill set and the knowledge to work it out. So I think this, this example shares that sort of inner knowing of enough rather than the scarcity mindset of I need to do more to have enough knowledge for the upcoming exam. 


So, what about if we ask is more always better? There are a multitude of different examples we could think about here. Can it be too much. 


For example, time with loved ones that might be coming up for some of you over the holiday season, it can be so exciting at first you get into deep conversations have a real catch up on all the time in between the last visit, and then maybe you know, there can be like little edges felt and people get a bit fractious at times and their longer times together can sometimes be a little bit grating very individual here, certainly locally, too much rain and more rain has left lead to flooding. So certainly more is not not always better. We know that. 


In medicine, striving for more can really be a contributing factor to burnout. And that’s the area that I specialise in as a coach, we can never be satisfied that we have done enough and look to do more. So here’s an example that I was coaching on with a client yesterday. Yes, sure, I’ll see that extra patient my senior has asked me to see even if my shift has just finished. So this is getting towards the edge of people pleasing, which is a very common contributor to burnout alongside personality traits of perfectionism and procrastination, saying yes to someone else, and no to yourself, or in the outpatient setting, it might be providing a longer than expected appointment time for a patient. So their appointment time goes over your schedule, so you give them more time. Whereas with a clear boundary, 20 minutes is what we have time for today, please rebook for another appointment. If there’s more to discuss. 


I’ve got a personal story to share here. When I built my functional medicine business, which I ran as a solo practitioner for five years here in Orange, I had no idea when I had done enough exams, so it’s not its own specialty by training. I did exams through the US through the UK through Australia. And I never ever felt like I had done enough. Now this was before coaching, and I would say my outlook on if I then pursued that kind of medicine, I think I would have had a lot more clarity of what was what is enough. 


Another way to describe it could be striving versus thriving. I think that’s another sort of analogy of more versus enough. 


The person who is always striving might have difficulty relaxing, they may feel confused with selfishness versus healthy self interest. And they might feel guilty for taking self care. Whereas somebody who’s thriving may be clear on their priorities and they know what they need to do to stay well and be well. 


Here are some questions to wrap up with so you might get clarity on whether you’re feeling like it’s enough or You’re still striving for more? How will I know when I have done enough? So this is a really personal question, it might not depend on anybody else at all, it is your version of what is enough for you. When you know what the endpoint is, and when that’s clear in your mind, you know what, what it takes, or when you will have got there. 


Another question could be does this feel complete? So I work a lot with clients on getting clear with their emotional awareness, and their confidence in describing their emotions. And I think that sense of complete has got another sort of endpoint to it, then you know, that it is done. You could also think about Christmas presents. So what, what is enough, and maybe what is too much sort of thinking, what, what is what I want to give here. Or, you know, what, we, we have that sense of enough already, and our Christmas presents are going to be charity donations, I love that idea. So this really ties in with self care, which is another important part of, I would say burnout, recovery and burnout prevention. So thinking that, you know, more won’t contribute much more. So this could be writing a letter, a consult, a note, putting an entry in the electronic medical record, getting clear that that’s enough, I’m finished here, and then in whatever domain you’re in knowing that you can switch off from that work that has been done. And you can choose whatever form of self care you feel like pursuing at that moment. So that might be connecting with someone, exercising, moving or resting. 


I think, getting curious asking yourself those questions of how will I know when I’ve done enough? Or does this feel complete? Or, like, I love this question asking, What do I want? And I think that’s a question that we can ask in any area of our lives. And sometimes we don’t even ask ourselves that and tune in and know or become aware of what we want. So I’m going to leave this podcast episode with that thought for you. 


I am excited to share with you we have our second guest interview next episode. So this is with DAX Randall, a another coach in Australia. He lives in Sydney and DAX created the advanced burnout coach certification. I went through his certification in July this year, absolutely loved it had a really great time. And I am very excited to share with you the interview that I had with Dex. O


kay, have a great week. Stay tuned. Thank you for tuning in to the burnout recovery podcast. If you liked what you heard, please hit subscribe and head on over to my website at There you can download my free guide with 10 tips to take if you’re nearing burnout. See you next time