June 7, 2020

Rachel Strella

10 Years in Business: What My Sixth Grade Teacher Somehow Knew

Rachel Strella

This month marks a milestone for #Strella Social Media… it’s our 10th year in business! Each week, I’ll share a post reflecting on this journey. Thank you to everyone who has taken this trip with me – it’s only just beginning!

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At the end of my sixth-grade year, my teacher dispensed homemade awards for each student.  I received the “Goes Above and Beyond” award for always doing more than what’s expected of me. While most would be proud of that award, I actually recall being disappointed because I was different than the other students. Several won awards like “Teacher’s Helper” or “Peer Helper.” It wasn’t until many years later that I realized the value of this award. I can now say that I am quite proud because it is an accurate way to describe who I am and how I operate my business. However, going above and beyond also has its share of drawbacks.

Here are a few pros and cons of being an overachiever and how understanding both have helped me reach this milestone.

The Challenges

It’s expected all the time. Once you’ve gone above and beyond… and people are impressed, then there’s the expectation to do so all the time. You’ve essentially set the bar high and it’s assumed that you’ll deliver at that level always. Even if you do a really great job on another project – even better than your counterparts – you’re doing less than expected because of this standard.

Self-pressure. That moment when people are impressed… it’s really addicting! And not only do others expect it, but I’ve found I put pressure on myself to continue to overdeliver even better than the last time. You can probably see how this could lead to perfectionism, which ultimately sets one up for failure.

It’s not easy bein’ green. As a classic try-hard, I sometimes feel frustration when others aren’t also working to exceed expectations. (I am sure those folks are annoyed at my personality, as well! 🤪) We aren’t all wired the same way and that’s a good thing. Some people excel in other areas and I respect that. It’s a lonely feeling, at times, however.

The Advantages

It’s how many business owners got where they are today. The fact that others aren’t like me is exactly why I started a business. I need things to be a ‘certain way,’ so it only made sense that I run my own show. However, the world really does need every type of person – and, as the top dog – I get to make the decision about who I want on my team. I recognize the need for a well-rounded group and deliberately aim to find people different than me – and put them in the right seats.

You know your worth. Since I know I will exceed expectations, I am careful not to sell myself short. This was a hard lesson I learned when prospects wanted me to lower my cost. Because I go ‘all in’ on projects – and never want to do less than my best – I would often feel resentful about those who weren’t paying for that level of service.  Now, I won’t accept less than what I know I am worth.

You’ll love it when it’s truly valued. While going above and beyond is expected once you’ve set the bar, there’s no better feeling than true appreciation! Not only does it help calm the self-pressure, but it also lends a huge confidence boost. This helps to sustain the momentum and it’s where I enjoy the partnership with our clients the most.

However, I have not taken the easiest path to get to this point. It wasn’t until about my seventh year in business that I learned the most significant lesson… the importance of core values. I’ll address this in my next post.

How has going above and beyond helped your business? I would love to hear your story.

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This post is dedicated to my sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Amy Charles!

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