Type As are special people. Some of that special is good. Some of that special is challenging. Today’s post focuses on one of the most challenging aspects we Type As deal with, which I will refer to as “the Lester Holt Effect.”
As some of you likely know, Lester Holt is a man who wears many hats. In addition to hosting the evening news, he also hosts a true crime program called “Dateline.” (Side note: For those of you who have not seen Dateline – treat yourself to an episode. At the very least it will give you comfort that whatever questionable life choices you have made are not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things…)
For those of you who have never seen Dateline, it basically consists of Lester giving an introduction at the beginning of the episode, peppering other details throughout the episode (with the requisite plot twists), and finally wrapping things up at the end. In any given episode, the first 5-7 minutes are devoted to painting a seeming idyllic picture of someone before they are inevitably murdered. Therefore, as any Dateline expert knows, there is no point getting attached to the positive stuff at the beginning of the episode, because things are going to go downhill fast!
One of the more challenging tendencies I notice among those in my Type A tribe is to the tendency to take any positive accomplishment, accolade, or success and view it like an episode of Dateline. Instead of simply being able to bask in that accomplishment like others do, your inner Lester immediately appears and warns you not to get too attached to this accomplishment because disaster is imminent! Did you get a new job or a promotion? Your inner Lester will warn you to enjoy it while it lasts because you’re under-qualified and everyone will find out soon enough. Did you buy your first home? Your inner Lester will warn you that now you’re really stuck, and that you’ll inevitably lose your job and be unable to pay the mortgage.
Your inner Lester will explain to you that he isn’t trying to be mean. Rather, he just doesn’t want you to get too attached to this accomplishment because he knows it’s going to be your downfall. While you can appreciate your inner Lester for his vigilance, you cannot give him any credence beyond that.
The fact is that your inner Lester is really part of your limbic system, and has been hardwired into humans’ heads for a very long time to protect us from things like random woolly mammoth attacks. Unfortunately, like the real Lester, your inner Lester has gone above and beyond in his duties and sounds the alarm whenever anything involving the unknown arises. And he can’t help it, because your inner Lester is as much of a mult-tasker as the real Lester.
So, what do you do when your inner Lester shows up and tries to make your latest success into a Dateline episode? Take a breath, step back, acknowledge him, assure him that there are no woolly mammoths to see here, and inform him that your accomplishment is something noteworthy to be shared during his nightly news gig – not a disaster to be featured on Dateline.