Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I’m horrified if I’m ever late. I set my clocks 10 minutes ahead so it doesn’t happen.  I keep books or magazines in the car so I can sit there and read when I’m early to an appointment.  The positive: I’m considered reliable, which goes a long way in the worlds of business and friendship.  The downside is that when I do find myself late I practically go into tachycardia.

I used to get panic attacks over heavy college/work responsibilities.  I'd bite off way more than I could chew: obligations to myself and others and unrealistic goals.  If there was a chance of getting below an A on an assignment...oh boy, tachycardia.  It didn't help that I had undiagnosed Mitral Valve Prolapse and that raced beside my conscientious-fueled anxiety...literally.  I took everything as seriously as I do a spinal injection now. 

I tend to have a hard time putting things into perspective and I tend to see an email from anybody as something I have to answer right now.  Obsessive.  It is especially problematic now that I’m expanding my social media footprint.  I don't have a good filter for what is essential and what should be at the bottom of my list or not addressed at all.  I want to get back to everybody, respond to everybody’s post, read every loop message.  It’s a great burden to allow myself to take everything so seriously, as if it all needs my attention.  As if I somehow fail if I’m not helping or surpassing expectations.  My dad called me an overachiever.  I felt insulted…after all, doesn’t that imply my capabilities were not as great as my success would indicate?  See, I even feel I need to defend my conscientious nature.  

My fellow sisters are also very conscientious ladies.  Here I ask each of them about the subject:

From Stormy:

For me conscientiousness has to do with faith. I can either choose to do the right thing or the wrong thing, which for me feels as clear as choosing to stand in the light or the dark. I want to stand in the light, to be happy and close to God. The only complication sometimes is figuring out which right thing, of multiple right things, is the most right. Do you do what's right for one individual, or for a whole organization that affects many people? These are difficult situations, and sometimes personally costly. But in the end there always seems to be a clear right and wrong.

Here's an example of a time when people told me I was being ridiculously conscientious. My older daughter was invited on an amazing, exotic, luxurious vacation to a faraway island with another family. But I'd accepted another invitation for my children for that week that was less exciting, more a commitment than a vacation. Everyone said, "Just explain this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! You can't turn this down for your daughter, especially since you could reschedule your other plans for any time." But the relationship with the person we'd already committed to was important, too. We discussed it at length, agreed it was the right thing to do, and were at peace with the situation. Our family never let on that there had been another choice. I often think of this when those inevitable "better offer" situations come up. We stick with the one we accepted first.

Next time we'll hear from Nib

How do you feel about the topic of being conscientious?



  1. Good topic. Conscience is displayed by character and that's a goldmine of possible issues.
    Responding to your first issue, I also tend to be in position to arrive at appointments/parties on time.
    Last weekend I was early for a baby shower and within blocks of the location. I pulled off the road at a yard sell and found a quality juicer – which I knew the party's hostess had been wanting – for $5. Score.
    Sometimes being early is being in the right place at the right time, although the only link I can make to that being conscientious is that I feel better knowing I didn't mess up anyone's party plans.
    Being conscientious means I'll get back to my own work now and not take more time to explore this topic. Thanks for the entertaining break.

  2. Don't have much to add, Inky, cept that to be conscientious is something all people should strive for! A "given" as a Human!