How Over-Owning Responsibility is Sabotaging Your Success (Series EPS 116-118)

“Women are so notorious for putting their oxygen masks on everyone around them. Family. Parents. Kids. Clients. Once everyone is good, THEN we’ll put our own oxygen mask on. But that is so the opposite of the way it needs to go.”

The epidemic of saying yes way too much.

Are you juggling to fit everything in the day? Staying up late to sew your kids’ costumes for the school play? Getting up early to send off business emails? Driving your emotional tank until empty, and then some more? 

You… and many other women in the business arena. 

The truth is, you can’t do it all. Nobody in the universe can! We have to let go of unrealistic expectations and look at how to bring more responsibility back to the care of ourselves.  

“Over-owning by extending ourselves beyond capacity, giving more than we actually have to give, draining, exhausting, and overwhelming ourselves to give even more… that is self-harm.” -Sonya Stattmann 

We live in a world of burn-out. Women are constantly pushing beyond their capacity on account of over-owning responsibility.

What exactly is over-owning? 

Over-owning is both the emotional and physical action of taking on any additional responsibilities that are not necessarily yours. It’s a laborious and exhaustive “yes” locomotive that painfully keeps going. It’s the, “Oh, you need help with that? Sure, I’ll drop everything I’m doing right now and come right over!” 

Some women have been over-owning for so long that they feel it is a part of their identity and self-worth. They believe the more they over-own the more praise, recognition, and validation they receive in their various roles. But it isn’t sustainable and actually makes us less likely to have an impact on the lives around us. 

How did over-owning get to be such a big problem?

Most cultures have normalized women as sacrificial nurturers. When women started going back to work or creating businesses, the nurturing expectations didn’t stop. Most women are still taking on too many roles outside of their full-time work.  

The world supports hustling and “getting it done” and the perpetuation of beliefs that you can do it all means that we have to keep going no matter how exhausted or depleted we are. 

The world supports unrealistic expectations…

Yes, you can function off four hours of sleep! 

Yes, you do need to be available 24 hours to your clients!

Yes, you should help out at that school fundraiser!

We have come a long way since the 50’s mindset of the women being a domestic goddess full time, yet so many of us still carry that mindset of what we should do based on societal gender roles. However, it’s unrealistic to think you can build a successful business and take on so many other volunteer roles. 

How does over-owning impact you and your business?

In the heart of trying to manage too much, your well-being takes a significant dive. Perhaps you have already started to experience various mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress as a result? What about your sleep routine? A depleted woman isn’t going to do anyone any good.

As for your business, there are significant consequences. If you have an over-owning pattern, then you will attract clients who want you to over-own. Their neediness will push you to the edge. You’ll have to take on fewer clients and in doing so, make less money. Eventually, your business will suffer as you head straight into burnout.

How do I even begin to tackle my deeply rooted habit of over-owning?

  • First things first, take a deep breath. So many women struggle with this issue. You are not the only one! 
  • Step into awareness. Okay, so you’re over-owning! One of the quickest ways to get out of overwhelm is through awareness. Acknowledge and recognize that you’ve taken on too much.
  • Pause and focus. Where do you have some ownership and self-agency? It’s in this moment of reflection that you get to choose how you want to be from here on out.
  • Choose to act with self-care and not self-harm. Don’t go beating yourself up! Remember even baby steps will move you forward.

Where does over-owning show up the most in your life? Awareness is the first step to stop this deeply rooted habit. Then you can start putting the oxygen mask on yourself first before turning your attention to others. 

Over-owning is stimulated by deep insecurities. Whether you feel you are not enough or are failing, it’s only natural to want to alleviate the discomfort. These insecurities sabotage the self and trigger an over-owning pattern where you give and give and give to try to get out. 

But you won’t get out of it until you become aware first. 

So be mindful. Come back to your needs. Stop automatically saying yes and stop sabotaging your success! 

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Personal Development Topics


About Sonya
Women in Business Podcast Sonya1

I spent the last 20+ years helping thousands of women create more ease, alignment & success in their lives & business. Worthy Women Collective is the culmination of my wisdom & experience, helping women to build their business & their bank account in a way that brings joy, satisfaction, and freedom. I have a long-time podcast called Women in the Business Arena™, and a TEDx talk called Moving Beyond #Empowerment. I live in Austin, Texas (and sometimes worldwide) with my husband and two children.  

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