By Lady Lolita, 21st April 2016

I’m a High Octane Woman

Are You?

Are You?

All my life I’ve been told to slow down, take it easy, calm down, don’t stress… as if there’s ever been a time in the history of ever that being told to ‘calm down’ has ever calmed anyone down. Ask The Duchess, she’ll tell you. The thing is though, that unlike my fellow Glass House Girl, I’m not a worrier or in any way anxious, neither am I someone who is nervy, neurotic or suffering from any mental illness.

I am, in fact, a High Octane, Type A personality. Someone whose body struggles to contain the amount of energy held within… and although it’s difficult to live a life that lacks balance, I’ve learnt to live with it

So what is a High Octane Woman?
Well in the words of those that have been in my life for the last 37 years it means that I’m ‘a bit much sometimes’. I’m exhausting, easily excitable, energetic, buzzy, always manically busy and hyperactive. Where most people are happy to have the one hobby, a job for life, a family home and a steady routine – I’m not and I don’t.

In fact… I. Don’t. Stop.

Interestingly, high octane personalities manifest themselves differently in men and women.

If you read up on Type A men you will find a long list of power-hungry Alpha males with their ambitious plans and their take-no-prisoners approach to life. They are admired, feared and respected for their attitude. They take no shit and they stop at nothing.

alpha male

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So what happens if you are a High Octane Woman? Where does that energy go and how is it perceived?

Unfortunately, Type A women are categorised in three ways:
1. Ball Breakers (ie the bitch in the office that’s so mean)
2. The Selfish Mum (ie the bitch that always puts herself before her kids)
3. The Strong Friend (ie the bitch that takes no shit and gets things done, but everyone’s a bit scared of her)
In short, we tend to be seen as bitches…

To be a High Octane Woman means you lack lots of attributes that define the stereotypical view of womanhood and you are regularly described as ‘intimidating’ by other women. And it gets especially tough when you have children. Something that High Octane/Alpha Males don’t have to worry about

Before I had children my personality type served me well. I worked for some huge international brands and I had the energy and tenacity to keep up with the thriving London business world. I could board a plane to Dubai at 11pm, land at 6am, go straight to four back to back meetings then stay up entertaining clients until 4am before catching the 7am flight back home and going straight to the office. I probably still could do that now, given half the chance. It’s in my nature.

Except I don’t live that life any more. Now I’m a mother with my own small freelance business and a quieter life where I am expected to take my time, not go so fast and not worry so much about getting everything done. Yet I still push myself as hard as I can, it’s who I am.

My house is immaculate, my kids are in order and thanks to them I can survive on very little sleep, I have lots of projects on the go and my computer and my brain have more tabs open than the average person would know how to cope with.

I’m always on the go.

computer tabs

Until I crash.

Every six to eight weeks I have what I call ‘a wobble’. I might get a bit emotional, question the direction that I’m going in, have a row with my ever-suffering husband and hide away for a day or two. Then I pull myself together and run straight back into the thick of it. I’m back from 0-60 in two seconds like nothing had ever happened.

Is it healthy? Probably not.
Is it nice for those that live with me? I doubt it.
Do I care? Not really. I tend not to dwell.

As crazy as my outlook on life seems to most people, there are many positive aspects of being High Octane:

We get more done than the average person
No matter how much I have on my plate, I can always fit in more. I say yes to more than I should, even if it means that I won’t sleep until it’s done.
too busy
We have high standards
I am a high achiever. When I do something I give it my all – whether making dinner for friends, helping kids with their homework, planning a work presentation or renovating the house. I either do it 100% or not at all. This means I’m a pretty tough mum and a pretty tough wife, but it also means I’m dedicated.

We need less rest
I don’t get it when people say they are tired. I don’t get it when people need more than seven hours sleep. I really struggle with the concept of needing to ‘have a little sit down’. It’s amazing just how much one can achieve when they get off Facebook.

We’re adventurous risk takers
I’ve lived in four countries and I jump from opportunity to opportunity. It’s not that I struggle to focus or I let people down, I just get excited easily and am always eager for something new. In business I’m great with projects that need a short intense burst of energy. Sadly, I’m not so good at plodding along or long term strategising so working as a freelancer suits me well.

But it’s not all plain sailing for us obsessive go-getters. There are plenty of reasons why I would love to be a little less, well, less everything at times:

We’re pretty intense
I know I’m exhausting to be around, I exhaust myself. People find it hard to keep up with me, mentally and physically. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to hone those skills into going to the gym, because if I could get as excited about that as other things, I would have a bloody cracking body.

We attract Emotional Vampire Cling Ons
It’s natural that when you exude an air of capability, confidence and optimism you attract those that lack it in themselves. I have had to deal with a lot of emotional vampires in my life; those that are filled with ‘woe is me’ and need some of my surplus energy. And because I don’t know my limits and say yes easily, I like to help. So yes, I love the fact that my no bullshit approach to life and willingness to help has literally changed the lives of many (did I mention I also lack modesty), but I have had to learn how to distance myself when I get dragged down.

We’re a bit scary
When I’m in full throttle mode, eyes on the prize and being my ‘you’re a bit much’ self, it’s best to stand back. My mouth moves faster than my brain, so I say things that should be filtered beforehand – but I’m too busy to care how that affects others.  Sometimes people are drawn to my ‘can do’ attitude – but other times I’m their last straw. I try and keep it in check, but that’s not always possible.

We lose interest easily
I don’t get bored because I find life incredibly exciting and my To Do list and Bucket List is longer than most people’s. But because of my obsessive tendencies, I can be incredibly dedicated and full on and then – nothing. It doesn’t interest me anymore. That is fine if you are helping a company build a brand and get their business off the ground (I find it very easy to hand things back), it’s just not so easy when you are a mum – because no one lets you hand them back. I did ask, apparently I have to keep my kids for life.


We’re never satisfied
The problem with high standards is that you constantly feel unfulfilled. Like you can’t switch off until you have done it all. It’s hard to wind down, hard not to jump out of bed at 3am and finish that story off that has been keeping you awake all night and it’s tough to keep your mouth shut. There’s a big world out there people – why aren’t you wringing every last drop out of it?

So how do you deal with the High Octane person in your life?
You simply stand back and let them get on with it. You don’t tell them to chill, talk them down from the ledge, pile in with your negative crap to dilute their hyper positivity. Either get excited with them or keep out of their way, whichever suits you best. Offer to help (they won’t let you) then offer to help again when they crash (they will need you). High Octane and Type A people work really well with more easy-going Type B people… whether it be in a relationship or a business environment. Because the world needs groups of big picture viewing, chilled Steady Eddies with a smattering of high energy, pushy Arsey Marcies.

Us High Octane Women are useful, in small doses. The only thing you really need to avoid is a room full of us… I wouldn’t wish that on anybody!

What did you think?

    chat 1 Comment

  1. MarcyDarcie ● February 14, 2021 at 6:11 pmReply

    Sounds like a neurodivergent brain. Autism or ADHD…or both

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