Kick Your A!: A Primer

09/29/2011 10:48 am ET | Updated Nov 29, 2011

The following is an excerpt from Sarah O'Leary's book, "Kick A! How to Ditch Your Type A Personality and live a life you might actually ENJOY!"

Studies show that Type A personalities are more prone to depression, anxiety, heart attacks, strokes, bad hands at poker, shorter life spans, and a variety of other not so nice medical and mental health maladies. Type C, a life lived in joy-filled balance, gets absolutely no bad press at all! Imagine that!

Rather than tell myself I'd need a PhD to write this book, I'm choosing to remember the bottomless pit of hard knocks, cold sweats, 15-round bouts of insomnia, anxiety attacks, feelings of failure, need to compare myself with everyone around me (including house pets) and all of the other nasty bits I experienced as a member in never good enough for me standing of the Sacred Society of Type A (SSTA).

Four years ago, I was at the tippy top of my chosen profession. The lead creative at a marketing agency, I was an Atlas with boobs, holding the orbiting creative worlds of a host of blue chip corporations precariously over my head as I attempted to convince anyone who would listen in every nanosecond of every day that I was the Type A who could lead the way to Nike! (victory, of course, not shoes).

But a funny thing happened once I reached the holy grail of the corner office. I instantly realized something that brought my A to its knees: IT WAS EMPTY! And not in the literal sense of course, as the interior design had been executed and the coffee tables, desk, chairs and couch put in their rightful places. Instead, it was completely and utterly devoid of meaning for me! There were no angels singing on high, no magical feeling of discovering the meaning of (corporate) life.

At 42, could my life be OVER? No, my friends! After intensive therapy, soul searching, incessant playing of The Carpenters Greatest Hits and long walks in the rain, I realized my life had just begun! The Type C life was emerging in me, and I welcomed its pressure free melody! The vice like grip Type A had on my psyche was dissipating, and I was terrified and thrilled simultaneously!!! Say AMEN!

Ah, but the Type A force is STRONG.

Oh, how simple life would be if we reserved our Type A just for corporate America. Instead, from prenatal tutoring (no, you can't learn a foreign language in the womb, for God's sake!) to five-figure tricked out birthday parties for the 1-year old, Type A is the biggest epidemic in the United States today.

Your years as chairman of the Junior League or Cattle Baron's Ball or all of the other great things you amass can't come with you. No, my friends! Running from achievement to achievement won't make life one second longer. And I suggest it makes your life go a whole lot faster. Who the Sam Heck would want THAT?

The simple fact is that we don't need to build a better muffin than Betsy at the bake sale to live whole, enriched and authentic lives. We can practice the fine art of life living rather than torturing ourselves, gassing up the minivan to run to the 3rd book club of the week and it's only Tuesday. We don't need to multi-task, find more hours in the day or somehow prove ourselves to the Universe. The Universe already digs us!

There is not a single shred of evidence that you can take any of your material possessions, including bank accounts, yachts, org charts with your name at the top, gold stars, blue ribbons, shiny awards or anything else to the hereafter. Just beginning to think about the path Type C is already a wondrous achievement - way to go! (I'd say you were an all-star, but don't want to trigger regression).

The letter "C" has received a bad wrap in the nation since the advent of report cards. It has been unfairly vilified! It has stood for "average", a swear word in our first world. No one in his/her right mind wants to be a SWEAR WORD! And yet, we know that average is the natural place where most people reside. ½ are on one side of it, and ½ on the other. THE MIDDLE IS WHERE THE BALANCE IS! Type C is VICTORY! And you can achieve it!!

All you have to do is a whole lot less hard work!