Do you have these nine traits? You might be a high achiever

| reading time – 3 mins|

So I found out this year that I apparently fall into the “high achiever” bracket. I’ve never considered myself a “high achiever” because in the past I employed many years of negative inner dialogue that has kept me small whilst at the same time fuelling my drive to be the best I possibly can be. Crazy efforts, right? I can’t pinpoint when or why I’m a high achiever, but like you, from an early age I wanted to make parents and teachers proud of me and hate the thought of letting someone down. I can be competitive, especially against myself and in the past have fallen into familiar patterns of challenging myself to take on tough roles just to prove I can do it!

Let’s take a look at the typical characteristics of a high achiever – I certainly can tick off virtually all of these – how about you?

High Achievers:

  • Are very smart. And we learn at an early age to use that characteristic. We apply new knowledge quickly and we are solution finders
  • Have a tendency to compare themselves to others – often unfavourably.
  • Are highly competitive and tenacious. We need to be number one all the time and we’re very driven. The downside is that the expectation of being number one becomes the norm and it’s very difficult for us to be anything other than “in front”.
  • Can be impatient with other people and ourselves.
  • Are very successful in everything we’ve done. But are rarely satisfied with our achievements and always think “we could have done better”.
  • Like to be busy. We often have overloaded agendas and lose the balance in life because we believe success relies on us. We usually end up pushing ourselves too far or lose our social life and stop having fun because every moment is accounted for, then we feel guilty.
  • Put ourselves under enormous pressure and find it hard to switch off or ask for help. This can become a chronic issue for us if we don’t recognise it.
  • Want to do something perfectly the first time. We have a fear of being exposed and feeling silly. It frightens us to think we might lose our image of competence.
  • Have difficulty in differentiating between urgent and important – everything is both urgent AND important for us

So you can see that our strengths then become our weaknesses. People see a driven, motivated, successful and inspirational individual and, when everything is going well, we are exactly that person and it’s brilliant. Everything flows and life is easy. But, when we hit a bump or feel overloaded, we can become anxious, sad and stressed. We often say very negative things to ourselves (“I should”, “I must”, “I ought to”) and everything becomes very catastrophic (“I’ll never”, “I always”). We suffer from “Imposter Syndrome” – a persistent feeling of not being good enough (despite proven expertise). Rather than believing in our own skills, we believe it was just down to luck or temporary effort rather than our actual ability!  

High achievers like us need to adopt some counter-intuitive strategies to give us the courage to step outside of our comfort zone and be less overloaded, ask for help and give ourselves permission to be more gentle with ourselves.  

Set boundaries.

Take a break, recharge, refuel, rejuvenate. Listen to your body and your mind. It will show you it’s time for a break. Your intuition will tell you when it’s time to keep going, but respect your body when it needs rest. Don’t lose your sparkle.

Make your goals fun. 

Being a high achiever doesn’t mean you have to keep going at all costs (see above point!). Open yourself up to new learning experiences that may make you feel uncertain at best and incompetent at worst. Remember that those feelings are temporary and a prelude to greater professional ability.

Shed your ego and acknowledge your vulnerabilities.

Taking a break or changing your goals does not make you weak or inferior. You are not a lesser version of yourself if you need a change of direction. Asking for help does not make people think you “can’t do it”. Use your support network or find a mentor to guide you, but make sure they tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.  

Allow yourself to be mediocre. 

Long-term success requires some willingness to commit to necessary short-term risks and the only way to try something new is to stumble, fumble and fail the first few times e.g. learning a new language, craft, sport or other role within your business. You can still strive for excellence, but you don’t need to be “the best”. It means growing and learning from every experience. It also gives room to become a creative collaborator because you are no longer threatened by those around you who may get in front of you.

Change your inner dialogue.

Recognise the repetitive negative automatic thought patterns that you fall into. Interrupt them by using some kind of trigger such as playing a specific song on that makes you feel good, snapping an elastic on your wrist or smelling uplifting essential oils. Once you’ve acknowledged and interrupted the negative thought cycle, replace those thoughts with an opposite empowering belief. You’ll need to practice this over and over again to create new pathways in your brain to replace the old, negative ones.

What next?
  1. Subscribe to my newsletter to get the goodies straight to your inbox. I’ll never spam you or sell your details.
  2. Contact me if you’re interested in combatting this tendency so you can uplevel your business without the overwhelm and self-doubt – I always give a 30 minute free intro session to find out more about you and whether we’re a good match!
  3. Fancy joining my new Mastermind? Let me know and I’ll put you on the waiting list to be notified first when I launch it!

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