We all know them! Atleast one. The high achievers amidst us. Those who keep on climbing new mountains each day. Relentlessly. Everything seems to be working in their favour. Some of us maybe high achievers too. We look with respect at them. Set them as examples. Glorify them.
However very few know the other side of high achieving men and women. I was one of them and I exactly know what it takes to be a high achiever. I was so attached to my work. Opened my laptop over the weekends too. Been there and done that. Taken everything else for granted.
So let’s shed some light on the shadow side of high achieving men and women –
- They are never satisfied: With every new milestone they reach or pinnacle they achieve, it is never enough. They are always on the look out for the next mission, milestone or pinnacle. It gets tiring and they eventually burn out at the end of it. There is no time lost to even celebrate the current achievements. It is always about what next?
- Mundane bores them: The adrenaline rush they get when they achieve what they set themselves for is too intense and high. This is the major reason mundane and everyday chores bore them to the core. Some of them also might find a disconnect at home and with family because they keep on seeking that adrenaline rush avenues at home. Raising a child and reading the same stories to children might not be something they feel adept about. They are always seeking this adrenaline rush at home which results in many of them feeling empty at home or personal life.
- Misinformed definition of love: High achieving men and women love their work way too much. They try to benchmark everything in life with this misinformed sense of love. It is based on the value they base when they achieve something. And keep seeking that rush and value in relationships. A lot of high achieving women harbour guilt thinking they do not love their family/child as much as they love their work. This comes from the space of superficial definiton of love.
- Extreme Pressure of External Validation: High achievers thrive on the external validation they receive. It is their fuel. Something which keeps them going. So the flip side of it is they are extremely vary of the criticism. Always on their toes to be the best in the society’s eyes. And that my friend brings in a lot of pressure. They base their worth on how much they have achieved and how much they are appreciated.
These are just a few aspects of the shadow side of high achievers. If you are one of them or know someone who is, here are some ways in which you can balance your life in a better way!
How to create the balance –
- Pausing: I know it seems impossible. But what if I told you, by pausing you will be refuelled even more to achieve that next milestone? Taking regular pauses will help to calm down your nervous system. Help you focus more and deliver better. How do these pauses look like? Maybe a cup of tea with nothing else on your mind. Or a short walk outside. Sometime a nap. Other times focusing on your inhale and exhale. And maybe sometimes taking an entire day off. Taking some time to celebrate your achievements.
- Asking potent questions: Whenever you set yourself a task or next milestone, ask yourself “Am I doing this for myself or am I doing it to get validation from the outside?” “Is this really what I want?” “Am I enjoying the journey towards the destination or am I just focusing on reaching the destination?”
Truthfully answering these questions should help you in re aligning your vision.
- Discovering what love means to you: I know this one is a biggie. And I will share my experience here – ‘I was basing my love on the high I get from work. I say I love my work because of the high and was setting the same benchmark to family. How naive I have been. Love is so different than what I had in my mind. Just knowing I am so blessed and safe with Sujoy (my husband) and Rey (my son) as I sleep every night is love. The way we stand up and support each other is love. The high which I get when I see Rey and Sujoy laughing together is love. Love is not about adrenaline rush of signing the client or booking my program full out. Love is about knowing all is well in my world with the people in it.’ So sit down and get out of the misinformed definition of love. What you feel at work as love isn’t what is supposed to be at home. Define your love for you.
- Bring in fun in the mundane: Mundane bores us. I agree. How can we bring fun in the mundane? We cannot just keep on doing high achieving tasks. Mundane is necessary too. Balance is the key here.
And as I accept and work on the shadow side of being an high achiever, I have set an intention of helping high achieving women/CEOs/Leaders who are feeling hollow and lost in their busy world, to slow down, connect and learn to live a more nourished, full and content life at work and home.
If something inside you stirred after reading this, set a time with me to have a heart to heart chat here!