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Is being a ‘high-achiever’ a highway to unhappiness?

Being a high-achiever is a good thing, right?


It’s certainly got its perks yes – at least on the surface. Having a powerful drive to achieve in your life, having an intense focus on being ‘successful’ and taking constant pride in your performance and seeking perfection will get you places, no doubt. If you’re nodding along, you may even recognise that these qualities have partly got you where you are now, helped you to progress in many contexts and empowered great results along the way.


Indeed, I’m sure that the majority of the most ‘successful’ people in business and sport would self-identify with being a ‘high-achiever’.


So, what’s not to like?


Well, if you’re reading this and identifying with it you may also recognise that it isn’t necessarily bringing you happiness too. That realisation is so common that a new term of ‘unhappy achievers’ is emerging.


Perhaps you’ve noticed that you can’t relax until you’ve completed tasks, you haven’t got balance in your life, your internal dialogue is harsh and critical, you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed or your physical body is beginning to suffer. Maybe though, it’s just a sense that you’re constantly looking for the next thing, looking externally to what will fulfil you.


These are all signs that the stories we’re telling ourselves about who we are – are ‘pushing’ or ‘driving’ us to these high-achiever behaviours. They might sound something like this:


‘I need to prove myself’

‘I must do more or I’m going to fail’

‘I need to make sure they really value me’

‘It will all be worth it once I get the recognition’

‘It could have been better if I’d done more’

‘I will be happy when I’ve achieved this’

‘I will be fulfilled and content when this happens in the future’

‘I need to be perfect in order to be loved’


You may notice that most of these are dependent on external factors – and ignore perhaps the most important element to happiness – your inner state. They are also primarily driven by a fear of failure, and fear of not being valued, recognised, loved and appreciated. And fear is powerful, it activates our fight or fight system, it pumps adrenaline around our body and primes us to act, to do, to achieve. But being driven from this kind of internal state and story about yourself has its costs – as you may be experiencing.


What's the alternative?


This article might be the realisation you need to start to make some shifts in your life - to discover how to re-balance your mind, body and life, ensuring you can still fulfil your passion and purpose in life, but in a way that holds greater calmness, health, happiness, connection & kindness to yourself. Ultimately moving you to a place where you’re ‘pulled’ to achieve by passion, love, inspiration and curiosity rather than ‘pushed’ by fear.

This realisation was certainly powerful for me - with my own mental/physical health challenges leading me to completely re-discover how I can live my life in a more balanced way and ultimately led to me starting this business with the purpose of transforming your experience of life.


If this has struck a chord and you’d like to book a free introductory call – just click here. I'd love to help.


James


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