The High Achiever's Achilles Heel

You love goal-setting and are exhilarated by goal-achievement. You’ve probably read all the articles, blogs and books on how to work better, live better, feel better and think better. You’re not always sure what you want, except for two things: more growth and more success. Do you also feel little pleasure in winning but great pain in losing? Congratulations, you are a high achiever.

But alas, I’m afraid it’s not all good news and your life isn’t easy despite achieving so much. Even though your strict attention to detail and harsh rules have rewarded you by passing exams, getting projects in on time, and excelling in your work, you still want more and expect more. You even know about the Pareto Principle, but that doesn’t mean you follow it. Your working like is a never-ending pursuit of 'more'. 

The problem? Often you don’t feel good even though you’ve reached the goal, or you can’t feel good. Because as soon as you achieve one goal, there is another in its place straight away. It doesn’t feel as if the goal has been achieved, merely exchanged for a new one. 

I’m not saying you shouldn’t keep setting challenging goals for yourself, I’m underlining the fact that many high-achievers are extremely hard on themselves and therefore cannot feel good even when they succeed. Ask yourself...

Can success be success without fulfilment?

Growth and development are great, but so are gratitude and victory stacking. You might ask…

Are you telling me to lower my standards?

No, absolutely not. I believe it’s great to keep pushing forward and working harder to achieve bigger and more exciting goals, but it should be balanced with gratitude and appreciation. On top of that, I’m suggesting you make the game more winnable so it’s easier for you to feel better. That way, you can perform better and enjoy your work and your life even more.

Your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative neutral or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise. In fact, what we’ve found is that every single business outcome improves. Your brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than your brain at negative, neutral, or stressed.
— Shawn Achor, The Happy Secret to Better Work, TED, 2011