High achievers typically are rewarded with status or money. At the same time, they often are burdened by personal and social challenges that are common to high achievers. These challenges, in turn, can interfere with their personal, organizational, or managerial success, or with their relationships, self-regulation, or personal happiness. Unfortunately, and understandably given limited supportive resources, much less attention is given to supporting high achievers than those who evidence struggle or more serious remedial needs. The reason why Partners in Thought focuses on high achievers is because they can best leverage the coaching support into change that helps many others, including the high achiever’s subordinates, peers, bosses, clients/customers/patients, and beneficiaries of and stakeholders in the high achiever’s enterprise.
High achievers are much more likely than others to suffer from:
Perfectionism, which leads to procrastination, intolerance of self and others, abuse of subordinates, unhealthy stress, burnout, and substance abuse. For high achievers, perfectionism often interferes with progress.
The Imposter Effect - often subconsciously, high achievers feel “I don’t belong here or deserve this in the way that others do,” and they fear that others will learn that they are “imposters” in their success.
Micromanagement, which leads to high personal stress, burnout, inadequate delegation of responsibilities, insufficient mentoring, retarded growth of colleagues and subordinates, constrained options, limited creativity, and inferior leadership.
Discontentment, which leads to unhappiness and substance abuse.
Over-emphasis on problems instead of people, and on solutions instead of process, which leads to organizational and social dysfunction.
Golden handcuffs, the resistance to move on to something more in line with your values because the loss of the current material benefits of your status quo are perceived as too great.
Emotional numbness and repression of feelings.
Emotional and social setbacks.
As indicated in our discussion on happiness, the greater the gap between your ideal self (e.g., intrinsic desires, aspirations, hopes, or positive images of self) and your perception of your actual self, the more dissatisfied and unhappy you become. As you succeed to close the gap, your expectations of yourself rise, which increases the gap and leads to further unhappiness. This is a logical consequence of evolution, pushing us to accomplish more. But high achievers have a tendency to set particular high thresholds for their ideal selves, not only leading to high accomplishment, but also to greater unhappiness.
Partners in Thought began as a service exclusively for high achievers and their organizations. We continue to focus on supporting high achievers. Our head coach, Jeff Schneider, is a “recovering” high achiever who has devoted decades not only to traditional achievement but also to studying and practicing science-based techniques to enhance and bring balance to his life and the lives of others. Although each of us can pursue mastery, we must remember that perfection is asymptotic; we can get closer and closer, but we will never touch perfection. We therefore need to appreciate incremental and life-long growth and enjoy the journey itself.
Check out some of the growth areas we focus on by clicking here.