Break the Cycle. Get Back on Track Towards Finding FulfillmentAug 26, 2022
I was introduced to computers very early in my career long before Bill Gates' broadcast of his mission of "a computer on every desk and in every home". Back in the mid 1970s, I worked in a data center with a Honeywell 4200 that filled a room larger than the main floor in my home. In the 1980s, I worked on IBM "mainframes" that still garnered a room of their own.
Throughout my career, I have worn the badge of a “high achiever” when it comes to setting up my own computer networks and troubleshooting hardware and software. I have been known to thrive on the challenge, never needing to read instructions, and never, ever, needing to ask for HELP! While my problem-solving skills and comfort with technology worked for me, this particular behaviour of a high achiever was/is a trap. Can you identify which one or are there a few? 8 Behaviours of High Achievers, the Traps, and Finding Fulfillment.
One day several years ago, I met my match - a wireless all-in-one printer/scanner/copier. Yes, several years ago before many of us went "paperless", I decided to upgrade and replace two printers with one that would increase productivity and improve efficiency – and take advantage of other ‘cool’ features.
The Behaviours and Traps
I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon trying to introduce this new printer to my network. I gave in to reading the instructions only to get frustrated with the new multi-language format and teeny-tiny print. I finally threw up my hands and prepared myself for packing up the printer and returning it to the store on Monday morning. The rest of my Sunday was cool-off time to cope with my resistance to being defeated – by a printer!
Resistance persisted Monday morning but with a different perspective. “One more try.”, I coaxed myself. However, this time, I reached out to telephone support. Within 30 minutes, the printer and scanner were humming and happy to be introduced to my network. Needless to say, I was happy too.
This experience is a good example of one, two, or more of the traps of high-achievers. The following article explains how those traps can really hurt and what high-achievers need to do to break the cycle of those traps.
Breaking the Cycle of Traps
You might recognize yourself as a high achiever. Perhaps you started out that way and have let yourself fade into the background. You play it safe, maybe even telling yourself that your average performance is above the norm anyway — so why risk more?
I understand that completely. When you’re used to being recognized for high achievement and now you are feeling overwhelmed by the rapid and constant change, it’s only natural to shy away from opportunities, projects, or tasks that test you and require you to learn new skills. You lament about when you were eager for challenge and at this moment you might feel like your brilliance is fading. I am thinking about my recent experiences with technology in particular.
When you have a successful self-image to protect and healthy self-regard to maintain, you might find yourself avoiding risk. You might be surprised to learn that you are in good company. Many high achievers hunker down and lock themselves into routines at the expense of personal and professional growth.
Get Back on Track to Finding Fulfillment
Trust me on this, you can break the cycle and get back on track for personal and professional success. In fact, it’s not only possible — it’s essential if you want to flourish and find fulfillment.
First, take a hard look at yourself. Identify any of the eight behaviours and the traps that sabotage your efforts in finding fulfillment. Which behaviours and traps escalate your anxieties and cause you to engage in self-sabotage? Consider raising your Self-Perception by learning about Emotional Intelligence.
Next, adopt new practices that give you the courage to step out of your comfort zone. I empathize. This isn’t easy and it won’t happen overnight but you have done it before and you have been most successful. Many of us benefit from time with a trusted peer, mentor, or coach.
It’s a hard truth, but the talent, skills, and old behaviours that got you “here” won’t take you “there” in finding fulfillment. Your best thinking may not be enough. As intelligent as you may be (IQ), you simply cannot know what you don’t know. Developing your emotional intelligence (EQ) skills will take you to the next step.
Are you ready to engage in a plan to transform the “High Achiever” behaviours with the exploration of emotional intelligence and get on track to finding fulfillment?
References and Resources:
The Paradox of Excellence (HBR, June 2011), Thomas J. and Sara DeLong
8 Behaviours of High Achievers, the Traps, and Finding Fulfillment, (August 19, 2022), Encore Blog
For references and resources connecting Interpersonal Relationships with Happiness, invest in your own copy of The EQ Edge - Emotional Intelligence and Your Success, Steven J. Stein, PH.D. and Howard E. Book M.D.
Your Next Steps:
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