Self sabotage - Are you a hyper-achiever?
Hyper-achiever sounds good doesn’t it? Wouldn’t we all like to achieve our goals non-stop? The truth is that in moderation, a hard push to achieve can be really good for us but when it’s taken to the extreme it can be very, very dysfunctional indeed.
The hyper-achiever is dependent on constant external performance and achievement for approval and validation. Self-acceptance is only conditional on success which can lead to unsustainable workaholic tendencies. This strong drive to prove her worth can of course be a way of covering up insecurities. Failure isn’t tolerated and she must be the best at what she does or else she’s just not good enough.
The results of this sabotage can be burn-out and exhaustion and a loss of touch with deeper emotional and relationship needs. Achievements feel superficial – there never seems never enough success to feel at peace and happiness is short lived. It can suck your life away.
So what can you do if this affects you?
#1 stop chasing external goals like a trophy checklist and start focusing on the process not the product. For example if you’re putting a project plan together, slow it down. Step back and take a longer look at all the options maybe. Put a wall of posts up and group them in different ways. Get creative. Ask others for their input more and build those relationships. You’re not alone. By paying more attention to the journey we can take much greater satisfaction from the whole of the work not just be judged on the final output.
#2 Have a heart to heart with your inner critic. She’s only trying to keep you safe by driving you so hard because when you were little you learned that achieving made you a good girl. Thank her for trying to look after you but tell her that you’re a grown up now and can find pleasure and validation in other things too. Be kind to yourself.
Finally if you haven’t seen Brene Brown’s amazing TED talk on the power of vulnerability then you really need to. It’s been a total game changer for so many women I’ve worked with. She uses her research and her own hyper achieving breakdown to demonstrate that vulnerability is anything but weakness. In fact, it takes true strength and courage to allow yourself to be vulnerable. The cool part about it, though, is that the gifts we unlock by being vulnerable far outweigh the difficulty of doing it. Check it out and google The Power of Vulnerability