Benefits: Create your own definitions of “high achiever” and “success.”
So That You Can: Find the validation and meaning you need to live a fulfilling life.
Go From Inspiration to Action With the Worksheet Below!
Do You Really Want to Be a High Achiever?
Well, I guess the answer to that question depends on what you think a high achiever is. And, whether or not you believe that you have to be a high achiever in order to be successful in life.
Which begs the questions — do you want to be successful? And, what does being successful mean to you?
And those questions lead to two more questions — would being a successful high achiever give you validation? And, if so, would that validation come from yourself or from your external world?
Holy crap! These are some heavy questions, but what else would you expect from the leader of a community of Deliberate Thinkers ?? And, of course, I’m not going to leave you alone with these thoughts roaming around in your head.
Let’s continue our discussion and see if we can find some answers (or at least plant some seeds of thought so we can discover the answers later).
Why Would I Even Ask This Question to Begin With?
Geez — I’m just full of questions today, aren’t I ??
The question came to me after watching an Evan Carmichael video one morning. Evan profiles various thought leaders, business leaders, motivational speakers, etc., and, quite often, he’ll introduce the profilee as: someone “who was raised by his abusive father,” or someone “who was born into poverty,” or someone who “grew up in an abusive household,” or “insert traumatic experience here.” **
Then, naturally, he goes on to detail the achievements, successes, and validations the profilee has realized in his/her life. And I started to notice that a lot of these high achievers were either abused as children or were exposed to traumatic environmental factors during their childhoods. So I started to wonder, “Did these people go on to become high achievers because they were trying to prove themselves to someone? Had their childhoods led them to seek validation? And did they find it?”
** These profilees are Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, and David Goggins, respectively.
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Before We Get Too Far Ahead of Ourselves
What do you think a high achiever is? Take a minute to answer this question before I influence your answer.
When I hear the phrase high achiever, I think of people like the ones that I mentioned in the prior paragraph — Musk, Oprah, and Goggins — but I also think of myself. I think of how stressful it can be to be a high achiever; how many expectations we place on ourselves; and how we seek validation without even being conscious of it.
I’m by no means on par with Oprah, but I’ve been a high achiever most of (all of) my life. I was the kid who finished my 2nd grade math book first because along with that achievement came lunch with my teacher. I was the dork who buckled down and put serious effort into a business program I took in high school, earning me the title of “Student of the Year” two years in a row. And, I went on to become the go-to person at every accounting firm I’ve worked at because I have a reputation for being a quick study who produced high quality work.
I’m not offering this examples to brag about myself. I’m offering them as examples of what everyday high achieving can look like. You don’t have to change the world, be named one of Forbes’ richest people, or compete in 100-mile endurance runs to be a high achiever.
I like this definition from Carl Beuke, Ph.D., as posted by Psychology Today:
High achievers are often marked, unsurprisingly, by a strong motive to achieve. Less accomplished individuals are often more motivated to avoid failure.
Achievement motivated individuals have a strong desire to accomplish something important, and gain gratification from success in demanding tasks. Consequently they are willing to expend intense effort over long timespans in the pursuit of their goals.
Let’s pause here a minute to think about how you define “high achiever” one more time, and then we’ll take a look at the dark side of being a high achiever.
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To Seek or Not to Seek
5 Problems High Achievers Face
It’s Time to Redefine Success
Where Does Your Validation Come From?
I’ll Ask Again -- Do You Really Want to Be a High Achiever?
Only Have 1 Minute
Tired of Feeling Not Enough & Trying to Prove Yourself?, posted to YouTube by The Daily Positive on 6.22.14
Does it Matter? The role of validation in success | Ethel Cofie | TEDxAccraWomen, posted to YouTube by TEDx Talks on 1.05.17
You Don’t Have to Defend Yourself | How Not To Be Defensive, posted to YouTube by Julia Kristina Counselling on 1.30.19
Do Traumatic Childhoods Create High-Achieving Adults?, Amanda Kippert, posted to domesticshelters.org on 10.29.18
5 Problems that Are Unique to High Achievers, Amy Morin, Psychology Today, 6.02.15
How Do High Achievers Really Think?, Carl Beuke Ph.D., Psychology Today, 10.19.11
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