From Super Achiever to Creative Collaborator
Nathan is smart. I mean really smart. And he knows how to get things done. He is the “go to” guy on his team at work. He is the “help me out” dad, husband, and son. While he has a really smart wife, and capable kids, and his parents are world travelers they still all think Nathan has the answers.
Does this cause Nathan stress? He will say a humble, “not so much”, yet, just watch him sit and jiggle his foot while he talks. Just watch him run his fingers through this long, sandy blond hair every minute or so.
Nathan is what we call a classic super achiever. If you are one you know immediately what I am talking about. And if you are not one, there is no doubt you must know one.
Working or living with a super achiever is majorly stressful. They want perfection. Not just from themselves, from everyone around them, especially their family.
If you ask a super achiever what matters in life, they will rarely use the word ‘happy’ or ‘content’, their word for what matters in life is ‘success’. The trouble with the word success is it is very illusive. It may mean getting the car of your dreams, a zoom along Porshe or a snappy BMW, except sooner or later the next new, best of the best comes out. It can be exhausting keeping up with all the tech toys that spell success.
Super achievers are always over scheduled and love telling you how busy they are. Don’t be fooled. They love the action and the need to be in the spotlight.
If YOU ARE a super achiever here are ways to get into the safe stress zone:
1. Ask for help. You may gag on the words “can you help me” the first times you do this. Do it anyway.
2. Take a hike. This is called a pattern interrupt. At some point on a busy day (we know, every day is busy) take a walk. Start with maybe 10 minutes and build up to 20. Do this at least 3 times a week. And when you go, no gadgets to fill your brain. Just walk.
3. Watch your words. See if you can get through a day, a half day, an hour without talking about yourself and your projects. Especially be careful with the word “I”. Jot down how many times you use that “I” word in a hour. It will shock you.
4. Change your story. Find a charity to support, and just donate one hour a month to help rather than be in charge. When you meet these new people make it a practice to ask them about themselves and stuff your hand in your mouth whenever you feel the need to talk about you.
5. Ask your family how they see you. This will be an eye opener that may be like getting a pitcher of ice water thrown on you. It is called a wake-up call.
6. Wake up! Take the time to read “Don’t Bring it to Work” and do the Sankofa map that will give you clues to why you need to be the best and the center of attention at all times. Just learning about this part of you will make change happen.
Once you have gone from the high end of the stress zone where super achievers live you will find that some amazing things have happened. Your digestion should improve, your sleeping patterns will become more congruent, and you will find that the words ‘happy’ and ‘content’ will enter your vocabulary with ease and grace.
Tomorrow: If you live with a super achiever.