The High Achiever’s Recipe for Not Doing it All
High achievers would prefer to succeed at everything they do, every time they do it. As a result, many high achievers maintain a ‘to do’ list at all times across all the different domains of life. While effective, it’s almost inevitable to reach a point where it feels like there is too much going on.
This work ethic has made us successful and helped us achieve our goals, but at times, it may not feel sustainable. Recognizing that you’re on the path to burnout can be a wake up call, but it doesn’t need to get that bad for you to consider a different approach. Have you heard any of the following from those closest to you:
“You need to relax.”
“Don't take on so much.
"Cut yourself some slack.”
For many, this sounds great, but... how exactly does one cut slack after years of moving through life in this way?
A common request from my clients is for strategies they can use to care less. While caring less would be one way to divest, it would also have an unwanted collateral impact on motivation. It’s reductive and I don’t know about you, but I want to care. Caring too much isn’t the problem. Gripping the care with white knuckles is. The key is to loosen your grip and not try to do it all.
Not doing it all doesn’t mean that you stop executing or let go of the quality standard you’ve set. Instead, you are extending that standard beyond work into the rest of your life. Have you ever noticed you won’t miss a work deadline, but you’ll blow past a personal goal? Or how you’d never no-show a meeting with a colleague but you’ll allow others to book over the time you’ve blocked for yourself, effectively causing you to no-show yourself? By clearly defining an integrated set of priorities for work and life and approaching them in the same way, you feel better and can live the life that you want to.
Not doing it all is a simple (not to be confused with easy) recipe: perspective + prioritization + boundaries...with a dash of support
Curious to test the recipe? Let’s get started:
Find Perspective by Zooming Out: Go on up to the balcony and take an honest look at the magnitude of the situation.
Prioritize Your Top Five... Spoiler alert: Your career should only take up three of your top five priorities (at the most!)
Develop Flexible and Realistic Boundaries: When you think of a physical boundary do you envision water? Or a wall?
Build a Support System: Successful people don’t achieve success on their own - neither do you.