The High Achiever’s Recipe for Not Doing It All: Build a Support System
Updated: May 28, 2021
The ingredients in the Not Doing It All recipe ladder up to creating a support system. Most elite performers have support, and a lot of it. NFL elite Russell Wilson recently discussed his “performance team” which he pays $1M per year to support his mind and body for optimum performance. You don’t have to do everything alone, and support doesn’t have to require $1M per year. As you are intentional and mindful about finding what (and who) works for you, build a system and routine that supports you in the manner you need. That could mean exploring options for therapy or coaching (I’ve got you here!), developing your team at work so they can take on more work you delegate, finding a community to exercise with, or outsourcing duties at home.
The most important support? You. It may sound strange to include yourself when building your support system. For too long, the notion of being your own harshest critic has been the high achievers’ badge of honor and a way of “keeping ourselves sharp” or “continually improving.” No more. We know that constant berating is indeed not the path to elite performance. Support and compassion is. Imagine speaking to a child who is learning to walk in the way you speak to yourself when you fail. “You didn’t try hard enough.” “You should have done that differently.” The grace we show children works. “You’re still learning.” “This is new. Go slow.” The notion that you’re missing something, that you’re not enough, is false. The support you really need starts on the inside. Self compassion is a muscle. If this is new for you...go slow. You’re still learning.
Here are a few ways to build your self compassion muscle:
Work on shifting your inner critic’s tone to how you would speak to a child, using kindness. What if your inner critic became your inner coach?
Embrace a growth mindset. Focus on the learning instead of the performative or pass/fail aspects of what you’re doing. The presentation didn’t go as planned? Reflect on what you learned.
Be mindful. Notice how you think and feel without judgement. Observe the thought and feeling and let it be without pushing uncomfortable feelings aside or making too much meaning of anything. And then the hard part--let it go. That presentation didn’t go well. I feel embarrassed.
Not doing it all starts with the realization that you can be successful and do less at the same time. We don’t push our bodies to the brink of exhaustion everyday, so why would we do it to our minds? From one high achiever to another, you can do this. You don’t have to do everything at 100 percent to be everything you want to be.
How are you going to work on not doing it all? Let me know.