The Hyper-Achiever Saboteur
Being ‘The Best’ Vs Being ‘Your Best’
How leading and winning are not always healthy bedfellows.
How might a hyper-focus on achieving result in you getting in your own way?
It’s a phrase we hear very frequently in schools ….’Do your best’. Indeed, some cultures set this as the standard. As parents we can be compelled to praise and reward our children when they ‘do well’. Certainly, for those in leadership roles, we can so often be judged on impact and ‘our results’.
I wonder how often we consciously, or unconsciously for that matter, actually engage in ‘achievement behaviours’ or even ‘achievement thinking’ in an extreme or excessive way?
How often do we feel the compulsion to do well (or even better than we have previously), to get a result that is quantifiable that enables us to make relative judgements about how well we have done (relative to another person or occasion). After all, if we do not know how well we have done, why bother at all?
Do you ever feel very competitive (even if only with yourself)?
Do you find yourself comparing how well you’ve done, comparing this with how well others have done, or how well you did ‘last time’?
Do you tend to feel a sense of satisfaction or fulfilment based on achievement measures and external validation (rather than an internal sense of agency and self-actualisation)?
Are you goal oriented, to the extent that it can lead you to workaholic tendencies in order to achieve your goal?
Well, if so, it turns out you are not alone. It seems that there are many in leadership who, despite having numerous admirable qualities and well-developed skills, feel an inner compulsion to win, to set the bar high, and are driven to push the boundaries of achievement to new heights.
In leadership we can often feel we need to be that dynamo, to energise and exert an influence on tasks, or interactions. We might call this being ‘highly aspirational’. We do this in a manner that shapes ways of being and doing (and especially outcomes) that are very public. The expression that ‘it is all relative’ is often used in this context – but is it really?
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