Challenges of High Achievers – Challenge #2: End up with Competing Commitments

I will do this… I can take this up too! I can do that for you… That’s an easy task for me… Let me do this for you… Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! Does any of this ring a bell for you? A lot of high achievers wake up each morning and convince themselves, “This is fine. I can handle everything myself.”

As high achievers, we often feel our obligation towards duties, schedules, and commitments. By saying yes to pretty much everything is the only way to stay visible. The hard fact is that our ego loves busy work. I think it’s in our DNA to confuse effective work with busy work, topped with never enough time to accomplish it all. As a result, we end up living in an over-amplified and excessively complicated world with commitments that keep competing for our focus, energy, intellect, emotions, and body. Success equates busyness and hard work. As high achievers, we do live in a world where we are pulled in so many different directions. Rich Litvin, the author of The Prosperous Coach, says, “When you are not making happen what you claim to be committed to, it is a clue that there is a stronger, competing commitment to which you are unknowingly committed.”

According to Sara Oblak Speicher, former award-winning international athlete turned coach and now a consultant to successful leaders, these commitments are often linked to someone else’s ‘should.’ One of the hardest things for high-achievers is to slow down and create the much-needed space to re-evaluate their priorities and commitments. One of my coaching clients nailed it when he had an insight that as a high achiever he was always focused on tactical things. He realized that he needed to slow down and allow creativity and imagination to flow to help create a bigger vision for himself.

American executive leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith says, “What’s got you here isn’t going to take you there.” If you keep on doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you’ve always gotten. What that means in our context is that to move to the next level of success and growth, you will need to create a deeper and stronger commitment to yourself to end all your competing commitments and simplify your life. Speicher says “Quantum leaps, exponential growth, sustainable results, and multidimensional success are not about perfection, but simplicity.”

Simplify your outlook and approach to life. Simplify your thoughts and strategies. Simplify your actions. Simplify your commitments. Screenwriter Steven Pressfield once told his scriptwriting students some simple advice for writing a story – Cut everything that is not on-theme!

Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Your new mantra is to “Slow down!” If it’s not a ‘Hell yeah!’ it’s a No!


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