A Personal Letter to My High Achieving Friend
Dear High Achiever,
How are you doing? With so much going on, you’ve come to mind. I hope you’re well. This letter is to check in because I know you. I know your standards are super high, you love a good challenge, and you’re happiest when you are taking on increasingly more complex goals.
How is that working for you now? Still in the midst of a pandemic, balancing working remotely, children’s schooling, and trying to figure out what to do with the kids for the summer. It’s a lot to handle. Summer usually signals vacations, visiting family, friends, and traveling to one of your favorite destinations. But with social distancing, all of that seems more complicated, right?
And how is work? Has your work increased ten-fold or are you concerned about job security because the work is virtually non-existent? Either way, I thought I’d check on you because I know you. I know you have an insatiable appetite to achieve, so if the work keeps coming, you will keep striving. You are known to work tirelessly in pursuit of your goals and will give intense energy over long periods of time to accomplish what you set out to do. Usually that’s a strength of yours, but you know what strengths overplayed are, right? They can become your weakness. Working non-stop is a recipe for burnout. That’s why I’m writing. I care about you. And if the work is too slow, I know you are not happy with that either. You get impatient with anything that resembles stagnation and particularly if you fear job loss.
As your friend, I want to encourage you to remember these four things to help you during this time when nothing seems normal. Using your same high achiever qualities, you can not only survive during this time, you can thrive.
- You are a lifelong learner. Use this time to learn a new skill or hobby – something you enjoy that will nourish your desire for self-improvement.
- You are intrinsically motivated. In fact your internal drive for action is more gratifying. Schedule time for those things that bring personal fulfillment. Perhaps enjoying a day with family, contributing in some way to a worthy cause, reflecting on your importance to your work team or customers, and anything else that is meaningful to you.
- You are a problem-solver. It’s a great quality to have in uncertain times. You can lead your work team in creating new and different ways to work more efficiently and effectively in this new environment.
- You are disciplined. Your organizational and time management skills are among your greatest strengths. Review your daily routine and create some healthy habits to start and end your day, prioritize and set realistic goals each day. Remember to include exercise and eating nutritious meals.
Before I go, I have to share this too. None of us could have predicted the seismic toll this pandemic would have on our lives. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s totally understandable. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me or take advantage of other resources that can support you. I’m here for you. There’s something I do when I am feeling stressed, worried, or overcome by the weight of a situation. I learned it from my Stoic friends. It’s called the Dichotomy of Control. Maybe it will help you too. The Stoic Dichotomy of Control simply asserts that “some things are within our power, while others are not.” (Epictetus).
When you encounter a situation that overwhelms you, make a list of the things you can control and the things that are not within your control. Then channel all your energy toward the things you can control. It seems simple enough to do, yes, and it will do wonders to alleviate stress. What you’ll find is that much of what worries you is not within your control. Coming to that realization can feel like a weight is being lifted off you. Trust me. I do this exercise often. I believe in it so much, here are two articles for you to read: The Stoic Dichotomy of Control and Stoicism for Happiness: The Dichotomy of Control. They both explain the exercise and show you how it’s done. I know you’ll get a lot from learning and practicing the Dichotomy of Control.
Well, my high achieving friend, that’s it for now. I wanted to write and let you know I’m thinking of you because I know you, and I can imagine what you’re going through. I know because you and I are one in the same.
Take good care. Be well.
To read more about high achievers, check out my article, 10 Signs of a High Achiever.
If you’d like to learn more, go to my website, Your Aha! Life. You’ll find articles, links to my podcast, my private Facebook group, The Aha! Community, and other resources. I encourage you to subscribe to my monthly newsletter and receive your free gift. You can now find me on Instagram @tonya.yourahalife and on my new YouTube Channel at Tonya Harris Cornileus.