I used to be a high-achiever.
When it came to school, it was straight A’s. On the job, I was the top performer. Give me a challenge and I’d ace it. I ended up overwhelmed and burnt out. My relentless achievement fixation was hurting me.
If you’re a high-achiever, you’re driven to attain your goals.
If you don’t consider yourself a “high achiever,” you’ve probably judged yourself by comparison.
The Hidden Demons of Achievement
Being a high-achiever is a blessing; but it comes at a cost.
Rather than fall prey to the temptation for constant achievement that’s idealized by society, let’s explore the practices of those I call “heart-achievers.”
“Heart-achievers” are high-achievers who temper their drive with patience to create both external results and long-term fulfillment.
Here Are 10 Practices of High-Achievers with Heart:
Focus on a Clear Vision (with Flexibility)
High-achievers create a clear vision, specific goals, and go for them with everything they’ve got.
They write down their goals, track results, and revisit them regularly.
Heart-achievers know that there is much they don’t know. While their vision may take them in one direction today, they choose a target and adjust as they go.
Relentless Drive (with Self-Acceptance)
High-achievers don’t accept no for an answer. They push themselves and bulldoze past any obstacles.
The downside of this ambition is being incredibly hard on themselves. High-achievers often engage in negative self-talk and experience guilt for not working hard enough.
Heart-achievers soften their drive with self-acceptance. They cultivate compassion and love for themselves, regardless of results, to achieve great things without sacrificing their health and relationships.
Consistent Action (with Intuition)
High-achievers take a “Ready – Fire – Aim” approach to life. They act first, evaluate results and then adjust. However, when things don’t go their way, they often become impatient.
Heart-achievers take small, actionable steps each day. Rather than pushing themselves down a fixed path, the action of heart achievers is guided by intuition, not merely a drive to win.
Disciplined Routine (with Awareness)
High-achievers cultivate disciplined habits that allow them to maintain high levels of focus and productivity. Sometimes this causes high achievers to stick with a routine that isn’t serving them.
Heart-achievers recognize that discipline is only truly effective when it’s aligned with purpose and wellness. Their intuition informs them when a habit needs to be changed or even abandoned entirely.
Rest and Recovery (As Needed)
High-achievers push themselves to the limit and have paid the price of burnout. As a result, they’ve learned to incorporate periods of rest and recovery into their routine for sustained productivity.
Heart-achievers acknowledge that there are times when “unreasonable” rest is required. Embracing their long-term health with naps and additional time off has a profound impact on their ability to achieve.
A Positive Attitude
High-achievers are empowered to make choices and create what they desire. They know they can do it and commit to getting it done.
They cultivate positivity with habits and practices such as maintaining a gratitude journal (The Five-Minute Journal is a simple way to start) or engaging in random acts of kindness towards strangers.
Practice (with Patience)
High-achievers practice with a willingness to fail, get back up, and do it again. They understand that improvement only comes with practice.
Heart-achievers add a healthy dose of patience. Rather than demanding perfection, they practice self-compassion and patience with themselves.
Continual Learning (with Inner Wisdom)
High-achievers have a habit of reading, studying, listening to podcasts and audible books. They approach life with a thirst to know more.
While this fosters continuous improvement, it can also create an endless search for more that leads to feeling unfulfilled.
Heart-achievers recognize that the most powerful learning comes from within. Rather than depending upon external sources or the next “shiny object,” they listen to their intuition about what information is relevant for them in the moment.
Risk-Taking (with Balance)
High-achievers are willing to fail. They’re comfortable with discomfort and know that mistakes are necessary for progress.
Sometimes, the need for discomfort can cause high-achievers to create problems just for the pleasure of solving them!
Heart-achievers know that the most rewarding risk is following their inner knowing.
High-achievers trust their ability to get things done. When that ability fails, they get up and try again, pushing themselves to achieve.
Heart-achievers trust their inner knowing. They trust that they’ll know what to do when the time is right, and not before, and rest in this knowing.
The Real Secret of Success
“But we stupid mortals, or most of us, are always in haste to reach somewhere else, forgetting that the zest is in the journey and not in the destination.”– Ralph D. Paine
Achievement is often defined as completing something successfully with courage, effort, and skill. You get the results you set out to attain with consistent action.
Yet, the endless drive for more is a hungry beast that will never be satisfied. There is a missing ingredient for success that’s ignored by many high-achievers
The path towards lasting fulfillment and happiness is showing up fully present; greeting each experience with acceptance.
Heart-achievement isn’t as much about achievement as it is the willingness to enjoy the ride.
Do you consider yourself a “high-achiever?” Leave a comment below and tell us about it!