By Jarrette Wright-Booker LPC, CAADC
You probably clicked on this article hoping to add a couple of tips to your quest for a success tool bag. Well, this ain’t it! This is the article for individuals struggling with the other side of being a high achiever. You know, the stressful side that may include: overthinking, self doubt, inflexibility, loneliness or feelings of emptiness. This article is meant to challenge your idea of success and hopefully bring understanding to how those ideas have been influenced by cultural and societal messaging.
Are you exhausted of living up to high expectations?
If you’re sitting at the opposite end of the “success” journey and finding yourself exhausted and dissatisfied, it’s also quite possible that you have encountered a lingering feeling of betrayal. Perhaps, you’ve allowed success to be defined for you by your parents, TV, friends, school, books…the list is endless. If you did, you were probably expecting a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that would ensure some level of permanent joy. And yet here you are looking around and asking yourself “Is this it? There must be more”. If that sounds like you, you are in the right place. Our therapists provide therapy for high achievers in Detroit, MI, and understand what you’re dealing with.
Let’s talk about the construct of success. Yes, I said it – construct.
According to Webster’s dictionary, a construct is a product of ideology, history, or social circumstances. This means that as a group, we’ve involuntarily agreed that the achievement means that certain things equal “success”. These things usually include:
- a high level of education
- a high-powered/income-based career
- luxury car
- large house in a highly desirable neighborhood
- high end clothes and bags
- access to powerful networks
Based on this list in totality means that a person is successful if they check off all the items. Seems easy, right? Well, we all know that’s wrong. Think about all the time that you invest to achieve all those items on the list. Many of us were about ten years old when we last enjoyed a full, boring summer. This means we’ve likely been working toward this construct of success for a pretty long time. And somewhere along the way, the art of rest and balance disappear. For some of us, rest and balance may have never existed. Developing the art of rest and balance is a tenet we explore in therapy for high achievers and young adults in Detroit, MI.
Let’s be Honest…
Do you find yourself wanting art of rest and balance back? Time, leisure, joy, fulfillment, the ability to create and use your time freely? Is that success? Is that freedom? Freedom from oppressive ideas that keep us trapped in a vicious cycle of work to prove that we are valuable, productive, and successful humans? Perhaps, you’re looking for ways to begin to redefine success?
Traps that High Achievers and Young Adults Fall Into
Here’s a list of some traps that keep us from being free enough to begin defining or redefining success:
The mounting obligation trap
How much of your day/time centers around “shoulds” and “musts”. Do you find you are often doing the things that you WANT to do, spending time the way you’d like to spend it? How many of your obligations are defined by someone other than yourself? I’m not talking about your employer, I’m talking about society and culture. If you’re in a place where you’re feeling like you can’t say NO. Or, have little time for yourself. And, you have completely lost yourself in a pile of obligations, ask yourself what needs to change.
The self-esteem trap
For those of us ranking being productivity and success with our human value, this is for you. Do you find it difficult to relax? This may be because you can’t give yourself permission to do so without completing a mountain of tasks. Likely, your self-worth is based on your ability to perform. Additionally, your nervous system is likely all out of wack. So you may find yourself feeling edgy, irritable or experiencing pains and aches. What’s worse is that you can’t seem to find the words to extend compassion and understanding. This reduces your ability to permit relaxation. How would relaxing – truly relaxing – improve your quality of life?
The unrealistic expectation trap.
Do you hold yourself to high standards and unreachable expectations? Do you struggle to accept any outcome other than the one you’ve made yourself most comfortable with? Are you finding yourself dissatisfied and unfulfilled despite devoting your time and energy to checking of all of the boxes for success? It’s time to practice openness and flexibility. This can give you some relief. It may be challenging in the beginning because it’s the antithesis of perfectionism. Soon you will find that the discomfort of not controlling for every outcome becomes more tolerable and eventually more fulfilling.
These are just a few of the most notable trappings of the construct of success. If you found yourself on that list and you’re ready to try something new, now is a great time to start.
Check out these tips we use in therapy for high achievers:
•Practice letting go of others’ ideas and expectations. Work toward uncovering your own.
•Practice being flexible and open with outcomes
•Observe and notice your experience. What’s working, what’s not working? How is it showing up in your body?
•Be curious about how your responses (your thoughts AND actions) are helpful to the life experience you want for yourself
Begin Therapy for High Achievers in Detroit, MI if you Need Help Overcoming These Traps!
I hope these tips help you with your journey toward defining success for yourself. Know that no matter where you end up or find yourself, there are always new possibilities. You just have to allow yourself to be open to them. If you’re struggling to do this, therapy can help you discover yourself, find balance, and live out your life with more direction and peace. Our Detroit, MI counseling practices have caring therapists who specialize in therapy for high achievers and professionals. I am truly ready to meet you where you are at. To start your counseling journey, follow these simple steps:
- Contact Introspective Counseling
- Meet with one of our empathetic therapists
- Begin escaping these traps and begin living with balance!
Additional Services Offered at Introspective Counseling
At introspective Counseling, we provide more than therapy for high achievers and professionals. Additionally, we work with women to address these issues. And we provide screening and assessment for other mood and mental health issues including postpartum depression, anxiety and perfectionism, depression, bipolar disorder and trauma, marriage counseling and couples therapy, grief counseling, therapy for moms, life transitions, online therapy in Michigan, EMDR Therapy, and services for entrepreneurs and professionals. Additionally, we offer therapy for men as we know that seeking support is not easy. If you need help, we are confident that our skills and expertise can help you discover and achieve the life that you want for yourself. We would be honored to join you on your journey to wellness. Begin therapy with us today!