If You’re a High Achiever, Watch Out For These Sand Traps

Screen Shot 6Why it is that so many smart, ambitious professionals and executives are less productive and satisfied than they should or could be?

As a high achiever, according to The Paradox of Excellence, you’re used to winning and you’re accustomed to turning out remarkable performance.

But what happens when you’re in over your head, or find yourself in hot water with your boss or on a career treadmill that’s going nowhere fast?

That’s when I’m called in, as an executive coach, to get these high achievers back on the success track.

What I have found is that high achievers exhibit three typical behaviors that helped them succeed initially but now can get in the way of their success.

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  1. They are doers.
    Because nobody can do it as well or as quickly as others can, achievers drift into poor delegation or micromanagement. They get so caught up in tasks that other important issues get pushed aside.
  2. They are very competitive.
    Achievers go overboard in their competitive drive; they compare themselves to others. This leads to a chronic sense of not “making it” which can result in overextending themselves and potential burnout.
  3. They are highly motivated.
    No matter how much they accomplish, achievers believe it’s never enough. They want more. When they complete a milestone, they don’t take the time to savor the moment. They push on to another challenge and another.


Which of these behaviors have gotten you into a sand trap or two during your career?

Three Ways to Chip Out of These Sand Traps

1. Be more vulnerable.

Many high achievers are reluctant to acknowledge uncertainty or mistakes. Open yourself up to new learning experiences that make you feel uncertain or even inept. Remember in order to grow professionally you may need to change. Here’s what one high achieving client realized:

“I was the type, who always prepared and planned things. I was encouraged to jump into situations that were new or even a bit threatening to my ego. Looking back – I’m really glad for having listened to that advice. It is not about being unprepared, but being able to navigate on uncertain ground. It’s given me tremendous self-confidence!

2. Work smarter, not harder.

Focus your energy on the ‘important’, not just the ‘urgent’. Don’t hold on to every decision or project. Rather let go, delegate and realize that a strong team will make your leadership stronger.

3. Develop and utilize a support network.

High achievers are very independent. But, everyone needsguidance and different perspectives. Ask people around you what they see as the sand traps you need to get out of? Also ask what skills and experiences they think you need to reach the next level.

Smart Moves Tip

The more you know, the more you need to realize how much you don’t know. There’s always room for improvement. It’s also helpful to keep one’s success in perspective. As the great executive coach Marshall Goldsmith said: “What got you here won’t get you there.”

My Motto Is:
“If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got. Therefore, MOVE outside of your comfort zone; that’s where the MAGIC happens.” To bring that magic to your leadership and business, subscribe to Marcia’s monthly Execubrief: “Business Edge – Smart Growth Strategies” with a insights, inspiration and intelligence on how to build great businesses that matter – those that do well and do good.

What’s Your Success Score?
Are you starting a business; growing a business; selling a business or re-charging a business? Do you have the right stuff to build a highly organized, innovative, productive, and profitable enterprise? How well does your business stack up with other companies? The ManageHub Success Score will tell you!


Marcia Zidle
Marcia Zidle
Marcia Zidle, The Smart Moves Coach, is a national known board certified coach and keynote leadership speaker who guides organizations that are planning, or in the midst of, ambitious growth and change. As a career strategist, she works with professionals, managers and executives who want to build • shape • brand • change • vitalize their careers. She’s been selected by LinkedIn’s ProFinder as one of the best coaches for 2016!Her clients range from private owned businesses to mid-market companies to professional service firms to NGO’s. With 25 years of management, business consulting and international experience, she brings an expertise in executive and team leadership; employee engagement and innovation; personal and organization change; career building and development; emotional and social intelligence. Your Future Starts Now With Marcia!

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