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High Achiever - Blessing or Curse?

High Achiever - Blessing or Curse?

High Achievers - Blessing or a Curse?

I’m curious about this blog title.

I believe it starts with asking this question;

What does it mean to you to be a high achiever?

You need to define the word ‘achiever’ to yourself.

For me, it looks and feels like this.

It means you have an incredibly strong work ethic.

That you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve in your career and you’ve got the grit and steely determination to go after it, no matter what.

Also, that in the face of adversity, you have the resilience to accept the temporary defeats and failures and nurture yourself, pick yourself up, dust yourself down and keep going.

It’s creating something from nothing, pushing through the barriers, the negative mind chatter, with the aim of getting the job done and achieving the satisfaction that brings.

It’s about knowing that you’ve made a difference to someone’s life, or even the planet.

The dictionary defines the word ‘achiever’ as ‘a person who achieves a high or specified level of success’.

So it becomes about defining how success looks and feels to you as well.

Previous blog post on that here.

So is it a blessing or a curse to be a high achiever?

I believe that depends on the type of person you are and how you were raised.

For me, both parents had a strong work ethic, achieving a lot in their careers.

However, one thing I have realised at the ripe old age of 40, is that I too have a strong work ethic and want to help people, but it’s not going to be at the cost of sacrificing my health or personal life,

I’ve done that before and I learnt the hard way. Nothing is really worth that because without you, there isn’t anything anyway.

Work is about enjoying what you do and getting immense satisfaction from it.

It’s not all a walk in the park, don’t get me wrong, but it’s about recognising when you’re pushing and questioning what for.

Work smart yes, not hard, and the problem with corporate life is that it doesn’t allow you to do that. That’s why working for yourself is the only option to have success on your terms.

You see; I worked too hard for too long, like many of us are doing. I put the hours in but didn’t really rest or look after myself properly. I strived to achieve, to gain success.

All for the wrong reasons. It was someone else’s agenda and I didn’t have the foresight to look and see what it was I was striving for.

I was a responsible and conscientious career woman in a middle management position with a home to run and I wanted to do a good job.

The problem with choosing my career path and living like that was making me ill. I was unhappy and I was only existing in life, not living, and that is no way to be.

For me being a high achiever is a blessing because it means I’m driven and determined enough to achieve success on my own terms.

I still work to achieve my goals but I work when it suits my life and that means life fits around work, not the other way around.

It’s not perfect and it takes time and effort and pre-planning to pull it off, and I don’t manage it seamlessly every week.

When the sun shines, I don’t want to be chained to my desk and laptop - it’s about enjoying and living life when the moment takes you, or indeed, when you consciously wrap your own business around the lifestyle you living intentionally.

5 Characteristics Every Aspiring Entrepreneur Needs

5 characteristics every aspiring entrepreneur needs

If you know you want to work for yourself, the most common reason I hear is not knowing where or how to begin.

I didn’t either in 2013.

I figured it out with help along the way.

I’m still in business thankfully, and I’m sharing some of the characteristics I think you need to create a career of freedom, flexibility and success, by building a business.

Anyone can start a business, but not everyone has what it takes to keep going. Your strength of character is key when it comes to navigating a new path. Some of the characteristics you need are;

1. Passion

You must have this in order to keep trucking!

It’s important to know why you want to do the work. During the darker days you’ll need to recall it and remind yourself why you’re putting yourself through the experience!

Building a business is a rollercoaster with incredible highs and lows and if you’re not fired up about it, it's going to be painful without your passion and your why. 

2. Commitment

In order to succeed on your own terms and in business, it requires commitment and persistence.

Chances are you have already shown commitment in the jobs you’ve held down.

You’ve worked the extra hours, checked the emails out of hours otherwise you felt the pangs of guilt. You've often not taken your lunch and made the sacrifices with your personal life as you feel the burden of responsibility and wanting desperately to catch up.

Times get tough in business, if you want to make it happen, accept that you are required to commit to it like a marriage, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health because these are all factors….on steroids!

You know if you have commitment.

3. Grit & Tenacity

To have grit with your passion requires a characteristic not to dissimilar to a dog with with a bone - you never let go!

You demonstrate the courage to keep going no matter what, with nerves of steel and enough resolve to find the solution to any problem. Being determined to figure it out.

You won’t have all the answers all of the time, but you will always find a solution, even if it isn’t the one you want straight away.

You need patience and flexibility to bend with the unexpected curveballs and if you have grit and tenacity, you will get through it.

4. Resourcefulness

Being able to find solutions to overcome the stickier times is a must. As a business owner, you will be trying to juggle everything to begin with and it will scramble your brain.

You won’t have all the skills or assets you need and you’ll be frustrated a lot of the time.

Make the most of what you have, find answers efficiently and make decisions quickly.

Build your network and call in favours and offer skills swaps or gifts if there is no spare cash.

Life and business has a habit of knocking you sideways occasionally and often things won't happen the way you want it to.

Exercising your resourcefulness muscle enables you to go to your handy toolbox of tricks when the next curveball is hurtling towards you!

5. Persistence

It can take time building a business and persistence is key, along with rock solid self esteem to stay on the path.

It will take longer than you think and if you have self belief, your persistence will pay off. Work on your mind-set everyday and remember number one, your passion and your why.

Success rarely happens overnight, and be sure that you know how success looks to you in the first instance too.

Have you demonstrated any of these characteristics in your career so far? I would say likely.

You will certainly have commitment if you’ve managed to hold down a job for a fair amount of time and scoop up the pay slip every month. Do you get a 'thank you' for your efforts?

Look for the evidence where you’ve demonstrated any of these five traits before if you want to create a career that works with your personal life; one that offers freedom and flexibility.

Start there and believe you do have what it takes to make it happen.

That's where you start - with yourself.

The how will happen when you take action.

Creating your working world and personal life the way you want to shape it requires many characteristics, skills and resources, some of which you will have, some you won’t.

Hire help where you need it and never lose sight of how you envisage living your life.

You can create the life and business you desire. Look at the people who are already doing it, and instead of comparing yourself and falling into the spiral of self doubt, stop and ask yourself what can you learn from them.

Need to define your Own Recipe for Success? Read my article on She is Fierce

Highs & Lows - National Magazine Debut in Psychologies - January 2017

Psychologies Vision Board.jpg

National Magazine Debut in Psychologies - January 2017

Psychologies Magazine

From Vision Board to reality, you can make your dreams come true…

The last image was in my vision notebook in 2016 - I wanted to be featured in Psychologies Magazine as its my favourite magazine and very true to what I believe in. In 2016 I put it on my vision board to make happen. 

So here I am, the first issue of 2017 and I’m so excited to see myself in there — it’s a little surreal though I’ll be honest!

I sometimes have a battle with myself about sharing the highlight reel of my life online, for personal and professional reasons.

A part of me feels it’s showing off saying ‘hey look at me’, but then the other side of my head and heart call out — this is inspiring to people, especially when they want their dreams to come true so badly, yet they can’t see the wood for the trees. 

People can see me as an example of leading and implementing change in my life and reaping the rewards. Because I believe, in fact I know, they can too.

Professionally it’s another battle again — I need to market my business and I am my business so I have to promote myself, but some days that can tougher than others.

What I wanted to say though is that whilst I share a lot of highlights, as most of us do online, there are also a lot of low points in trying to achieve your dreams and make things happen on your own terms. 

I believe in keeping things real. I’m a west country girl who speaks my mind so here’s other side of the highlights!

I’ve had to emotionally, physically and mentally let go of things; remove toxic relationships out of my life with friends and family — yep even family. 

I’ve had to make tough decisions, take risks of all kinds, particularly financial and I’ve chosen to make investments in myself and my business. 

Psychologies Magazine 

There have been sacrifices, sharing my space, missing out on certain events, holidays, and working in isolation. 

Not to mention the emotional rollercoaster of running a business of overwhelm, focus, productivity, learning, tech, pricing, services, creativity, decisions, — seriously the list is endless!

BUT…this is the reality of getting out of your comfort zone and stretching yourself, it gets uncomfortable.

If you want to create a business and life you love, it is not going to be a walk in the park.

Turning your life around from misery to joy is not for the faint hearted.

You have to be strong, connected to your intuition, and have the courage to pursue what you want. You need to be prepared to have difficult conversations with those you love and make decisions that won’t make sense to anyone but you!

People will think you’re mad, and generally speaking the majority of people are not open to change. After all comfy slippers are preferable to 3 inch stiletto’s!

BUT…if your pain is greater than your exciting untold future, it’s a point of shifting your perspective and mindset to believe your new life can happen.

Take me as your inspiration, I have made it happen for me, it’s taken a while, but I have kept taking one step forward and building on that. I have made the decisions that are right for me and no one else. 

I have created freedom and flexibility in my life to work when and where I choose, that allows me to live my life rather than exist in it. I spent far too long doing that previously working for someone else and being a fully paid up member to the people pleaser club!

The road so far has been worth it, every step. I know that may not make sense to you, but I have learnt and grown enormously. I have a great sense of satisfaction and fulfilment because of this journey. 

I have helped clients change their life and there really is no greater reward than witnessing someone transform (in my opinion!)

I’ve invested in myself and got help and support where needed, and I have never never lost sight of what I wanted to achieve. I highly recommend you do the same if you have dreams but have no idea how to achieve them. Find a way and keep taking steps forward.

Keep the faith and believe in dreams coming true — in yourself and a perhaps even a higher being, but it always comes back to the first point of call…


Join my 7 day challenge - Make Your New Life Happen!

What does 'Ambitious' really mean anyway?

I remember asking this question once - there was an array of negative and positive comments; a few shown below:

Women who know their value and don't settle for "meh", she wants to be more and achieve more in her life. 

Women with vision, focused, determined and consistently hard working to make the vision a reality.

Self-led, Self-defined ambition

The dictionary definition says; having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed

So what does it mean for you? For me, it's changed hugely for me over the last few years. 

When I first set on my career path, I knew I loved broadcasting and ever since I started at Bath Hospital Radio at the age of 14, I had the bug! It never left me until I achieved the role I wanted as a Radio Producer, and even ended up being award winning - but that was a bonus!

Through the years, I was striving for more, more, and even more. Climbing the ladder, putting the hours in, achieving a lot in 1 day, making the sacrifices, going the extra mile to be acknowledged for my efforts, and naturally reaping the rewards.

Then I woke up one day and realised the last 20+ years had passed me by in the blink of an eye. Yes I had achieved a great deal, but I had also missed out on living my life and several experiences with friends and family, due to work commitments.

I had always wanted to take the leap into working for myself and eventually found the courage and support to make that reality full time.

I've been off the corporate treadmill now for 3+ years, and have learnt a huge amount, including redefining the word ambition!

Over these three years I've learnt to;

Accept where you are, but take the time to stop and question what it is your striving for exactly. So many of us are striving for x, y, z. Ultimately it's happiness and health - for me at least. What is it for you? Have you got the majority of it already? Do you NEED to achieve what you want by the date set and pressure you are putting on yourself?

Allow your feelings to pass, the good, the bad and the ugly - they all do eventually. Remember feeling good is the whole point to life, but it's not reality. Life throws us curveballs and we have to process them emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically sometimes.

Trust yourself - you have all the answers within you.

If you want to go after something and reach your dreams, is it ambition, is it your dream, do you need to have your foot on the gas and be going flat out at the cost of your health or life? Remember your wellbeing.

Define your own terms of success, ambition, drive, and determination; or the various words you use to describe yourself. Take the time to get to know yourself and what the definitions mean to you; not according to the guidance you've had from society conditioning, bosses, teachers, parents, family, etc. We are always evolving.

After a major transition year, it's really made me evaluate the word ambition and drive, and how I've realised things change and evolve as you do as a person living life.

I would say I'm exactly like the dictionary definition of 'ambitious' - I always have been. The difference now is that I've eased up on the gas to make way for my life that I want to live fully, and that means recalibrating according to my life now.