If my business had a muse, it would be Louisa in Encanto 🏋♀️
I watched the movie again with my kids the other day. The lyrics really speak to my mission of helping high achievers perform sustainably.
❓❓ What would you say to Louisa, to the ‘Louisas’ in your team, to yourself if you identify?
“I’m the strong one, I’m not nervous
I’m as tough as the crust of the Earth is
I move mountains, I move churches
And I glow, ’cause I know what my worth is
I don’t ask how hard the work is
I take what I’m handed, I break what’s demanded…
Under the surface, I’m pretty sure I’m worthless if I can’t be of service
Under the surface, I hide my nerves and it worsens
It’s pressure like a drip, drip, drip that’ll never stop, whoa
Pressure that’ll tip, tip, tip ’til you just go pop, whoa, oh, oh
Watch as she buckles and bends but never breaks, no mistakes
Who am I if I can’t run with the ball?
Who am I if I can’t carry it all?”
We’ve come the end in our series Achievement patterns and strategies with the Comparer.
The Comparer lives by the words: ‘The grass is always greener… ’.
Comparison is nothing new. In 1954 Festinger came up with the social comparison theory. At the core of his theory is the idea that people come to know about themselves—their own abilities, successes, and personality—by comparing themselves with others. It’s central to our need for acceptance and belonging.
But the Comparer archetype takes this behaviour to the extremes. Comparers have a clear view of what life should be like and constantly compare themselves to others. They make sure their Instagram feeds are perfectly color coded and are at risk of being addicted to social media.
As a Comparer you also want to be perfect IRL and try to say clever things, be helpful and serve the right food at dinner parties. If people around you are unwell you risk missing the signs and often don’t observe your own signals of stress either.
Drivers and Fears:
Fear of being abandoned
Fear of rejection
How to overcome:
Do a Social media detox – really! Here are a few tips:
a) Give your digital devices a bedtime.b) Start a new morning habit.c) Delete your social media apps.
d) Replace social media time with a new hobby or activity.
e) Break the habit of reaching for your phone.
f) Use technology for reasons other than scrolling social media.
g) Pay attention to the media you consume.
h) Spend more time observing the world around you.
i) Track your progress.
j) Set yourself reminders to not check social media.
2. Learn to spot the bottom of the iceberg. When you find yourself comparing, turn the tables around and ask yourself what the other person might admire in you. We can never really understand someone else’s reality, struggles and insecurities just as they might not have all your strengths in sight.3. Practice Meditation
Ok, so those were the 6 (over)achievement archetypes.
I use this model a lot in my coaching practice and it’s central to the Achievement Detox program. Often clients tell me that they can relate to several archetypes but when looking into the driver and fears it often becomes clear which overachievement strategy they use the most.
And that’s where we focus in with behavioural experiments.
Because as with all behavioural change, we need to work through the 3As:
First we need to be AWARE of our behaviours and cognitions
Then we need to ACCEPT the situation
But nothing will change unless we ACT – we need to try and evaluate new strategies and slowly build new behaviours.
I hope you have enjoyed the series. If you would like more information or would like to work with me as a coach, please Get in touch
This is probably the achiever archetype I identify the most with. People who are Constant Achievers (and I at times) live by the motto:
‘You can rest when you’re dead’.
The constant achiever is a multi-tasker who always juggles several big projects. If you identify as a constant achiever work is always on your mind and you are likely checking emails around the clock.
In your spare time, you renovate your apartment, take a language course or prepare for a marathon (yep, yep and yep)
Everything you do has a purpose and a goal. Your to-do list is your comfort blanket and you likely to most things in life very quickly. As a consequence the constant achiever is rarely in the moment and at high risk of burnout.
Drivers and Fears:
Achievement as a safe zone.
Addiction to the ‘high’ of achievement.
It is uncomfortable to take it easy, laziness is frowned upon.
Fear of stopping development.
How to overcome:
Get clear on the negative consequences of constantly achieving. List what it does to your health, relationships, and results.
Practice self compassion. Start with: Avoid saying and thinking judgmental things about yourself, spend time doing things you enjoy, Letting go of external validation.
Behavioral Experiments: This part was central to the ‘achievement detox’ I did a few years ago to limit the damage my achievement addiction. I embarked on a 1 year experiment during which I took on a very junior role at work and banned all achievement focus from my life. It was an eyeopener but also a very painful experience. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy we instead recommend smaller experiments such as:
Post on LinkedIn and stop yourself from checking the results for 24 hours 😉.
Have a dinner party without meticulously preparing the food.
Swim on the slowest lane and allow yourself to be overtaken by everyone
Yep, have tried all three and for a Constant Achiever, it’s hard work and something we need to keep practicing.
Motto: ‘Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing’.
This achievement strategy is about doing everything to perfection, keeping your promise and never ever handing anything in half-baked. Perfectionists often respond to emails immediately so no one has to wait and tend to compensate for the shortcomings of others.
These overachievers scan the reactions of others to pick up any signs of irritation or disappointment so they can figure out a way to correct it. They have a clear view of what life should be like and how we should behave as individuals.
Just like their overachiever cousins – the Comparison Junkies – the Perfectionists keep track of everyone on social media and compare themselves all the time. On a bad day they can spend 60 minutes writing and rewriting a two-sentence email. Chronic procrastination could be the result of perfectionism.
Drivers and Fears:
Fear of failure
Fear others upsetting others
If I make a mistake, it will lead to a catastrophe
I am the reason others feel bad
If I do everything right I am accepted/loved
How to overcome it?
Practice realistic thinking. Because perfectionists are often very critical of themselves, one of the most effective ways to overcome perfectionism is to replace self-critical thoughts with more realistic and helpful statements. Some examples of positive realistic statements: Everyone makes mistakes! Nobody is perfect!, All I can do is my best!
Changing perspective: Perfectionists tend to have a hard time seeing things from another person’s point of view. Start by asking yourself: How might someone else (e.g. a close friend) view this situation? What might I tell a close friend who was having similar thoughts?
Exposure: Having a problem with perfectionism is a lot like having a “phobia” of making mistakes or being imperfect – you get paralyzed by the thought of making mistakes. Exposure is an effective method to overcome your perfectionism, here are some examples of simple exposure practice:
Show up for an appointment 15 minutes late.
Tell people when you are tired (or other feelings that you consider a weakness).
Wear a piece of clothing that has a visible stain on it.
Lose your train of thought during a presentation.
Try a new restaurant without first researching how good it is.
If your perfectionism or other overachiever strategies hold you back and you would like to develop heathier behaviors and strategies – book a free consultation with me and we’ll take it from there.
PS: My own exposure practice while writing this post was to only read through once before publishing 🙂
Next up on the series of overachiever archetypes: The Controller.