I am an ambitious high-achiever. I like to be competitive and be the best in the game. I have a lot of achievements under my belt. I keep changing my goal-posts every time I achieve one. It was all good so far as others look-up to me as a role model of success. But over years, I seem to be the un-fulfilled one. Nothing seems to satisfy me. There is always something else that needs to be achieved to fill my void. I sometimes feel I am missing out on living the life I am creating and burning out everyday. How can I balance my hyper-achiever tendency with living life fully? ~ Sales Director, Tech
Our society values achievement. So it's not surprising that many of us run after achievements.
We are part of a perennial rat-race that never ends. We are an unconscious participant in the race.
It looks like we are winning till one day we realise we are running in circles. We might have lost years reaching this point.
Then the realisation dawns that may be something can be different.
People who value achievement, competition, urgency are usually called a "Type A" personality type. They are the hustlers of the world. They are called workaholics by many. Some are perceived as aggressive. They are generally impatient.
The flip side to self because of having a 'Type A' personality is burn-out and loss of "living" within life.
Some Type As also have health issues like anxiety, BP etc and need attention to their body and mind.
When either of them strike, there is always a revelation. The search for "balance" begins.
If you are a Type A, what can you to achieve a sense of balance?
Attention to parasympathetic nervous system ( Rest & Digest )
The Sympathetic nervous system (SNS) helps us be alert for impending action. It is also responsible for flight and fight response.
The Parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) is the offset that brings balance in the body. This system helps in rest, digestion and rejuvenation.
When these two systems operate in balance in the body, homeostasis/ equilibrium is maintained.
In Type A personalities, the sympathetic nervous system is on an over-drive and hence it results in a feeling of depletion and burn-out.
Its like leaving a stretched rubber-band as it is without bringing it back to the original state after some time. It loses its elasticity.
One of the easiest actions one could take if you are a Type A is to pay conscious attention to activities that enable the PSNS - sleep, digestion, winding-down etc.
This means having a routine and sticking to it.It also means attaching importance to tasks that seemingly do not directly lead to an outcome.
A tree's strength comes from its root. It is the strongest when the roots are widespread and go deep. Then it can with stand any storm.
Similarly, grounding helps us remain stable.
Choose a grounding activity that suits you and do it morning and before you sleep. It can just be walking in the grass, prayer, meditation, walk in the park, music etc. When you do that, remember to keep your feet on the ground. Mother Earth supports our grounding.
3. Sounding board
Pick a mentor who is not like you who can help you not over do things. They should have permission to tell you directly if you are over-doing your activities for a goal post.
When in doubt always have a conversation.
4. Celebrate the small moments:
Enjoy yourself when you do small actions towards your betterment. Enjoy a day off with your family for no reason.
Take interest in other's achievements. Encourage others.
Share your skills to those who cannot afford your time.
How would you like to celebrate your life?