By Marcia Reynolds, PsyD
High-achieving women experience the typical stressors—worries related to finances, relationships, health, family, and career. Additionally, if you are a smart, strong, goal-driven woman, you have some unique stressors based on your strengths of confidence, competence and self-sufficiency.
In other words, your greatest strengths are also your greatest weaknesses.
The good news is that if you listen to your self-talk, you can hear the assumptions that slow you down.
See of you can catch yourself thinking these thoughts:
Assumption #1: There is a right answer and it is mine
If you are the best and the one who knows, then you have an answer for every question about things that are important to you. Always being right not only hurts your relationships, your body triggers a ‘fight-response’ when your brain senses disagreement. Can you let some other people be right sometimes too?
Assumption #2: No one can do the work as well as I do
Things will spin out of control or fail if they aren’t done by you. As a result, you overwork, take on too many projects, and resist sharing your work with others. This leaves you stressed, resentful and exhausted. Look for times you can develop someone else by training and delegating. Prioritizing and letting go are essential to your success.
Assumption #3: I am disappointed, again
Whether it’s a job or relationship, you start out excited about the possibilities, then you feel let down. This is due to the unreasonable standards you hold which no job or person can meet in the long run. If you don’t tone down these expectations, you will always focus on what is wrong. Try focusing on what is right and what is possible instead.
Assumption #4: I don’t need help
You are a strong, smart woman so you don’t need anyone to help you succeed. You can figure it out on your own. Unfortunately, this assumption is a horrible waste of your precious time. Letting other people help you is more efficient, it builds relationships, and you look stronger as a leader.
Assumption #5: There is something greater out there for me to do
At some point in your life, you came to believe you could do anything. Unfortunately, many women interpret this to mean, “I must be recognized for being great.” When one goal is reached, you quickly search for the next great thing to conquer. As a result, you may not enjoy your achievements—and your life—as you move on in your endless search for “something more.”
This realization of assumption #5 launched the idea for my research and the exercises in the book, Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction. By increasing awareness of what drives you and then learning how to expand your “selves concept,” you can be more than who you think you are today. This will both accelerate your success and help you feel great in the process.