Picture of a businessman plugging tug of war with another version of himself dressed in casual clothing. Title slider for fulfillment and Work-Life Integration.

Work-Life Integration for High Achievers

High Achievers Success Characteristics that Impact Work-Life Integration

♦  High Achievers are growth-minded. They are rarely stagnant, which makes predicting work-life demands difficult.

♦  High Achievers desire excellence. Thus, they try to achieve optimal functioning and optimal engagement ratios.

♦  High Achievers DO achieve much more than the average population, so they don’t have a clear metric or comparison for what level of execution is “reasonable.”

♦  High Achievers continuously iterate their own value systems and perspectives, such that their priorities change often.

  High Achievers want to help others and this generosity often comes at their own expense.

  Many High Achievers have been taught to put everyone else first. The resulting sense of burnout makes it impossible to feel any sense of fulfillment or success with Work-Life Integration.

High Achievers want to “win” at work-life integration. The problem is that the “game” is different for each person. High Achievers have a lot in common as a group, but as individuals, they all differ in what they value and what makes them feel successful. Further, even if it were possible to divide time and attention into a beautiful pie chart, the pie chart would necessarily change as variables are added or removed.

Hence, Work-Life Integration is more about ensuring that one has the time for the purpose and activities that bring them purpose and peace. These decisions are generally not made from a pie chart, but come from deep within.

One of the confusing elements is that making decisions about how to use one’s time and energy MAY NOT ALIGN with the desires and values of others. Further, people may find themselves turning down good causes they care about to have the time for their top priorities. For example, one may care deeply about community, but volunteering doesn’t make the top 10 list of priorities.

"Dr. Tricia, for your next book, could you write about how to get this whole balancing act right?"

There is no getting it “right.” Deep inside, everyone knows that. However, there are tactics that can provide guardrails to deal with the perpetual sense of unease and keep imbalances in check.


Guardrails for Work-Life Integration

1. Make a list of 4-6 life categories that are important to you. At the beginning of each week, list 2-3 things you want to accomplish in each category. Your categories may vary from week to week.

If you consistently find yourself hitting all the goals in one category and ignoring another, you’ll need to do a deep dive to determine if that category is a “want” or a “should.” If it is a “should,” you are adding someone else’s values to your own life assessment. You will never measure up because the yardstick feels inauthentic to what you truly want. If it is a “want” originating from what you cherish for your life, figure out why you are consistently subverting its value in exchange for other obligations.

2. Write a paragraph about what makes you feel successful as a human being. If High Achievers excel in daily life but do not attend to what is most meaningful to them, they will always feel like failures. The facets that make one feel successful as a human being increase fulfillment. However, the activities associated with personal success are often not overtly rewarded or punished and, thus, easily deprioritized. For this reason, High Achievers can be very busy and never fulfilled.

3. Complete the Fuels and Drains Chart. Ensure a positive balance of the energy going out and coming in.