High-achieving professionals can include executives, physicians, attorneys, professional athletes, and many other professionals that constantly strive for excellence in their work. This group of people consistently aim to deliver high standards of services in their respective industries. It’s not hard to image that this group of people is faced with several challenges despite the outward appearance of success and markers of achievement.

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Being a high-achiever isn’t just about what meets the eye; it’s about living a fulfilling life inside and out. In a world where social media showcases one’s highlight reels, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison. Often times, high-achieving professionals display similar traits such as commitment, dedication, and the ability to execute complex problem-solving. But true success goes beyond the surface. Here are 3 challenges often faced by high-achieving professionals and strategies to overcome these obstacles:

1. Achieving a work-life balance

Dr. Brook Choulet is a concierge psychiatrist located in Scottsdale.

a. Challenge: As leaders in their company or profession, or as athletes in professional sporting leagues, it’s incredibly difficult to strike a good work-life balance. There is often this underlying feeling that you need to always be working or hustling to achieve more, which can ultimately lead to the sense that the bar is always moving higher. It’s very common for high-achieving  professionals to feel like they’re always chasing the next goal, rather than being able to enjoy and appreciate their achievements. 

b. Strategy: There are a few ways to tackle this challenge. An effective strategy is discrete time management tools. It can be helpful to schedule personal time into your day, just like you would for meetings or sports practices and competitions. In addition, being able to delegate tasks to decrease your daily responsibilities can help you towards the goal of striking a better work-life balance. Lastly, it’s critical to establish good boundaries between your personal and professional life, as it’s easy for high-achieving professionals, in the pursuit of professional success, to led work bleed into their home life.

2. Perfectionistic tendencies

a. Challenge: Often, high-achieving professionals have gotten to where they are in their careers because of their attention to detail and ability to execute pending tasks. The desire to want each thing you do to be exceptional can ultimately lead to stress, anxiety, and the fear of failure if it’s not done perfectly.

b. Strategy: To overcome this challenge, it’s important to adopt a growth mindset, focused on progress rather than perfection. By practicing self-compassion, you will realize that you can continue to perform at a high level without the self-inflicted pressure to be perfect.  

3. Managing stress and pressure

a. Challenge: As a CEO of a company of with hundreds of employees, a doctor treating patients, or as an athlete playing competitively in a professional sporting league, there is constant stress and pressure from many people around you. Everyone performing at a high level has some degree of intense pressure and expectation; however, it is imperative to respond effectively in a way that allows you to be able to execute the tasks at hand and continue to lead effectively. Without being able to appropriately cope with these challenges, one may end up chronically stressed, and fatigued, ultimately increasing the risk of experiencing burnout.

b. Strategy: In order to be a high-achieving professional that continues to excel personally and professionally in the face of stress, it’s crucial to develop stress management techniques and embrace self-care. Strategies to achieve this can include meditation, exercise, deep breathing, or scheduling social activities. Figure out how you like to reset and bring joy into your life. You have to be able to prioritize yourself and your mental health in order to be an effective leader to others, whether it be personally or professionally. Lean into your network of friends and family or seek professional help from a psychiatrist. Stay consistent and accountable to yourself.

External success does not reflect internal well-being. It’s crucial for high-achieving professionals to achieve inner well-being in addition to their external accomplishments, ultimately creating well-rounded success.

This article is brought to you in collaboration with Scottsdale Professionals Collective.

Author: Brook Choulet, M.D., Concierge Psychiatrist, is founder of Choulet Wellness: Scottsdale Concierge Psychiatry & Therapy, and co-founder of Scottsdale Professionals Collective.