I got an email from a coach whose work I mostly really like.
And it was about his top ten favorite high-performance habits.
I had a reaction to this. Not because there is anything wrong with high performance. But because of the cultural narrative, we have built around high performance. The story we have created is that, if you get more done, if you are more productive, if you meet the goal on the other side of them, you will be happy.
I could not disagree more.
How High Performance Gets It Backwards
If you are able to look at the assumptions in the high performance game, they go something like this—
- There is something fundamentally wrong with me.
- I can achieve my way out of it.
In other words, there is some big goal that, if I meet it, I will feel better. Or I will “arrive.”
Maybe it’s a degree, or a job title, or a house in the right place, or a second house in the right place.
I tried to achieve my way into feeling okay about myself for decades.
It doesn’t work.
Because there is always more to do. There is always a goal behind the goal, another mountain to climb or race to run, or another digit to add to the exit.
So when the first goal doesn’t get there, certainly it’s because the goal wasn’t big enough, right?
It took me about 30 years to learn the goal wasn’t the issue.
The Only Thing You Have To See To Be Happy
Meeting a goal will never make you happy (for more than a few fleeting moments, anyway).
Your entire experience of the world is happening inside your brain. Based on what your senses tell you, true, but more important than that, based on the stories you tell yourself about what your senses tell you.
You are living in your stories about the world. And most of them are unconscious.
If you are writing the story, why are you writing it to make yourself miserable?
What Stories Do You Believe About Yourself and Your World?
The coach I’m referring to told me that he had never seen anyone build a million dollar business without a lot of hard work.
But I see it all the time. Enough that I make it a goal for people. To make as much income as you can with as little work as possible.
If you have believed different ideas you are not even going to see this as a possibility.
If your rules require struggle to make money, for example, you are going to struggle to make money.
If your rules require productivity or efficiency or exhaustion, you are not going to let yourself be happy or fulfilled without them. You need to be miserable to be happy.
Each of your rules is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And you can let each of them go.
If you see that you must already be enough (that you can’t NOT be enough) because you are the one creating your experience of being enough, or not enough, you are going to set different goals.
What Do You Really Want?
What do you WANT when you see you don’t actually NEED anything?
When creating can be from a sense of play rather than lack?
What will you create just because it is deliriously FUN to do it?
That’s what the high performance culture says is not possible.
But to me, that’s the place where our capacity to create gets most powerful.
How To Go Deeper
You can be happy without being exhausted.
What would that be like? To fully embrace you and THEN create, rather than thinking you have to create to someone FIX yourself?
This is what I write about. For founders, for original thinkers, at all stages of their journey.
The world needs YOU, in all your brilliance and imperfection.
If you are a founder wanting to scale and sell your company, there are three shifts in identity that can help you do so with twice the impact and half the stress. Take a look at this video.
If you want to build a coaching business where you get to be yourself, help amazing people, and replace your corporate income in the process, here’s a video where I share the top three mistakes I see coaches make when trying to build a sustainable business—
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