Are You Creating Your Own Stress?

Published on November 1, 2011

For all the high-achievers out there who aren’t giving themselves enough credit for their accomplishments. For those who are isolating themselves in the name of a goal. And for those who are trying to become a version of themselves that someone else has designed.

A little over a year ago, I realized a trend in some of the top agents I was coaching. These were highly driven, success oriented, obedient, and talented people, being compelled to fully engage in a training course whereby they were challenged to compete and “win” by following a set of pre-determined rules over a period of time.

In sales professions, there is already a high sense of urgency and a lot of pressure around lead generation, so naturally sales trainings are going to emphasize this activity. Sales race at

The challenge I see with this method is when it is taken to the extreme. There is this intense focus which causes an imbalance in a variety of areas. Depending on the person’s prioritization of values, it can and often is a real problem. It actually causes more harm than good sometimes!

Areas where imbalances often show up:

  • Relationships
  • Health
  • Fun/Creativity/Individuality

As people going too far one direction, they lose sight of (or forsake altogether) their values in other areas of their lives.  In the quest to achieve a goal or ideal, they become resentful, confused, angry, burned-out, isolated, overwhelmed, and generally unhealthy both physically and emotionally.

This ultimately leads to one of two things:

  1. Reverting back to the original way of doing things. Then feeling a sense of failure (even if they accomplished more than anyone else ever had in the process of attempting the goal).
  2. Loss of sense of self. Sabotaging relationships, health, and sense of individuality/freedom in the process (still feeling a sense of failure but not sure why).

Earl Nightingale emphasizes, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.”

Momentum can certainly be created in a 90 day period of time. It will not be the “end all - be all” solution to a life by design, however. It will take multiple attempts and various avenues to become the person one envisions. Success is a life long journey with many fuel stops along the way.
In fact, this full-on 100 yard dash for some high-achievers may be the beginning of the end of all things valued if not approached with discernment and discretion!

Think about it. If you go 100% toward creating 25 new sales and fail to attend to your spouse or partner, what will life look like when you hit the 25th sale? (Ever heard the phrase "It's lonely at the top?")

Or what if you focus on the 25 sales and forget about eating right and exercising?

And what about fun? If for a period of time, say 6, 8, 12 weeks or more, you focus on the end goal of 25 sales and you have zero fun in the process, how will you view your success at #25?

Will it have all been worth it?

Most of us place our individuality pretty high on the priority/value list and yet we somehow find ourselves trying to fit into a mold that just doesn’t suit us. We are like square pegs trying to fit into round holes. So you may hit that 25th sale and look at yourself and say, “Who the heck have I become?”

I often hear people say, “Something inside me is driving this out of control sense to achieve and I am spinning more and more out of balance.”

I have been there too. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the money I made and the new toys acquired. All things that I in fact set out to accomplish in the beginning. Somewhere along the way though, I lost myself.

What I realized is that it wasn’t about “what” I was doing or “who” I was doing it with, it was about ME... the way I approached the goal and ultimately life.

I created my own stress!
My desire to achieve combined with my inability to see the successes in my own life was killing me. This high sense of urgency to GET TO THE GOAL caused me to feel like I was failing if I didn’t hurry up and get there! Not sure where “there” was, but “there” nonetheless. When I wasn't getting there fast enough... I had guilt and frustration!

The lesson in all this as I see it:

BE the person you know in your heart your were created to BE!

DO the things daily that you are passionate about because they will lead to more energy, more money, and more passion!

HAVE those things that matter the most in your life -  Decide what those are FIRST!

Programs are great. Goals are wonderful and help keep us focused. But at the end of the day, it’s not about the program and it’s not about the goal. It’s about being the best version of YOU possible!

Celebrate your successes. Enjoy today. Live your life the way it works best for you! You decide what your life will look like on your terms.

As I was writing this original blog post some time back, this podcast came out. Tom Delong, Harvard Business School professor, published it and it is called “The Hidden Demons of High Achievers.” He was promoting a new book he wrote called, “Flying Without a Net. Turn fear of change into fuel for success.”

Check out the podcast...


Nikki and Chris Buckelew are recognized international real estate coaches, trainers, and speakers. Their specialty is coaching and consulting real estate agents and brokers toward creating highly profitable businesses and amazingly successful lives.  Clients who hire Nikki and Chris are often seeking assistance in increasing their profitability without sacrificing their health, relationships, and core values. For more information go to

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