June 8, 2023

Why Do High Performers Seek Therapy?

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High performers are typically driven, goal-orientated strategic thinkers. They work hard and are known for consistently producing superior results in their chosen field. Over 40 million US adults have an anxiety disorder, and high performers are no exception. No matter how successful or driven you are, anyone can struggle with depression, anxiety, and mental health issues. So, why do high performers seek therapy? Let’s find out. 

What Defines A High Performer?

When talking about high performers, you’re typically referring to an individual with the following attributes: 

  • Highly skilled 
  • Passionate and confident 
  • Proactive 
  • High standards of work 
  • Consistent
  • Visionary 
  • Disciplined 
  • Motivated 
  • Output-focused

5 Reasons High Performers Seek Therapy 

For the same reason high-achievers are incredibly good at their jobs; they are also at risk of developing poor mental health. High performers are generally driven to succeed in all areas of life, such as relationships, hobbies, and careers. 

  1. Pressure To ‘Stay On Top’

Some studies show that 10% of productivity in companies comes from the top 1% of employees. That’s equivalent to the top people producing four times the output as an average employee. Top performers deliver results consistently, and with that comes pressure to stay ahead and on top form, no matter what. 

Other research shows that there is a ‘social penalty’ for being the best, with co-workers more likely to punish high performers. Interestingly, the results showed that star performers were undermined if resources were limited, and co-workers felt threatened. But, if resources were shared and peers benefitted, co-workers socially supported high performers. 

  1. Perfectionism 

Many high performers tend to be perfectionists and hate it when something doesn’t go as planned. While being a perfectionist sounds like something you should discuss in a job interview, it’s not always positive. Perfectionism has pros and cons. Perfectionists strive to be excellent and usually are self-motivated. But they are also more likely to impose strict standards on themselves and follow the idea that if something isn’t perfect, then it’s a failure. Some studies also found that perfectionism is associated with higher levels of anxiety, burnout, and stress. Many high performers tend to be perfectionists and hate it when something doesn’t go as planned. 

  1. Self-Doubt And Imposter Syndrome 

Imposter syndrome means that you feel like you’re a fraud or you don’t have the ability to perform. Despite being highly skilled in an area with experience, imposter syndrome makes you question whether you deserve to be there and can cause feelings of anxiety. A leadership survey found that the biggest fear for CEOs was imposter syndrome. The fear of not being good enough despite having the skills slowly chips away at your confidence. 

  1. High Risk Of Burnout 

Burnout is a point of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that is caused by prolonged stress. When you experience excess stress for a long time, whether it’s in a role at work or in your personal life, it can make you feel unable to cope and tired. One survey found that 61% of people are experiencing burnout at work.

Workplace mental health platform Modern Health found that burnout is rising for top performers, leading to quiet quitting. The report on Employee Mental Health in an Uncertain World shows that 53% of high performers were experiencing burnout. Interestingly, whether they would stay with a company was dependent on workplace culture, benefits, compensation, and work/life balance. 

  1. Difficult To Recognize They Need Help 

Mental health looks different for everyone. Someone can be experiencing mental health issues, and the rest of the world has no idea. That person can remain productive and perform at a high level. High performers typically take on more work, and their workload can become unmanageable, increasing the risk of burnout. At the same time, it’s difficult for high performers to recognize that they may need help in the first place. 

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How Can Therapy Benefit High Performers

Top performers sustain output at a high level with a lot of pressure. They tend to take on complex tasks and are more likely to focus on work instead of spending time with friends and families. 

One study of more than 200,000 employees found that high performers care the most about accessing stress management resources. They need support to manage stress levels, maintain high output, and push themselves far without risking burnout. Mental well-being should be a priority for high performers in the workplace and personally. 

A high-performance life can be intense but exciting. They often excel in most areas of life, but there can be silent struggles of anxiety that the outside world may be unaware of. Perfectionist tendencies, imposter syndrome, and excessive stress can result in burnout, confidence issues, and a lack of boundaries. 

Working in an environment that prioritizes mental well-being is key. Following the pandemic, more and more companies understand just how important it is to care for the mental health of their employees, not only for individual health but for company productivity and output. Whether you work for a company or are building your own, access to stress management resources and mental health support is crucial. 

Embracing The Power Of Therapy To Enhance Performance And Productivity 

You can perform well with great productivity and feel good. It’s possible to have healthy boundaries and a positive work/life balance. But if you’re feeling disconnected in your relationships, struggling to remain present, or experiencing burnout, therapy can be useful to overcome challenges and keep moving forward. 

It can be tough to navigate success in life. Sometimes, it feels like it’s not what you imagined, or perhaps you’re not hitting your goals. Therapy for high achievers can focus on managing perfectionism, overcoming imposter syndrome, reducing stress, and lowering the risk of burnout. 

Goal setting in therapy can help you set healthy boundaries for work and life to find the right balance for you. This could be learning to cope with anxiety or managing your physical wellness in a positive way. By focusing on your mental well-being, you can help to maintain motivation and drive to continue to succeed. 

With great success comes a lot of responsibility and pressure. High performers typically strive for perfection, and they put pressure on themselves to achieve it. Learn to identify your barriers to peak performance and find the support you need to deal with the challenges of everyday life. To reach peak performance, you can work on a range of skills:

  • Mental resilience 
  • Positive attitude 
  • Self-awareness
  • Creativity 
  • Communication 

Ultimately, to perform at your best, therapy can help you harness skills while increasing your ability to handle mental pressure and deal with daily stressors. A therapist may use different techniques in therapy, including:

Therapy for high performers is unique to every person. Your therapist will work with you to identify areas of improvement and talk about any issues you’re currently having. Together, you will formulate a plan to help you overcome challenges and hit your goals. 

To start your therapy journey, contact the team At Thriving Center of Psychology. Our mental health professionals work with you to develop skills, manage emotions, and optimize performance. Book an appointment online or contact one of our offices in New York, California, Florida, New Jersey, Oregon, Minnesota, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington. 

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