Reflections on Being an Unsuccessful High Performer

I started reading “Beyond High Performance” yesterday, a book by the founder of a coaching firm where my former personal coach is now a partner.

The definitions of High Performance he used really took me aback. It was like a light went on in a dark room for the very first time, and all of a sudden, everything just made complete sense.

I’m not wired like everyone else. I didn’t fully grasp that before.

This week, I posted one of my workouts on socials: 100 burpees + 200 high knees + 100 pushups + 200 split lunges in 52:08, and I wrote: “Seriously out of shape.”

Someone commented that 100 burpees and 100 pushups didn’t seem “seriously out of shape” to them, but the fact is, I completed that workout 20 minutes and 44 seconds faster just two months ago, in November.

Then there are my KPI spreadsheets, where I track 23 different items and the number of times I need to perform each in a given week, with a weekly score tallied up at the end.

Or my Daily Reflections, where I post all my earnings and such lofty goals as “Make $15,000 a month.”

I’m sure my earnings in bad months are enough to make some of the people reading resentful of my good fortune, but all I can see is failure.

And it’s not about the money. I’ve long lost interest in material things. I post earnings because they’re just a number to me, a meaningless target.

I believe that if you’re afraid of the number or think it’s unrealistic, you just won’t achieve it. If it’s just a number that you’re indifferent to, without any emotions or subtexts tied to it, then you might just have a shot at it.

People around me probably think I’m crazy, and I do believe I’ve alienated a few because drive and ambition are frowned upon in this society.

Most people don’t have the courage to go after their dreams, REALLY go after them, and it’s safer to call out ambition in others as a negative character trait.

I’m driven to achieve certain things, albeit lofty to some, because deep down, I KNOW I can, and I have this obsession to prove it to myself.

If it’s been done before, then there’s nothing I can’t accomplish with relentless effort, true discipline, and unwavering dedication.

Beyond High Performance” goes on to describe an archetype they call the Athlete, who’s driven by the question “What am I capable of?”

Nothing has ever made more sense.

I wrote it down on a Post-it and stuck it to my computer monitor.

My despair has always been knowing that I’m capable of great things, REALLY great things, but in parallel, I’m living a life of countless struggles and hardships riddled with failures, addiction, mental illness, and so much more.

It was comforting to understand that I may just be a High Performer and am wired differently than most, but my second thought was how lonely it feels right now and that so little is said of the “Unsuccessful” High Performers.

I had to stop working with my personal coach a few years ago because I simply couldn’t afford it anymore. My financial situation has been dire since. I’m in the most amount of debt I’ve ever been in and am unsure each month if I’ll be able to make rent.

Beyond High Performance” mentions countless millionaires, Fortune 100 CEOs, professional athletes, and A-list celebrities; society is great at bolstering success stories, but so little is said about the unsuccessful High Performers, the ones that never “make it.”

This is why I’ve been fully transparent on this website and on my socials. I don’t think anyone is reading any of it, but I need the Universe to know how hard my grind is and all the things I’m struggling with on a daily basis.

I need to document the journey and the hardships because we’re doing a disservice to all by only showcasing people who already “made it.”

It’s unrelatable. Most people tell themselves: “Great for them, but there’s no way I can do that. They were dealt better cards in life than I was.”

It was a relief to label my drive as High Performance, but I am now left with a terrible feeling of loneliness.

I don’t have anyone in my tribe that’s really like me. I don’t have any other High Performers in my life right now who I can talk to. I don’t have anyone who can really understand what goes on in my head or help make my journey easier.

I’m here alone, trying to figure everything out by myself, plagued by constant failure.

One thing I do have is grit, and I just seem to keep getting back up no matter what life throws at me, but the last few years have really felt like treading water, and I still feel stuck, not making progress or where I should be in life.

And it’s been really hard lately to keep that inside, fake a smile, and get back on the horse each morning…

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