id-10081666Achieving greatness at work

You work hard for success, recognition and greatness at work. You love the rush of firing on all cylinders, and being engaged and committed to your work. You naturally receive rewards and recognition …… which drives you to work even harder.

 The dark side of greatness

But ask yourself:

  • Does your success at work come with a heavy price in other areas of your life?
  • Are your powerful strengths also responsible for your worst failures?
  • Do you struggle to meet both work and home commitments?
  • Do you have little energy for life outside of work?

There is a dark side when the greatness achieved in one area of life comes at a significant cost in another. It may happen to high-flying executives who are so dedicated to their work that they become helicopter parents, disconnected from their children.  Or to a highly respected doctor who becomes emotionally distant in order to cope with suffering seen daily.

The dark side of greatness is particularly relevant to career-minded women who strive to be a consummate professional at work and also the perfect mother at home. Their over commitments may account for women being twice as likely to become depressed as men and three times as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders or to try to commit suicide.

 captureAvoiding the dark side of greatness

Can you have it all – achieve greatness at work and also excel in other areas of your life?

Yes you can! Here is what to do:

1.   Use your strengths

You have a unique set of powerful character strengths, like bravery, leadership, open-mindedness or forgiveness. When you use your strengths, you do your best work, difficult tasks are easier and success is almost inevitable. It’s a great feeling when you are in the zone like this.

Actions to take: you can identify your strengths by taking a free survey here . At the end, you can print a list of your 24 strengths, in descending order from highest to lowest. With this knowledge, you can plan how to use your top strengths to achieve your goals.

2.   Identify the dark side of your strengths – how they can become your weaknesses.

While using your top strengths is the formula to create greatness in your life, they also have the potential to become great weaknesses. That happens when they are used at to do that and an inappropriate time or when used too forcefully.

Action to take: you need to regulate the use of your powerful top strengths by either deciding not to use them or ensuring you don’t overuse them. To do this, picture the strength with an on-off switch and a volume control knob.

Use the on-or switch when it is inappropriate to apply your top strength, as would happen if you decided not to use bravery in a staff meeting to raise objections, knowing that it will be more effective in a one-to-one with your senior manager. Alternatively, use the volume control knob to reduce the power of your leadership strength, encouraging members of your team to take a more direct role.

3.   Identify those personal strengths that are your weaknesses.

If you have completed the VIA questionnaire, the lowest numbered strengths are what they call “lesser developed strengths”. In plain language, those strengths are your vulnerabilities or weaknesses.

Action to take: there are two actions to take to deal with the weaknesses you have. If they are strengths that you would really like to use, then start developing them — here are some suggestions. Alternatively, identify how you have can compensate using your more powerful strengths.

4.   Identify your stress triggers at work and at home.

We all have stress triggers. They are the hot buttons which if pushed, have the potential to make us overreact, and do or say things that we later regret.

Action to take: firstly, identify your stress triggers. The easiest way to do this is by thinking about the times when you overreact — the things that really annoy you and get you going. Now develop your own strategies of what works for you to cope better, such as pausing before responding; breathing deeply in and out; deciding not to lose your temper; asking yourself what outcome you would really, really like? More ideas are available here.

5.   Identify what builds your energy and what drains your energy.

Energy management underpins mental strength and being resilient. Some activities build your energy and boost your engagement and commitment. On the other hand, there are things that you do that drain your energy. They require a major effort, time drags, you don’t like doing them and they are exhausting.

Actions to take: to boost your overall energy capacity and reserves, identify the activities at work and home that build your energy as well as drain it. Then draw up action plans to minimise the impact of the drains and maximise or increase in the time and you spend on activities that boost your energy. More here.

Check out this brand-new workshop to help you Beat the Dark Side!

If this all sounds a little too complicated to do on your own, here is the good news. I have a new, intensive one-day workshop which helps delegates through this process. It’s for men and women who excel at work, but are experiencing over-stress from issues such as: ever increasing work demands; navigating difficult professional and career issues; needing life outside of work; struggling to be the loving parent and partner they would like to be.

You will walk away with practical plans to achieve greatness at work as well as greatness at home, including plans to mitigate the impact of the dark side of achieving greatness. These personal plans for work and home will include:

  • Boosting the effectiveness of your strengths.
  • Overcoming overuse or ill-timed use of your strengths.
  • Reducing the impact of your stress triggers.
  • Increasing balance in your life.
  • Boosting your energy and avoiding energy drains.

Contact me for more details at at +27 82 456 0819 or +27 21 6747466 or

Resilient Leadership WorkshopResilient Leadership Workshop
Leaders learn how to keep stress positive. They assess their Team Members strategy-fitness and learn three resilience coaching techniques. The outcome is the leaders are better able to deliver organisational strategy and coach their team members when their resilience lags (read more here).

Building Resilience workshopBuilding Resilience Workshop

Team members and specialists learn how to bounce back from difficult organisation and life events, such as significant change, setbacks and hardship. The outcome is they are able to resist stressful experiences impacting on their job productivity and stay calm and healthy (read more here).

Mental Strength training

Mental Strength Training

Mental Strength training helps people keep task-focused and persistent. Mental Strength training teaches the process and tools to remain composed under pressure and less vulnerable to emotional slumps at work and at home (read more here).