Image by BetterWorks via FlickrBy George Pratt
The term workaholic was first used by psychiatrists in the 1950's to describe the negative aspects of work related stress and job burnout. The similarity of the term to alcoholic is not an accident. Individuals experiencing excessive work related stress do have a high incidence of alcohol and drug abuse.
Take the case of Robert, a sales manager for a large domestic car dealership. He works 10 hours a day and half a day on sat. He is feared by most of the sales force for his tirades at sales meetings, and he blames his subordinates of his superiors when he fails to meet goals.
Robert feels he is not a good manager. He joins his colleagues for drinks practically every Friday night and returns home late to his family and inevitably regrets the hangovers the morning after.
Then there is Julie, a general manager at a radio station. She is an intense and demanding person. The station owner respects her for her accomplishments and the profits she has brought to the company, however Julie has a difficult time maintaining relationships. She has been married twice, has one child and is presently a single mother. She is in therapy seeking to relate better to the men in her life and to stop her cocaine habit
Robert and Julie are people in crisis, who have escaped into their work and into drug and alcohol to avoid much of the unpleasantness of their lives. Though they work long hours and occasionally produce valuable results, they are really poor time mangers and have low self-esteem, they are perfect examples of stressed out people/workaholics.
There are a number of traits that are characteristic of stressed out people/workaholics, though few have all these traits:
Goes through the motions
Manages time poorly
Are motivated externally, if at all
Seeks safety and comfort rather than challenges
Does things by the book rather than creatively
Often feels helpless when problems arise
Are more likely to give up than to persevere
Have low self-esteem - blames others
Have few if any distinct goals
Are generally pessimistic and guilty
Have many symptoms, illnesses and diseases
Are past or future oriented
Are rigid and inflexible
Stressed out people work long hours, seem to run madly from one place to another yet never get everything done and never seem on top of things. Eventually they run out of gas and may suffer job burnout. This is what is commonly thought to be a workaholic.
There is however, another type of personality that we are calling the hyper-performer. Our work show that these types of people are not defined merely by the hours they work, but are defined by their attitude towards their work.
Enjoyment and enthusiasm for their work are two traits that separate the hyper-performer from the stressed out workaholic. Yes, the money is nice, but that is not the prime motivator for these people.
In fact, quite often they do not measure their success in terms of money, but in terms of the successful accomplishment of some particular aspect of their work-like successfully negotiating exclusive rights to a product line, or receiving an Oscar for an outstanding acting performance.
Some people who fit this profile are: Pope John Paul III, Margaret Thatcher, Bob Hope, Bill Marriot, David Rockefeller, Isaac Asimov, William McGowan, founder of MCI and many many others!
These, highly motivated, energetic, adaptable, inner directed people are what we are calling the hyper-performers - the high achievers that get things one. Have you ever heard the old saying, "If you want something done give it to a busy person"? not just any busy person; rather, we believe that this is referring to a hyper performer - the optimal performers - a person who gets things done right!
Here are 10 characteristics that set the hyper -performers apart form the stressed out workaholics:
Passionate about their work
Centered in the present moment
Aware of their personal power
Good at setting goals
Good at time management
Can a stressed out workaholic become a hyper performer? While the personality traits of most hyper performers seem innate, many of their strategies for success can be learned.
To enhance optimal performance, you can learn and develop a winning pattern in your work life.
In next week's article we will do an assessment of where you are right now and focus on some strategies for making your own personal transformation from a stressed out person to a hyper performer! You can learn other great ways to transform your energy from stress to success at http://www.realstresssolutions.com.
Dr. George Pratt, Ph.D. is co-author of the award-winning bestseller Instant Emotional Healing: Acupressure for the Emotions, and an expert panelist for Real Stress Solutions.com. Dr. Pratt is a licensed clinical psychologist and has served as Chairman of Psychology, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla for 10 years and has been on staff over 20 years.
He has also been in private practice for 30+ years specializing in mind/body techniques, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and performance enhancement. and has helped Superbowl champs, Olympic medalists, professional athletes, executives, Academy Award and Grammy winners, as well as thousands of individuals from all walks of life.
He is a Fellow and a Certified/Approved Consultant of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and Past-President of the San Diego Society of Clinical Hypnosis. Dr. Pratt is a Reiki Master and diplomate of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology and the American Academy of Pain Management.
He is presently adjunct faculty of the University of California, San Diego. Additionally, his other books include Hyper-Performance: Release Your Business Potential, A Clinical Hypnosis Primer and the forthcoming book, The Happiness Code. He has been a repeat guest on Larry King Live and has appeared on MTV. http://www.drgeorge.com
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