Breakthrough Performance for Business Owners, Executives, and Sales Leaders

Have question? Schedule a call and let’s connect.

How High Achiever Values Create Roadblocks

Values of High Achievers Put You In Your Own Way?
Values of High Achievers Put You In Your Own Way?

How High Achiever Values Create Roadblocks

High achiever values make them a unique breed, but do these values also create roadblocks?  The specific characteristics that the ideal high achiever embodies are values vital to success. 

So it makes perfect sense to know what those characteristics are.  According to this article in Forbes, characteristics of high achievers are:

  • Dedication to vision
  • Intelligent persistence
  • Fostering community
  • Empathetic listening
  • Good Storytelling
  • Testing ideas
  • Managing emotions
  • Constantly evolving
  • Practicing patience
  • Pursuing happiness

Who wouldn’t want all of those working for them?

But have you ever thought how those high achiever characteristics might be train-wrecking your success?  In other words, is who you are at the core stopping you from being successful?

The answer is, “Well, maybe.”  If you are doing any of the roadblocking things in this article, then the answer is yes.  In this article, I’m going to share with you a handful of ways high achievers like yourself are getting in their own way.  You’ll also learn how to recognize it (because some of these ways are pretty sneaky).  I’ll also give you some proven ways to overcome these traps.

Ways We Create Our Own Roadblocks

As high achievers, we usually think of roadblocks coming from something someone else does either intentionally or unintentionally to halt our progress.  That makes perfect sense because why would we stop ourselves from being successful.  

You may be surprised to know that MOST of our roadblocks are created by our own doing.  The majority of roadblocks for success are not only created by us, but we do it subconsciously.

Often high achievers get caught up in the trap of being productive, perfectionism, procrastination, trying to achieve their way to success with more degrees and certifications, or just gripping the steering wheel tight and muscling through.

All of these are deadly to your success. Today we’ll talk about three of these roadblocks, but just know they are the tip of the ice-berg.  Let’s start with a sneaky one.

The Productivity Trap

Now let’s take a look at the Productivity Trap.  Productivity is one of the high achiever values, but how can being productive create a roadblock to success?  Getting things done makes us feel good. Not getting things done makes us feel bad.  But are all things we accomplish equal?

The Productivity Trap is when you do smaller, non-goal-related tasks instead of doing your most important goal oriented work like launching your business or building your very own flux-capacitor .

It works like this. You’ve got an important deadline and you know exactly what you need to focus on to get your work done but…

You do the dishes. You fold clothes. You clean the family calendar board. You… get the idea.

It’s actually your inner-critic’s way of tricking you into being “Safe”.

Your inner-critic will do anything to keep you from the exposure of being a “fraud” (not true) and it’s using your to do list to do it’s dirty work.

Sneaky, huh? The big problem with your inner-critic is that it thinks you’re still 10 years old.

When you find yourself doing tasks not related to your goal in place of the important work associated with your goals… hit the pause button.

Ask yourself, “What’s really going on here?”

Double down on the goal work and watch your success unfold.  Use time-blocking to make this easier. Schedule a 30-minute block during the day for those menial tasks. Only do them during that time. 

The Imposter Trap

Now let’s look at another roadblock building warrior, the imposter.  The imposter is a version of your inner critic that basically says, “this isn’t good enough”.  The imposter is a champion of perfectionism.

There really is no “fake it til you make it”.  Those that try sometimes see success, but they’ve emboldened the imposter and ultimately live in a house of cards.  We know where that goes, right?

But the imposter works both angles.  The imposter tells you on one hand to fake it and on the other hand fosters procrastination.  Living for perfection creates a roadblock for us when we halt progress because the conditions aren’t right for success.  Basically, you resign any actions because things aren’t perfect yet.  If you don’t start, you can’t finish.

The best thing to do to stop procrastination is to get moving.  Take an imperfect action with the mindset of learning.  Sounds a little hokey, but it’s like magic.  Pick the most viable direction and start.  Then learn and adjust.  Then… start again.


Another way we as high achievers get derailed misalignment.  Misalignment is when we say we want one thing, but we doing activities that support something else.  Or at a minimum, don’t support what we say we want. Here’s an example.


Jim is a high achiever with his eyes set on a promotion within his department.  He has been groomed for this position and believes it’s the next logical step in his career.  

Anyone looking to get this job would need to have skills in leading people and creating opportunities for growth because this position is a people leading role.  Jim knows this and is looking forward to the day he gets to empower his new team.

Meanwhile, Jim is also creating an environment in his weekly team meetings that make people feel uncomfortable in a bad way.  He actually talked down to Jerry by shutting down Jerry’s idea on cost controls.  Jim did this because he thought it would help him show he’s in control, but it actually proved he’s not ready for that role he’s got his eyes on.

This roadblock shows up all the time and in every setting.  We say we want to lose weight, but we have a third slice of pizza at 9PM.  We say we want a morning routine, but we go to sleep at midnight.  We say we “want it all” but we don’t do the work for “the little things”.

Misalignment is one of the sneakiest ones because we are rationalizing beings.  We think, “no one saw that.” or “That’s not what I meant by that.”  It really doesn’t matter.  

Practice thinking ahead of your interactions to have a plan on how to show up.  Do this not to show up like someone else wants you to, but show up how you want to be remembered.

Final Thoughts

Clearly there are multiple ways we can get in our own way as shown above and they’re all related to these high achiever values.  The key is to recognize when these are happening and have a plan to combat them.  If you put zero focus on these you can expect to not get the job, win the game, or be truly successful at anything.

Knowing these exist is half the battle.  The other half of winning against these roadblock creators is to start.  Simple, imperfect actions with an attitude of learning will make the difference in your success and satisfaction with your success.

For more important tips sign up for our weekly high achievers note.  It’s short. It’s sweet.  It’s awesome.

Ryan McKinney

Ryan McKinney

Ryan is a leadership coach, sought after speaker, and transformational workshop facilitator. He works with highly successful business leaders to develop discipline, enhance leadership, and build confidence so they can enjoy the success they deserve without giving up what they want most.

Join The Leaders Circle Community

Are you looking for great material to use with your team? Join and get free access to paid content.