We all know that one woman who seems to have the Pinterest-perfect life. She just made partner at a top law firm, she has a loving partner and she’s raising well-mannered, bright children, all while looking fresh faced and ready to conquer the world. So how does she do it? How does she juggle all those parts of her life and thrive in each flawlessly?
“Women tend to struggle with self-worth and self-esteem,” said Dr. Suzanne Gelb, a clinical psychologist and life coach, based in Hawaii.
Gelb has spent thousands of hours observing clients and profiling individuals she calls “high achievers,” people who choose to use their strength, energy and time to achieve things they want and know they deserve.
High achievers not only succeed on their own terms, Gelb told TODAY, but they are also able to maintain and sustain that success in a healthy balance. They know they are deserving of setting and attaining goals and do so in a happy and stress-free manner, as opposed to overachievers, who are driven by fear — such as fear of rejection or not being good enough.
So how do you move into the lofty world of high achievers? The first step is to believe in yourself and know that you deserve success. Gelb said that although many women have a hard time overcoming social stigmas —such as the outdated belief that women cannot be competent employees and mothers at the same time — once a woman realizes her full potential and rids her mind of toxic thoughts, she can take over the world, Beyoncé style.
Here, Gelb provided her top tips on how women can become and remain high achievers in all aspects of their life.
1. Find a mentor.
Dr. Gelb urged all women to find a competent and motivating mentor, something she wishes she had known when she first started her career. Surrounding yourself with like-minded professionals harbors inspiration to be your own personal best in the workplace, she said, and provides a network of support and guidance.
2. Enjoy the process and keep an open mind.
Many women become frustrated and impatient when developments at work or in their careers take too long or don’t happen exactly as they imagined.
“It’s important to be patient and not try to be so fixated on the end goal,” Gelb said.
It’s important for women to remain diligent and passionate while also being open to pursuing all opportunities presented to them, she said, even if it’s not what they originally had in mind for themselves. As they say, when one door closes, another door opens, so walk on through it and seize the new opportunity!
3. Go for it!
“Give yourself permission to step into all that you are, all that you want to be,” Gelb said.
Allow yourself to explore new business ventures or speak up in a work meeting about something you feel strongly about. Apply for that job opening, even if you are underqualified. Ask your boss about negotiating a raise. Do not underestimate yourself, and simply go for it!
1. Define what a healthy relationship is and recognize if you are ready to be in one.
Know that you deserve a happy and healthy relationship, which Gelb said begins with “two individuals who are whole within themselves rather than filled with emotional holes.”
Many couples run into problems when one needs the other to fill emotional voids within them, but this isn’t the relationship’s responsibility. Be self-loving and do not look to your partner to fill a need for love that you need to give to yourself.
2. In order to respect your partner, you must first respect yourself.
“When you respect yourself then you’re going to have a realistic but high standard for what you’re willing to accept or not in terms of a relationship,” Gelb said. “It’s also going to be easier to respect the other person, and by respect I also mean respecting our differences so that we can coexist and complement each other.”
3. Take care of your mind, body and soul.
Taking care of yourself in all facets of life allows you to bring your best self to the relationship. Gelb suggested daily exercise and meditation, as well as using breathing techniques and eating nutritiously.
She especially encourages clients to focus on emotional health. A big part of self-care is learning to safely cope with your own emotions and being comfortable letting out your frustrations with yourself rather than with your partner. She suggested pulling your car to the side of the road on your drive home from work and talking to yourself. Say out loud what you wanted to say to your rude boss or maybe even let out a therapeutic yell.
4. Make humor a daily part of your relationship.
Don’t take yourself too seriously, learn to laugh at yourself and try to find the humor in all situations, advised Gelb. Laughing with your partner allows you to let go for a little and enjoy each other’s company. Crack a joke and relish in the moment with the one you love!
As a Parent:
1. Be fully present.
Children are extremely intuitive and perceptive and need to feel like they are the center of your world, said Gelb, so it’s important to show them — especially if they are young — that they are deserving of your undivided attention.
Leave the emails and phone calls at work, or wait to tend to them until after you have put your child to bed. Being attentive enables you to have a quality experience with your child while making them feel loved and nurtured.
2. Listen, ask questions and share wisdom.
Engage with your child through conversation. Interacting with your children while they are young and challenging their minds through conversation, allowing you to build a strong relationship with them that will carry on in later years. If you show your child they can trust you at a young age, they will feel more comfortable communicating with you in their teen and adult years. This also lays down the foundation that will allow your children to become high achievers later in their lives.
“To let the child express how they’re feeling is so huge and is a part of them building their own identity, so listen and ask questions,” Gelb said.
3. Be the person you would want your child to be.
Being a parent also means being a teacher, and an integral part of that teaching is being a good role model. Most of what children learn comes from watching their parent. If you exude high achievement, happiness and love, then your child will grow up to be the same.
Gelb believes that for many women, becoming a high achiever in both their professional and personal lives is within reach.
“It all starts with feeling that you deserve it,” she said.