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484 - The Downside Of Being An Achiever

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Most achievers I know struggle with truly feeling fulfillment. Some of my thoughts after a long weekend.

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But what I want to talk about is some of the downsides of being an achiever, especially a hyper achiever. It's been interesting in my life and I wouldn't say all my life. When I was younger, I didn't have much direction or motivation or things I was trying to do. I tried to do some things, but I wasn't that good at anything. It wasn't until I started wrestling that I had my first identity shift, my first thing where I did something, I was like, oh my gosh, this is who I am. This is who I want to become and that was the day I became an achiever. I don't want to be good, I want to be the best.


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Hey, good morning everybody. This is Russell Brunson, and I want to welcome you back to the Marketing Seekers Podcast. I just dropped my kids off at school and I'm slowly exiting the parking lot with a million kids driving, hoping for my life. But I wanted to talk about something that's been on my mind for a little while, which is some of the downsides of being a hyper achiever.

All right everyone, I'm still in the kids' parking lot, trying to get out, but I wanted to talk to you guys today about something that I was thinking about a lot this weekend, and it's interesting. I don't know if you'll learn anything from this, but I think for people who are like me, hopefully you'll feel less alone. And then people who aren't like me, this is me sitting on a couch and you get to be my therapist. So that's kind of the game plan. I hope that's all right.

But what I want to talk about is some of the downsides of being an achiever, especially a hyper achiever. It's been interesting in my life and I wouldn't say all my life. When I was younger, I didn't have much direction or motivation or things I was trying to do. I used to come home from school and we'd watch cartoons and we'd eat Cheerios or Rice Krispies until dinner, and then we'd eat dinner and do homework, and that was kind of end of it. And I tried to play basketball. I tried to do some things, but I wasn't that good at anything. It wasn't until I started wrestling that I had my first identity shift, my first thing where I did something, I was like, oh my gosh, this is who I am. This is who I want to become and that was the day I became an achiever. I don't want to be good, I want to be the best.

In fact, I remember there's an old wrestling movie we used to always watch and it had Tom and Terry brands on it, who, you know who they are they're twin brothers, the wrestled for Iowa, both world champs. One of them was an Olympic champ. And the video started with Tom Brands saying, "My name is Tom Brands and my goal is simple. I want to be the greatest wrestler in the whole world." And the next scene was Terry Brands. He said, "My name's Terry Brands and my goal is simple. I want to be the greatest wrestler in the whole world."

And I remember I used to watch that and think in my head, my name's Russell Brunson and my goal is simple. I want to be the greatest wrestler in the whole world. And that was my goal and obviously I never met that goal. I never became the greatest wrestler at all time, but I set a high goal and I started working towards it and I killed myself to reach that goal. And I became an achiever so much so where I would do anything. I would cut 30 pounds a week. I was telling my high school kids I literally would come in on Monday at 160 pounds my sophomore year and then Thursday, I weighed at 130. And so yeah, I was losing 30 pounds a week every single week.

I was doing just crazy things. I was working out. I was just wrestling, lifting weights, traveling around the country. Everything I could to reach that goal. And it's interesting. It's like there's something powerful about being a high achiever. You have this drive and you push and you get to accomplish and achieve things. But one of the downsides, probably the biggest downside is it's hard to be content and that's something I've struggled with my whole life.

In fact, I see people who are very content and it's something that I am jealous of. Man, I wish I could just be content. I wish I could just sit there. I wish I could just relax. And the reason I started thinking about this, this weekend is because I start thinking about when in my life have I really felt content? And as hard as I can think, I only remember two times and the first time was in wrestling. And I apologize. I have kind of a cold right now. So if I'm sniffling, that's why. Or if my voice sounds funny.

So the first time that I think I ever felt content was after my junior year and I had set the goal, I wanted to be a state champ. And I had worked towards it, worked towards it, worked towards it and I remember my junior year, I won the state title. And I remember winning it and then in the car driving home, I remember this is 17 year old Russell at the time and I'm driving home and I'm looking around, I'm looking at all the mountains and the scenery outside. And I was like, this is all? And I lived in Utah as a Utah state champ was looking around. I was like this is all of Utah and I'm a state champ. I'm the best in Utah right now. I'm the best in this entire state and I remember feeling so content that I was driving home and just like, ugh, I did it. I achieved that thing.

And the rest of my wrestling career, I was always chasing after goals and dreams. I wanted to be an all American. I did get that. I became an all American, but I wanted to be a national champ and I took second. And then in college I wanted to win this tournament, that tournament. I did well, but I was never a national champ. I was never a PAC-10 champ. I never got to experience the big win again. I won tournaments and things like that, but winning my state title was the big thing and I felt so content afterwards.

And so, but yeah, the rest of my wrestling career, I kept racing, chasing, chasing, chasing, and then eventually I lost and my career ended and that was the end of it. I never achieved that thing. And then for me, I was like, ah, as an achiever, I have to achieve something, and at the time I kind of started my business. And so I shift my focus to business and then I spent the next decade and a half running a business, running a business. And the weirdest thing I remember about business was there was never a time where you got your hand raised. It never ended, just like this continual cycle.

IN wrestling, there would be tons of work and effort towards a goal and then you either win or you lose but it was finite. Where business is this revolving circle, which is good on some ends, because the game you can play for a long, long time. But it was also bad because I never got my hand raised. It never ended. I never felt like I achieved something. In fact, I remember one time, somebody to me, "When did you feel like you made it?" And I was like, "I don't know. I'll let you know if I ever do." I've never felt that way. There's always this constant pressure grind. And I've enjoyed it as an achiever. It's taken me to a lot of places. I've met a lot of cool people, done a lot of cool things, accomplished a lot of cool stuff but it was never a point where I was like, ah.

Even when I go on mastermind trips or retreats or things like that, there's always this anxiety or stress. At Funnel Hacking Live, I always think at the end of it, I'm going to feel like ah, this complacency or that feeling, but I never felt it because as soon it was done, it's like, ah, we sold people in our coaching program. Now I've got to worry about that. And it's just always this cause of stress. Except for one time and the one time was after the 10 X event and some of you guys know this story. I set a goal before we went. I was like, I want to do 3 dollars million dollars in sales because that means I'll net a million. And that event was the perfect storm where we said the whole thing, the presentation just killed it and we ended up doing $3.2 million dollars in sales.

And there was this moment after the pitch was done, and I stood in line for six hours taking pictures of everyone. And Collette and I went back to our room and we were so tired and I remember laying in bed and we took this picture of us just laying in bed, smiling together. And then we passed out for four hours. And that was the second time in my life I can remember being content where I was just like, ah, we did it. I set a big goal, achieved it and then it was done. And then I remember that night after we woke up, we went back into the room where everyone was processing the money and counting all the order forms and it just felt complete. It was final. I set the goal, I achieved it and I got a break. I had a chance to rest. And those are the two times in my life. Isn't that funny?

Two times in life where I felt like I could rest where I was just like, oh, like I did it. And the rest of my life has been running and sprinting. And I don't know about you, but for me it's always like, when my book's done, then I'll have a chance to rest or when the event's done, or when the thing or whatever. But each of those as I finish one, it starts the next thing. We finish the book and then we start the book promotion. Then we finish the promotion and then we got to start the backend sales and the backend sales to the event and then the event to the next thing and it just keeps going and going. And I never felt that feeling of it being done, of just ah, it's finished. And yeah, like I said, only two times in my life I can remember feeling that feeling.

So being an achiever, like I said, it's amazing because it gives you a chance to run and to achieve things and experience things and it makes your life very fulfilling. I feel like my life is very colorful. I feel good at painting this beautiful, amazing thing. And I love it. But the thing that I miss is the downtime, the quietness, that feeling of ah, you did it. I feel like that's probably what I've been chasing for so long.

Some of you guys know I started my next book probably over a year ago now dang. And the subtitle to the book was going to be The Art of Achievement. Or excuse me, The Science of Achievement, the Art of Fulfillment because that's what I wanted the book to be about. And it was interesting because the parts where I was writing about achievement was really easy for me to write, the Science of Achievement. Here's how we do it. That part was really easy. And then every time we got to the Art of Fulfillment, that part was really, really difficult for me. I struggled writing those things so much so that I ended up stopping writing that book. And I was like, you know what? I don't know how to be fulfilled. I haven't felt that. I don't feel content. I don't feel fulfilled all the time. I'm still trying to figure this out.

So I've actually changed the whole book where the book now, I change the title as well. The new book is going to be called Secrets of Success and it's going to be about achievement, about success. How do you get these things? Because that's what I've mastered, but I understand that I'm good at. But the fulfilling part, I don't know yet. I understand pieces of it. I understand the psychology, I understand things, but I haven't been able to really feel that often in my life. And so I'm saving that book or that part of the book for a later year in my life where I have a chance to figure those things out.

So anyway, this weekend for me was interesting because I sat down and I had this chance to start thinking through how do I feel fulfilled? How do I feel content? What is that thing? And that's when the whole thought came. In my life when have I felt content? And the only times I could think about was I won the state title and when I did the 3.2 million in sales at the 10 X event. The two times I felt I like I could rest and I feel like I'm chasing something, looking for that next time to rest.

And so I think for me and I'll report back on this because I'm going to try to set goals that have a celebration time. When you achieve this thing, you did this, this, and now you get to rest. Take a day off or do whatever. I don't take any days off and when I do, I'm usually stressing out because the next thing's in the way or things are happening, you know what I mean?

So anyway, that's the pros of the cons of being an achiever. I'm sure some of you guys relate to that. Some of you guys think I'm crazy. Either way is totally cool. But for me that's what I'm looking for is how do I get more of those things in my life? And for any of you guys who have been on this hamster wheel like me and you're running and you're achieving and you're doing the things, I want to give yourself permission to try to do what I'm trying to do, which is okay, how do I get fulfillment? How do I get my hand raised? How do I succeed? And then rest in that moment so I can feel it and I can enjoy it and recharge off it before I go to the next accomplishment. Before I climb the next mountain, before I try to conquer the next demon.

So anyway, that's what's on my mind this weekend. Hopefully this helps somebody. Like I said, just not really how to as much as most of my podcast episodes, but hopefully just... Yeah, again, therapy for me to talk it out. So thanks you guys. I appreciate you all for listening and hopefully you have a great day. Talk soon.


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