Workaholic Versus High-Performing Individual: The Difference


I’m a writer, and I have a daily word quota that I set for myself. Usually, if I do not hit this target I get upset. I have had reason to rethink this lately, however. The reason for that is simple. See, there’s a difference between a workaholic and a high-performer. The differences may not be obvious and in-your-face – they are there, however.

See Also: Writing business ideas to start now and make money.

More often than not, the things I write are personal. A short story. A chapter in a new book. A poem. A book/movie review. Another scene in an unfinished play. There’s nothing wrong with any or all of that.

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However, how many of these things eventually see the light of day?

The thing is that I can console myself that they will come in useful eventually. Even after I die, they’ll most likely be worth twice as much – just like Tupac/Biggie/Elvis/Michael Jackson paraphernalia cost now. But how many people in how many industries can smile when thinking about the future as I can?

I heard someone say years ago: Work smart and not hard. Unusually, this made sense to me the moment I heard it, but the more I thought about it, the more I could get more from it. One of the first things that came to mind was a workaholic gives maximum effort ALL the time. High-performers give maximum effort at the right time.

See Also: How to write a business plan that gets result.

The difference between the two is this: workaholics tend to push their limits all the time, so run the risk of burning out steadily and all the time. On the other hand, a high performer knows when to go all out and when not to. That might sound like high-performers are lazy people or they do not give value for money. The reality, though, is that it isn’t everything you do that requires maximum effort all of the time. Knowing this fact is the difference between maintaining a constant energy level through the course of a project and burning out early.

A high performer is also someone who understands their value, knows what they are capable of, and are not afraid of criticism. They have their finger on the pulse of their business and therefore are constantly reviewing their methods and techniques and adjusting wherever necessary. Workaholics, however, are fixated with the external validation that comes from putting in so much obvious effort. They usually are more concerned with validation that comes from people observing them as opposed to actually doing any real work.

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As a result of this, it’s hard for a workaholic to take initiative. Feedback has to come from outside for them to know or understand that there’s something they aren’t getting right. On the other hand, a high performer always takes stock and knows where adjustments may be necessary – even when everything on the outside is to the contrary.

High performers are also usually pressure-resistant. In a novel, there was a conversation between two army officers; one senior, one junior. They were pursuing some criminals and the senior officer wanted the junior officer to drive faster, but the landscape was rocky and unsafe so the junior officer refused. The senior officer threatened to demote the junior and the junior responded: “I’d rather lose my rank than my life, colonel. The senior acquiesced and they drove slowly.

See Also: How to manage business failure and avoid feeling like a failure.

Are you a workaholic or a high-performer? Why do you do what you do? There’s nothing like the feeling that comes after a job well done.

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