#68: An episode for the super achievers among us - with Tutti Taygerly

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While making this podcast, I was reminded of the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, which was written by a palliative nurse. They are:

  • I wish I had lived a life true to myself, not the life of what others expected from me
  • I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  • I wish I had had the courage to express my feelings
  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
  • I wish I had let myself be happier

If these phrases resonate with you, be sure to check out the rest of the episode!

Who is Tutti?

Tutti has been a design leader in corporate life for 22 years. She worked for multiple start-ups, but also for large tech corporations, as her last corporate job was at Facebook, where she ran teams working on ad products and new video products. She then left corporate to pursue her passion for people, personal development, learning leadership, and entrepreneurship. She has written a book and coaches leaders using the design process she mastered over the years.

A super-achiever!

And most of all, like many of you leaders, Tutti is a super achiever. From a young age, she was pushed by the school and her mother to achieve the best grades she could and to shoot for the stars. Like Tutti, many of us have been taught to always strive for more and never finish working before the job is done. Especially for super-achievers, at some point, this can lead to anxiety.

For Tutti that moment came when in the span of one year, her father-in-law and her father died. That’s when her armor fell and she started to look inside and concluded that she wasn’t living the life she wanted. That’s when she decided to leave Facebook and pursue her new passion for people.

The many layers of success

The reason why so many of us keep working harder and harder to achieve more is that we keep measuring our success by comparing it to the success of the best, to the outside world. This can be dangerous because many different people have very different definitions of success. That’s why Tutti gave me an amazing exercise we all should do every so often: unpacking success.

The success you had in mind, who is it for? Is it for your parents, for your partner, your children? Or is that notion of success given by society?
If you do this mental evaluation, you can decide what kind of success you want to devote your energy to.

The pandemic has actually helped with this process since many people have been given the space not to compare themselves so much to others.

How to stop when you have so many demands?

I asked this exact question to Tutti and the answer surprised me. It was almost exactly what I have been teaching to you leaders: it’s all about balancing the doing and the being. By doing, she means your average meetings, your to-do’s, the milestones you want to achieve. And by being she means the smaller and big things in life you enjoy: playing an instrument, going for a walk, talking to friends and family. Most leaders lean way too much towards the doing side. So if you want to be more, you can look at the things in your daily life and evaluate your energy in those moments. In what moments can you make small adjustments to do less doing and do more being?

Learn to lead through surfing

Wait what?

Tutti actually made an amazing analogy between leadership and surfing. She enjoys surfing and noticed that she enjoyed the rhythm of it a lot.

At first, you need to paddle a lot to get to the right location. Paddle paddle paddle.
But once you have arrived where you want to be, it is very rare that the right wave will come immediately. For that, you have to wait and scan the horizon for the next set of waves. A lot of patience…
And when that wave finally comes, you’ll have to paddle hard again and get up on your board to ride it as well as you can.

This analogy fits perfectly with leadership and super achievers because you cannot achieve the entire time. Leadership is complex and you have to know that sometimes, you need to be patient, sit and observe yourself and your surroundings before you can make the next step. You cannot always achieve glory at every moment and that is okay!

And if the world comes crashing down on you and you feel stuck, know that it is going to be okay. It is okay to go through rough times because that is where you will grow! You have to trust the process and allow yourself to take pauses to recharge and come up with creative ideas!

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