Are you motivated by self-discipline or toxic persistence?

Self-discipline is certainly a trait to be admired. It’s that inner strength that lets you control your feelings, capitalise fully on your strengths and follow through on achieving your goals, despite all those reasons to give up. It’s what keeps you going when you’d much rather be doing anything else. It’s critical to building career momentum and impact at work. But there’s a downside to taking self-discipline too far.

What is toxic persistence?

Have you ever found yourself pushing on with a job even when you’re mentally and physically drained? Or working when you’re fatigued, just to tick one more task off your list? This is the downside of being in flow: you get so engaged in your work that you lose track of time and space. Plus, you don’t consider whether all that effort is reaping results.  If this sounds familiar, you might be edging towards toxic persistence. Eeek.

Toxic persistence happens when determination morphs into an unhelpful obsession. It causes you to keep working on projects that aren’t reaping results, or to hold on to goals that no longer serve you.  It’s an extreme form of self-discipline that can lead to burnout, frustration and even failure. Plus, it’s one of the most common ways ambitious professionals sabotage their own success and career momentum.

 

Free e-book and video tips.

Get your copy today!

Name(Required)


How to tell if your ‘stamina’ is toxic persistence

If you think you might be falling into the trap of toxic persistence, here are three questions to ask yourself.

  • Where am I focusing my time and attention?
  • Am I making progress towards my most important goal, or am I just spinning my wheels?
  • What is driving my determination – is it intrinsic motivation or external pressure?

By asking these questions, you will quickly work out whether your self-discipline is serving you well or if it’s becoming toxic. And if you decide that it’s becoming a problem, don’t worry. There are steps you can take to break the cycle of toxic persistence and work as a savvy professional instead of an overzealous workhorse.

This article was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer and success coach. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference.  Since discovering her passion for training and development, Eleanor has trained more than 60,000 people. She delivers face-to-face workshops for corporates, online masterclasses for leaders and Positive Psychology retreats for trainers, HR practitioners and leaders. 

Leap from career limbo to momentum

Do you feel overworked, underappreciated and unrewarded at work?  It’s a common scenario that I call the limbo zone – a state of high stress and low influence that lies between achieving professional momentum and burning out. So why do so many professionals, especially women, get ensnared in the limbo zone between stress and success? It boils down to three deeply ingrained assumptions, which drive your behaviour at work. Do you believe any of them?

  • Success is directly proportional to competence.
  • Perfection is the only acceptable standard.
  • To reach your goals, you must always be in control.

These myths, instilled since childhood, can become professional roadblocks. If you believe them, they’ll keep you in a frustrating state of dissatisfaction. But here’s the empowering truth – it doesn’t have to be this way! Escaping the limbo zone between stress and success is easy once you change your perspective.

Expand your perceptual horizons

Instead of focusing solely on competence, explore your potential. Ditch the pursuit of perfection and start celebrating the momentum you’ve already achieved.  Then build on it. And rather than clinging to control, strive to build your influence. That is what will truly move you forward professionally. This paradigm shift can accelerate your career, enhance your credibility, increase your professional impact and turbo charge your confidence. To start putting it in place today, try these three simple tips for building momentum.

 

Free e-book and video tips.

Get your copy today!

Name(Required)


Adopt a growth mindset

Embrace continuous learning: understand that competence is not a fixed state but a journey of continuous improvement. Take advantage of learning opportunities, seek feedback and accept that everyone, at every level, has something new to learn.

Aim for progress, not perfection

Accept imperfection: perfection is an unrealistic standard that hampers progress. Instead, aim for progress and celebrate your growing momentum. Learn to live with ambiguity: it’s as simple as admitting, “I don’t know.” By doing so, you open yourself up to new ideas, collaboration and growth.

By changing your mindset and embracing these simple tips, you can break free from the limbo land between stress and success.  So take a deep breath, let go of those limiting beliefs and notice how easy it is to build professional momentum when you use the tips from positive psychology.

This article was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer and success coach. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference.  Since discovering her passion for training and development, Eleanor has trained more than 60,000 people. She delivers face-to-face workshops for corporates, online masterclasses for leaders and Positive Psychology retreats for trainers, HR practitioners and leaders. 

Stress management redefined: ditch the deep breathing and do this instead

Are you fed up with being told to ‘manage your stress’ by taking a deep breath or going for a walk? These are strategies designed for a different era. A time when workplaces were very different. Today, I’m going to suggest a radical new approach. One that fixes the old problem of being ‘time-poor’ in very different ways. You see,  you’re not stressed because you have poor coping skills. The real problem is something much more insidious.

Fix failing systems, not yourself!

How much time do you waste each week working around the vagaries of badly designed systems and work processes? It’s time to take a radical approach.  Stop being the human equivalent of the worn-out cog that holds a broken machine together. Instead, update the machine.  Make a list of the top 3 processes that waste your time. Then update them, fix them or throw them out altogether.

Zone out to chill out

Firstly, stop pushing yourself to focus all day.  Your brain can’t do that. It needs regular breaks to function at its best. That’s where zoning out comes into play. Research has shown that taking short “brain breaks” throughout the day can improve focus, creativity and productivity. My favourite way to do this is by tapping into the power of trance. This is a deep state of relaxation. It counters stress and induces a calm, contented flow.

In 2023 I designed a group coaching program for managers in a high-profile arts organisation. They wanted to reduce stress and increase their impact. Instead of focusing on time management techniques (which you can learn anywhere), I taught them to access trance states and develop emotion-regulation skills.  By the end of the program, everyone was feeling more focused and in control, despite the continuing demands of their jobs.

 

Free e-book and video tips.

Get your copy today!

Name(Required)


Newsflash. Doing things you hate can make you feel stressed. That’s why it’s essential to craft your workday using the 80:20 Rule. This comes from Economics and explains that 80% of your results come from just 20% of your efforts. Here’s the radical bit. I’m not going to tell you to focus on streamlining your work processes.  Instead, I want you to focus on doing tasks you love for at least 20% of your day.

Assuming you work around 8 hours a day, that means allocating just 1.5 hours a day to tasks that bring you joy. It doesn’t sound much but it can make a huge difference to your stress levels!  So, it’s time to stop using outdated strategies to manage stress. Instead, take a radical new approach from this day forth.  Fix the failing systems, take brain breaks and prioritise tasks that bring you joy.

And remember, I’m here to help. Check out my inspiring online coaching lab, Momentum, if you want to dive even deeper into these ideas.

This article was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer and success coach. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference.  Since discovering her passion for training and development, Eleanor has trained more than 60,000 people. She delivers face-to-face workshops for corporates, online masterclasses for leaders and Positive Psychology retreats for trainers, HR practitioners and leaders. 

Break the shackles of goal glut now

It’s the start of the year and already you’re exhausted. There’s too much to do and you have so little time to focus on what matters.  If this sounds familiar, take a deep breath. You might be suffering from Goal Glut, which is what I call that state of overwhelmed agitation that comes from taking on too many goals at once.

Despite what you’ve probably been told when setting KPIs at work, success does NOT come from having multiple goals. Once you have more than three things to focus on, you’ll feel scattered, tired and unproductive. That means you’ll show up to work in Stalled Go Getter mode. Here’s what that looks like.

  • The goals that matter to you have been put on hold for so long that they are more frustrating than inspiring.
  • You never have time to work on the important things, even though you want to.
  • Everyone says you’re a high achiever. But you don’t believe it.
  • Your once- rapid career progress has stalled. You’re starting to feel like you’re not living up to your potential.
  • You want to be back in control and be the unstoppable force you used to be.

So how do you transform into the unstoppable achiever that you want to be? The answer is to focus on momentum, rather than action. Momentum is that magical state where you feel unstoppable, motivated and in control. Momentum happens when you’re in the zone and making progress towards your goals. And over the next few weeks, I’ll be giving you tips on how to do exactly that. Without adding another dozen tasks to your To Do list!

 

Free e-book and video tips.

Get your copy today!

Name(Required)


Start today

For now, take a moment to consider the most important question of all: What do YOU want to achieve this year? If you could only pick one goal to focus on, what would it be? That, my friend, is your One Big Goal. Don’t let Goal Glut hold you back from achieving it. And watch out for my next newsletter, because I’ll be sharing my top tips on how to create momentum and make this your most successful year yet.

This article was created by Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor is a leadership trainer and success coach. Her mission is inspiring talented people to become leaders who make a difference.  Since discovering her passion for training and development, Eleanor has trained more than 60,000 people. She delivers face-to-face workshops for corporates, online masterclasses for leaders and Positive Psychology retreats for trainers, HR practitioners and leaders.