Breaking Through the Shame Ceiling: High Achievers and the Hidden Struggle
Posted on 23rd October 2023 at 11:37
High achievers are often seen as having it all together. They're successful in their careers, they have strong relationships, and they seem to be living their best lives. But the truth is, even the highest achievers can struggle with shame.
Shame is a powerful emotion that can hold us back in many areas of our lives, including our careers but is often not obvious with the high achiever. The shame ceiling is a term used to describe the invisible barrier that prevents high achievers from reaching their full potential. It's often rooted in a deep down limited belief around a lack of self worth and driven by a need to achieve things to compensate for that. It often manifests in unrealistic expectations, perfectionism, overworking and imposter syndrome.
If you're a high achiever struggling with a shame ceiling, you're not alone. Millions of people experience this hidden struggle. But it doesn't have to be that way. With the right support, you can break through your shame ceiling and achieve your full potential. Read more on this here…
Why are high achievers more likely to experience the shame ceiling?
It is important to note that the shame ceiling is not a universal experience for all high achievers. However, it is a common challenge that many high achievers face for a number of reasons, including…
Perfectionism: Many high achievers are perfectionists, setting impossibly high standards for themselves. When they fall short, shame can creep in, causing them to doubt their abilities and fear judgement from others.
Imposter Syndrome: Imposter syndrome is prevalent among high achievers. They often believe that their achievements are the result of luck or external factors rather than their own capabilities. This persistent self-doubt can reinforce the shame ceiling.
External Validation: High achievers often rely on external validation for their self-worth. When they receive praise and recognition, they feel on top of the world. Conversely, any criticism or perceived failure can shatter their self-esteem.
Breaking Through the Shame Ceiling
Breaking through the shame ceiling is a challenging journey, but it is a crucial one for high achievers to unleash their full potential. Here are a few tips:
Self-Compassion: High achievers must learn to be kind and forgiving to themselves. Embracing self-compassion helps reduce the shame's intensity and allows for healthier self-evaluation.
Challenge Perfectionism: Recognise that perfection is an unrealistic goal. Embrace the idea that making mistakes and experiencing setbacks are a part of growth and success.
Seek Support: High achievers can benefit from therapy or coaching to address underlying shame and self-doubt. Opening up to trusted friends or mentors can also provide valuable perspective.
Internal Validation: Shift the focus from external validation to internal fulfilment, values, a meaning & purpose. Acknowledge your achievements and value yourself regardless of external recognition.
Set Realistic Goals: High achievers should set challenging but attainable goals to avoid setting themselves up for constant failure.
Remember, you are not alone in this struggle. Many high achievers experience the shame ceiling, but it is possible to break through it. By releasing the hidden roots & struggle of shame and self-doubt, you can find greater fulfilment and success while maintaining your mental and emotional well-being.
To find out more about how counselling could help you break through the shame ceiling, take a look at my next blog: ‘How a Counsellor Can Help You Overcome Your Shame Ceiling in Your Career’.
Share this post: