Some people may know the feeling of wondering what to do when you’ve achieved your goals but not know that there’s a name for it – Summit Syndrome. Coined by George D. Parsons and Richard T. Pascale in their HBR article Crisis at the Summit in 2007, this feeling is common for over achievers or those in high level roles like CEO’s, but it can apply to anyone who has been working hard to achieve a goal and finally ticks it off their list.
Feelings of happiness can make you question ‘what now?’ and even lead to a sense of disappointment, while you may worry that others might not understand why you’re unhappy. Don’t worry if you’re feeling blue and don’t know what to do, read on for our best advice.
Savour the moment
You may feel an initial rush when you’ve accomplished what you wanted to achieve and then a slump may set in, but try to remind yourself to appreciate your efforts properly. Chances are whatever your goal was, be it getting a promotion, finishing an important project, receiving an award or mastering a new skill, took a long time which means that you don’t have to immediately look for the next big thing.
Try to enjoy your achievement and relax about what your next step may be, there’s no need to rush straight in and begin a cycle of stress and pressure all over again.
Re-evaluate your life goals
It may feel good to work your way through your bucket list, but when you’re left feeling empty and contemplating what to do when you’ve achieved your goals, it could be time to re-evaluate your priorities. It’s easy to get into a routine of work, eat, sleep, repeat but you should remember that life is about working to live rather than living to work.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to climb the corporate ladder and have success, but it’s meaningless if you make a fortune and never have any time to spend it or anything else in life that you really love to do. Take a step back, look at everything you’ve achieved in life and learn to be pleased by it but also to just celebrate everyday life with friends and family. As Ferris Bueller famously said: ‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.’
Pass on the baton
This may be a hard pill to swallow, but you can’t keep hitting new goals forever and there may come a time when you realise it’s more fulfilling to help others by sharing your knowledge than letting it go to waste. Learn how to delegate tasks to others and take pleasure in seeing them become more skilled and experienced as a result.
Not only does this show that you’re putting your faith and trust in colleagues, especially if you’re passing on skills to the person who will be taking over your position when you leave, but by reducing your responsibilities and stress you will have more time to pursue more enjoyable activities.
Expand your skills without making goals
Just because you’re taking a break from trying to hit specific targets, doesn’t mean that you have to stop learning and developing. You can and should try to enjoy doing new things just for the sake of doing them and not set yourself a goal relating to them. This can remind you how much pleasure can come from working at something thoroughly without any rush or associated stress from a deadline.
Not only is it wise to look at other skills you may not have used much in your current or previous position, but finding new leisure activities like learning an instrument or a language, taking up a sporting hobby or even just reading more can help you achieve a greater work-life balance and make you feel happier about aspects that aren’t tied to your job.
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