What Is A Sensitive Striver and 9 Signs You Are One

What Is A Sensitive Striver and Signs You Are One

Before long, Kelly’s exhaustion caught up with her to the point that she had to take a medical leave from her job. Although extreme and highly unpleasant, this experience was a profound wake-up call for Kelly, and she finally decided to seek help.

Kelly and I started working together as she returned to work after her medical leave. She told me she felt like she wasn’t in control of her own life anymore. She desperately wanted to rediscover a feeling of fulfillment and to seem more like herself again.

Burnout, like that Kelly faced, is common among Sensitive Strivers. They are so loyal to other people, and the path to success society has laid out that they blindly pursue more achievement without ever stopping to define what makes them happy. Many Sensitive Strivers in Kelly’s shoes have also never been taught to recognize how their sensitivity shapes their lives, and they lack a game plan to channel their ambition and drive in a way that emboldens, rather than drains them.

sensitive striver burnout
What Is A Sensitive Striver and 9 Signs You Are One

What Being a Sensitive Striver Is – and Is Not

Sensitive Striver might sound like just another way to describe a perfectionist, overachiever, or introvert. But those terms do not adequately describe the unique struggles Sensitive Strivers face.

For instance:

  • You can be a perfectionist who has a low degree of self-awareness and not be highly accomplished in your career.
  • You can also be an “overachiever” (defined as someone who performs better or achieves more success than expected) without feeling paralyzed by mistakes (perfectionism) or facing the higher-than-normal emotional reactivity that comes with being sensitive.
  • About 30 percent of sensitive people are extroverted, meaning they gain energy by being around people.

Related: 15 Things That Lead To Frequent Emotional Burnout in Empaths and HSP

So, Are You a Sensitive Striver? 9 Signs

What Is A Sensitive Striver and Signs You Are One info
What Is A Sensitive Striver and 9 Signs You Are One

If you relate to most of the statements below, then you may be a Sensitive Striver:

1) You experience emotions to an unusual level of depth and complexity. You may cry easily from both sadness and happiness.

2) You’ve been called “intense” or “too much” because of your relentless pursuit of achievement and desire to get better or do more.

3) You’ve always had a keen ability to sense others’ feelings, needs, or insecurities, including those of parents and teachers, which may have resulted in people-pleasing versus considering your own needs.

4) You struggle to “turn off” from work mode and it can feel like there are 100 tabs open in your brain at all times.

5) You’re a stickler for details and organized to the nines, but can get too caught up in being meticulous. You may drive yourself (and those around you) crazy because you never feel like work is complete.

6) You know intellectually that most feedback is no big deal, but one negative comment can leave you feeling terrible for days as you analyze and try to interpret the information.

7) You’re deliberate and need time to think before you act. This means you excel at strategy and planning — that is, if you can move past second-guessing yourself and overthinking everything.

8) You are conscientious and try to prepare for every eventuality. But if you’re caught off-guard in a meeting or conversation, you may get easily overstimulated and question how to respond.

9) You’re able to sense conflict often before others are even aware of it, making you a master at empathetic communication. However, your constant vigilance can be emotionally and mentally draining.

What Is A Sensitive Striver and 9 Signs You Are One
What Is A Sensitive Striver and 9 Signs You Are One
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Melody Wilding, LMSW

Melody Wilding is the author of Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work. Recently named one of Business Insider’s Most Innovative Coaches for her groundbreaking work on “Sensitive Strivers”, her clients include CEOs, C-level executives, and managers at top Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Amazon, and JP Morgan, among others. Melody has been featured in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal and is a contributor to Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Psychology Today, and Forbes. Melody is a licensed social worker with a Master's from Columbia University and a professor of Human Behavior at Hunter College. Learn more at melodywilding.comView Author posts