A few weeks ago, I was introduced to the concept of summit syndrome.
I learned that it’s something I’ve faced for as long as I can remember.
It happened during my high school and university days. It happened a ton when I worked in financial services. And, on a more personal level, it’s happened in the previous cities that I’ve lived in.
According to Harvard Business Review, summit syndrome is what happens to over-achievers. To people who thrive on challenge.
We enjoy conquering goals, learning and mastering new skills, and surpassing previous performance.
But once we get to the top of those learning curves and feel that we’ve mastered something, we get bored and restless.
so we set our sights on the next challenge
For me, those challenges have come in the form of new places to call home, new roles in my previous employment, starting a business, restarting that business in a new country, and then starting a second one.
I guess I really like a challenge!
On the surface, it seems like a good thing to always be setting our sights on the next goal, right? To keep pushing forward and striving to do better, or do more? To grow?
I always thought so, but it definitely comes at a cost.
the impact of summit syndrome
If you’re anything like me, once you reach the summit, you’ll start to feel bored. Restless. Unsure of where you’re going or what to do next.
And those feelings of uncertainty and a loss of direction can leave you feeling depressed.
With each new challenge you set yourself, the cycle repeats. And it’s really not sustainable.
what can you do instead?
Since starting my business in 2013, I definitely suffer less from summit syndrome. There is ALWAYS something to learn and something to do.
No two days are the same. Some are super intense. Others are more laid back.
I work in different places, with several different clients per month, and have so many different tasks that I need to perform for the day-to-day running of my business.
I believe that this variety definitely prevents the boredom I used to feel during employment.
But, I think it’s more than that.
1. I get to do what I want
I choose which clients I want to work with. I have flexibility with my schedule (mostly!). I decide where to put my focus. I can consume endless amounts of knowledge. I can change direction if and when I want to.
I have complete control over the majority my decisions and my actions.
I am free.
And you are, too.
2. I get to do what I love
I work with sooo many inspiring and ambitious entrepreneurs around the globe. And I gain tremendous satisfaction in helping them in their businesses. Each step they take towards their goals fills me with pride and joy.
These positive feelings are what keep me going, even through the rougher patches.
My clients give me a purpose.
If you align your business with your passion and your purpose, you may find that it combats summit syndrome. You’ll gain satisfaction from something more meaningful than reaching the summit.
3. I get to live life
Not only do I do work I love, but it allows me to make money so I can do all the other things I love!
I can afford to have my own place, which provides me the sanctuary I need to restore calm and energy into my hectic life.
There, I can also entertain friends and share my love through cooking.
I travel, giving me the opportunity to reconnect with the important people in my life, meet new ones and explore.
I have time to give to the important people who are local to me, too. In exchange, they provide the vibe, love and support that I need to fill my soul.
It satisfies me more than setting that next challenge. And it’s far more sustainable.
Find meaning in other things. Once you identify what satisfies you, nurtures you and excites you, perhaps you can start to overcome summit syndrome, too.
over to you
Can you identify with summit syndrome? Share your insights, experience and tips with us in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
is business your answer?
Have you been thinking of escaping the 9-5 and starting up your own thing?
Or you’ve already started but it’s not quite working yet?
Maybe you’ve even been going for awhile, but want to change direction?
Download a FREE copy of Venture Vitals, the 9 step checklist of what you really need to be focusing on to get your idea going or change direction in business.