Jullien Gordon admitted he was a workaholic, his personal experience led him to conduct a research and conduct an experiment on himself to understand the difference between high performers and workaholics.
Jullien Gordon is a nationally recognized speaker and founding partner of New Higher, and workaholism, he says, looks similar to high performance on the outside — but they’re actually ‘nothing’ alike.
The Big Difference
According to Gordon, the huge difference is how the individual feels on the inside about who they are in relationships to their work. A high performer works hard in “healthy sustainable ways and feels happy and inspired,” he says. Meanwhile, a workaholic “works hard in unhealthy unsustainable ways and feels unhappy and burned out.”
Three Major Difference Between High Performer And A Workaholic
#1 High Performer Aims At Results, Workaholic Stays Busy
A high performer’s #1 goal is to do business and achieve results. If they can’t see a way to create value in the moment, they facilitate or strategize instead. They know that like the economy, business comes in waves, therefore, they get ready during the dips so they can capitalize during the upswings.
A workaholic’s #1 goal is to be busy. Workaholics fill any space in time with busy work because they feel insecure doing nothing. The insecurity comes from not knowing their value. They believe that the busier they are, the more important they’d seem. As a result, they find a way to be busy even when it’s not busy season.
#2 High Performer Gives 100% Right Times VS Workaholic 110% All Times
According to Gordon, a high performer knows when to turn it up. When their number is called, they give everything they have. They don’t buy into the illusion of 110%. They know that 110% is unsustainable. Instead, they focus on increasing their capacity so that their 100% is better than the competition’s 110%.
A workaholic thinks “turn down for what?” They hustle, grind, and go H.A.M. all the time. They have difficulty prioritizing what’s important, therefore, everything is important in their mind.
#3 Proactive and Intentional VS Reactive and Unintentional
A high performer is proactive about their time and work. They design their day and anchor the most meaningful and important things in time first, and then they allow fires and other unplanned events to fill in the rest of their day. They don’t allow distractions to deter their strategy.
A workaholic is reactive about their time and work. They easily get distracted by minor or negligible details; unplanned events emails and other distractions that arise throughout the day. If and when all the minutia gets addressed, they try to do what’s most meaningful.
#4 High Performer Put Self First VS Workaholic Put Self Second
“A high performer puts themselves first because they know that by doing so, it allows them to serve others at a higher level” says Gordon. At times it appears to be selfish, but it’s actually selfless because they want to give first-class service to those they work with and for.
A workaholic puts others before themselves. “This appears to be selfless, but it’s not sustainable. When we constantly give more than we have and never take time to replenish our source, we end up depleted.” This behavior is also driven by the good intention of service, but the desire to be needed and be the hero counters that intention