Not surprisingly, a lot of high achieving people I meet are. Maybe not those that lean more to the creative side, but definitely my STEM people, my analytical brains, the left-brainers who tend to be more linear thinkers and who crave facts and logic. Is this sounding familiar?

Obviously, there are pros and cons to being left-brained or right-brained. This is not about one being better than the other. What it is about is ameliorating the down-side of either proclivity.

You are who you are and that’s what you are born to be. We don’t want to turn our left-brainers into right-brainers or vice-versa. Instead what we want to do is maximize your innate gifts and talents and minimize the down-side that comes along with them.

So, in the case of black and white thinking, so common among the analytical-minded, I want you to first think about what this way of thinking is costing you.

…….opportunity… can’t even see the opportunity in front of you because it didn’t come in the package that your brain recognizes as opportunity. Maybe you didn’t apply for that promotion or you rejected that job offer…

……innovation… can’t have innovation with rigid thinking, which is what black and white thinking really is. New ideas aren’t born out of boxes. Without new ideas and innovation business, careers, and products remain stagnant and become irrelevant.

……feeling successful….as a black and white thinker, you limit your opportunities to feel successful. As a high-achiever you already have a very high bar for yourself to begin with and then when you don’t achieve this often narrow definition of success, everything else falls outside of that and goes unnoticed. Even when you do succeed you tend not to savor it anyway and you move right on to the next drive for accomplishment. Feeling successful breeds more success, when you undercut those feelings, you limit your future successes and can start down the path to burn out.

What else is it costing you? Take some time to think and write about this for a moment.

Now, what do you do about it.

Write out some of your most commonly held black and white thoughts. Perhaps use these sentence stems to get started:

  • I am only successful if…..
  • _________________ is good and __________________ is bad.
  • _________________ is right and __________________ is wrong.
  • I am _______________________.
  • My career is ________________.

Now, do what you are good at and analyze them. Ask yourself, do I know with 100% accuracy that this is 100% of the time true?

Write down all the possible exceptions to these beliefs. This will help you dismantle them.

Then, create a new thought that reflects a more accurate belief system, but make sure you can actually buy into it. If it is too far from what you think now, you won’t believe it. You have to make slight shifts first towards your most helpful thought, otherwise your brain will just reject it. This is why affirmations don’t work, unless done correctly. You have to create ladder thoughts to get you where you want to be.

Finally, practice saying these new statements, especially when you catch yourself in your old way of thinking, but even when you don’t. Rehearse them.

It’s this repetition and rehearsal that will help you rewire your brain to think in a new way. Right now, your brain is on auto-pilot for black and white thinking. It’s a super highway that your brain takes. If you want to change that you need to bring new thoughts into consciousness and take a different road. The more often you take that road, the more often your brain will start redirecting it there until IT (the new thought) becomes the new superhighway. That is what rewiring your brain is.

Now, often when we have been doing this for years, it can become very hard to catch ourselves in our ways of thinking because they have become so natural to us. This is where coaches, accountability partners, and support systems come in. I highly recommend you get one, if you don’t already.

This is just a brief example of how I help my clients rewire their brains in order to create sustainable peak performance.  Together we heal your nervous system from years of over-achieving, rewire your brain for more powerful ways of thinking and feeling, and permanently change your habits to stop undermining your full potential and burning you out. If that’s what you need, please contact me at [email protected] for an application for my Sustainable Peak Performance program.

#peakperformance #sustainablepeakperformance #positivepsychology #executivecoach #burnout #mindset #cognitivepsychology


  • Dr. Donna Marino (PsyD)

    Psychologist & Executive Coach

    Donna Marino, PsyD, Ltd

    Dr. Donna Marino is a Psychologist and Executive Coach. She is an expert in helping high-achieving leaders move from burnout to SUSTAINABLE peak performance, so that they can fulfill their mission while also experiencing greater health, happiness, and relationships. Dr. Marino has over 20 years of experience in human potential and transformational change.

    As a high-achiever, who works with high-achievers, she discovered a collection of characteristics that when left unchecked lead to burn out, high-functioning anxiety and high-functioning depression. She coined the term for this condition, High-Achievers Syndrome (TM) and developed a protocol for dealing with it, recovering and creating SUSTAINABLE peak performance.

      Dr. Donna is also a sought after speaker and author on leadership, peak performance, and burnout recovery.