Are you a Sensitive Striver?

by | Oct 4, 2023 | Blog

sensitive striver

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Are you currently running yourself into the ground exceeding other’s expectations of yourself at work? Or garnering resentment for the extra asks you agreed to but now regret? On the spectrum of people pleasing and overachieving, some of us are prone to feeling the desire to please and go the extra mile deeper than others. In a recent conversation with Melody Wilding, a burnout coach helping her clients cope with these struggles, we chatted about how to identify yourself as a Sensitive Striver and how to manage these tendencies if you relate. Here’s how you can harness your sensitivity to achieve success while avoiding common pitfalls.


How to Identify as a Sensitive Striver


In simple terms, a Sensitive Striver is someone who possesses a high level of sensitivity. You may experience life more deeply, feel things intensely, and are profoundly affected by both internal and external factors. You will find you are often driven by a desire for meaning, fulfillment, personal growth, and learning rather than just traditional career ladder climbing. 

If you’re wondering whether you fall into this category, here are some common signs:


  • You experience emotions deeply and in vivid detail.
  • You often pause and think deeply before taking action.
  • Being put on the spot in meetings or social situations leaves you feeling flustered.
  • You have an innate drive to exceed expectations in various aspects of life.
  • You struggle with setting boundaries and frequently overcommit, leading to burnout.


Being a sensitive striver is not a character flaw but a biological trait, one that about 20 to 30% of the population possesses.This unique combination of qualities can be a remarkable superpower when understood and harnessed effectively. However, if not managed properly, these traits can become obstacles to success.


Imposter Syndrome: The Common Challenge


One of the most common challenges faced by sensitive strivers is imposter syndrome. This happens when you struggle to internalize your very real accomplishments and skills, constantly feeling like a fraud despite their achievements. Overcoming imposter syndrome involves training your attention to focus on the positive aspects of your experiences and achievements. 


Melody recommends creating a “brag file” to document your successes and moments of strength. This practice works to retrain your brain to look for wins to build self-confidence and acknowledge your capabilities. The more you direct your focus to what you DO, do well, the more you are able to shake off the imposter syndrome.


Beware of People Pleasing


Setting boundaries and saying no can feel like a big ask for Sensitive Strivers. For many, you’ve likely acclimated to a level of tolerating something much longer than you should. It can be hard to identify where the boundaries should be set from here. 


To identify your people-pleasing tendencies, look for signs of resentment in areas where you feel taken advantage of or unappreciated. Resentment can be a powerful indicator that you need to set boundaries, have difficult conversations, or make necessary changes in your life.


Learning to Trust Yourself


One of the biggest things that I find my clients struggle with is trusting themselves. They are constantly going back and forth between, “is this the right thing for me…maybe I shouldn’t be doing this…what if I’m gonna regret it?” The spinning and the indecision often leads to feeling like you’re stuck even though you’re not. As a Sensitive Striver, you may often grapple with self-doubt and indecision, making it challenging to make career and life choices confidently. 


Learning to listen to your intuition is a skill just like anything else. Start small, whether that’s what you eat for today, what you bring up in conversation with someone, or how you choose to confront a situation. Ask yourself, “what would I do if there were no consequences here? What would I regret not doing?” These questions can be very clarifying because they remove the assumptions and the expectations we may have of other people.


Finding Support


Being sensitive is not a weakness; it’s a unique strength that can set you on a path to excellence. Learning to trust yourself, overcome imposter syndrome, and address people-pleasing tendencies are essential steps in navigating the world as a sensitive striver. By embracing your sensitivity and channeling it into positive actions, you can achieve meaningful and fulfilling growth. If you want help with is, you can join us inside the Quitter Club where we work on setting boundaries and coping with imposter syndrome so you can start building a life you love.