Achievers and Connectors

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“I love those connections that make this big old world feel like a little village.” — Gina Bellman

If the Achiever in you is strong, great.  Your strong work ethic, high productivity, and high performance will serve you well.

But when it comes to relationships, be sure to work at your cooperation, presence, and empathy.

If the Connector in you is strong, great.  Your ability to relate to others will serve you well.

But when it comes to relationships, be sure to work at taking care of your own needs, avoid becoming a people pleasure, and don’t get overly concerned with what others think.

In the book, The Love Fight: How Achievers & Connectors Can Build A Marriage that Lasts, Dr. Tony Ferretti and Dr. Peter Weiss share insights into how Achievers and Connectors can build better relationships by understanding the differences, knowing what to expect, and working on key areas of improvement.

Achievers vs. Connectors

Achievers want to change the world.  Connectors want to bring the world along with them.

Via The Love Fight:

“Both achieving and connecting are valuable but distinct aspects of most individuals’ personalities.  Achieving can be expressed as the desire to get things accomplished, while connecting is the desire to be in community with others.  Although we do not view them as complete opposites, we believe they are often conflicting, and we think that few individuals possess both characteristics to a high degree.  For discussion purposes, you can envision them at opposite ends of a continuum.”

The Drive for Achievement Can Cause Failure in Interpersonal Relationships

The drive for achievement is both a blessing and a bane.   While it can be helpful for achieving success in some areas of life, that same drive can also be counterproductive for relationships.

Via The Love Fight:

“Like other personality traits, sometimes the achieving or connecting  trait can be so strong as to be in some ways counterproductive to the individual.  The central theme of this book is that the achievement drive is so strong in some individuals that, while they may become very successful in their careers, this same drive causes failure in their interpersonal relationships

Connectors, on the other hand, are more motivated to be in relationship with others.  They have an internal drive to be part of a family, a church, or other formal or informal community.  Friends and personal relationships are very important to them.  Of course, Connectors build careers and achieve things as well, but their success doesn’t come at the expense of their relationships.

Both achieving and connecting are valuable but distinct aspects of most individuals’ personalities.”

Achievers

What is an Achiever?  An Achiever is somebody who is driven by accomplishment.

Via The Love Fight:

“An Achiever is a person whose identity is built around accomplishments.  Their personal sense of value comes from their accomplishments—often with an implied ‘what have you done for me lately?’ They may feel a relentless internal pressure to produce and aren’t able to gain self-worth from other sources of activities.

Achievers get satisfaction from accomplishments—the bigger the better.  They relish challenges and have a strong orientation toward problem solving, but often lack interpersonal skills.  Achievers may prefer to ‘Do it myself to make sure it’s done right.’  Avoiding delegation and difficult conversations, they often expect others to fall in behind or get out of the way as they march down the path of production. 

Although Achievers may make a great deal of money, achievement is the primary motivator, and the money either comes along with success or represents a way of keeping score of what’s been accomplished.”

The Upside of Achievers

Achievers are, with their personality characteristics, poised for high-performance and a life of learning and growth.

Via The Love Fight:

“A high drive to achieve has obvious value.  A strong work ethic, high productivity, and top performance lead to success in many arenas.  Achievers work very hard to get ahead in life and apply themselves fully to accomplish great things. 

Goal-oriented, driven, and perseverant through challenging times, Achievers often view demanding tasks as opportunities for growth

Achievers are the people you want at your company.  They take initiative, are committed to a project from start to finish, and are open to learning as a means of improving.  Achievers’ motivation and drive are powerful traits that can serve them well in many aspect of their lives.”

The Downside of Achievers

With the need to achieve, Achievers can miss chances to stop and smell the roses, or may have a tough time turning “off” or taking time to relax.

Via The Love Fight:

“But Achievers can have a difficult time turning off their intensity, drive, and determination.  Setting high (even unrealistic) standards for themselves and others, Achievers can be all-or-nothing individuals unable to approach many issues with moderation. 

Typically they are usually thinking about work or other items on their to-do list.  Relaxing or taking some time off may be very hard for an Achiever unless some major success has been achieved and nothing else is pressing.

Some Achievers are also perfectionists, which further complicates their already intense approach to life.”

Achievers and Relationships

Achievers can improve their relationships by focusing on cooperation, compromise, and empathy.  Otherwise, their achievements and accomplishments will fall short when it comes to building lasting relationships with the very people they care about.

Via The Love Fight:

“In general, Achievers like to be their own boss, in charge of their own destiny, while striving to maintain an image of competence and control. 

They are self-reliant, independent, competitive, and self-critical. 

Achievers also tend to be analytics, logical, and rational in their approach to problems and conflict.  Unfortunately, some of these characteristics are not conductive to relationships, which require cooperation, compromise, and empathy.”

Connectors

Connectors are at their best when they do what they do best – connecting with other people.   They know how to relate and they find their energy by sharing their feelings, hopes, and dreams, and aspirations with others.

Via The Love Fight:

“Connectors, by contrast, find meaning in their relationships with others.  They experience joy through emotionally intimate relationships—specifically, deep and emotionally intimate relationships—specifically, deep and personalities with family and friends.”

The Upside of Connectors

People are social creatures, so Connectors have a lot of upsides when it comes to health, happiness, and well-being.

Via The Love Fight:

“Being connected to people in this deep and meaningful way is a good thing, individuals in healthy relationships with others tend to have the highest levels of happiness, manage stress better, and live longer.  They also tend to have better physical health and experience less loneliness and other negative emotions.

Creating deep relationships requires time, energy, and attention to others’ emotions and needs, and Connectors are willing to make the investment. 

Practically all of us feel some need to belong, but Connectors are better than average at relating to others, and they expend more effort in the process.  Connectors share their feelings more openly than most people.  Often social, outgoing, and extroverted, Connectors gain energy from being with others and experience warm feelings from togetherness. 

They seek to be of service to others and to make good friends, the kind of friends that stick with you in bad times as well as the good.”

The Downside of Connectors

Connectors need to be careful not to lose themselves in the process of connecting with others.

Via The Love Fight:

“However, sometimes the need for connection can be taken too far.  Some Connectors may be overly dependent on relationships in order to feel fulfilled. 

Building their identity on their relationships, they can become people pleasers and approval seekers, placing themselves last in an effort to connect with others. 

Their self-worth comes to depend on the judgment of others.  Praise and recognition keeps them feeling well, but perceived or anticipated rejection can overwhelm them with negative feelings.”

As with anything, moderation and balance seem to be the key.

You can balance your need to achieve by improving your ability to connect.

And you can balance your need to connect by improving your conviction.

As an Achiever, work on your cooperation, empathy, and presence, and prioritize your relationships.

As a Connector, work on your sources of self-worth from the inside out, avoid falling into a people pleaser trap, and nurture your own needs, without overly depending on others, or expecting too much.

By balancing the upsides of Achievers and Connectors and by reducing the liabilities, your relationships can thrive in work and life.

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