I don’t think any of the Striving Styles embrace the spirit of the holidays more than the Performer. Everything from the enjoyment of shopping to organizing and attending social events brings them an opportunity to get their need for recognition met. They are truly energized by making the holidays exciting for others while at the same time, enjoying the limelight when they do it.

If you have a Performer in your life, you know they have to go that extra distance to make everything look beautiful – from gifts to Christmas trees to place settings. A fully engaged Performer Style sprinkles stardust on the holidays, making it a bigger, better experience for all concerned. They do it with such ease that while family, friends and colleagues admire them for doing it, they don’t offer any help and come to expect the Performer will just keep doing everything for them. They can be taken advantage of and instead of others feeling grateful to them; they start acting as though they are entitled to be taken care of by the Performer.

A Performer client recounted her experience of coming face to face with the fact that no one was even aware of how much she was doing with such little help. During the holidays she had attended multiple social events while continuing to work and make sure the appropriate presents were bought for her employees, extended family, husband and two children. Everyone was well taken care of and her generosity in giving was obvious. She threw a party in her home for her staff, a group of 24 people, organizing and making sure every detail was perfect. The staff loved it, had a fabulous time and then all left without helping clean up. They gave her recognition for the great event, but no help.

There were other indicators that she was being taken advantage of, but her wakeup call came when she arrived home exhausted on Christmas Eve after picking up just a few extra gifts, to find that her stay-at-home husband had not finished wrapping presents and had left it for her to do. At midnight, she was still up wrapping presents (she had to put ribbons and notes on each present so that her children would delight in the experience). Crying her eyes out, she realized how little people saw the woman who was so attached to being recognized and admired, that no one felt they needed to take care of her.

The reason why it is so easy for Performers to overextend during the Holidays is that they are so focused on meeting their Striving need that they are not aware of any others. The Performer is very image driven and they are constantly managing and maintaining it for fear they may be exposed as an impostor. They spend little time thinking about their other needs, or reflecting on how they feel. They simply move on and detach from their self. Their energy goes into their image, their public self, and the persona they think others want them to be. They lose sight of the reality of who they actually are.

Waking up to the reality that no one is really seeing them is only the first step in a difficult process for Performers. They can become so alienated from themselves that they no longer know what they truly want, or what their real feelings or interests are. They can lose touch with themselves so much that there seems to be a splitting of themselves, an inner state in which quite literally one side of them no longer knows what the other is doing or feeling. When the two sides connect, they don’t know what to do with themselves. They have difficulty tolerating their emotions and try hard to return to the state of detachment. Like my client who cried alone in pain and frustration, she awoke the next day, put a smile on her face and began the performance of a happy wife and mother. Performers quickly rationalize their emotions and go back to energizing their image to avoid their pain.

Performers do very well in psychotherapy, and I have many of this Striving Style in my practice. This gives them a safe place to explore their emotions and recognize the state of detachment they live in. It also allows them time to accept and tolerate their humanness and connect it with what is authentically unique and special about them. They will still love to be centre stage; however, their survival will no longer depend on it.

During the holidays, it is important for Performers to check in with a trusted friend who will give them honest feedback about what they are feeling. They also need to check their budget and see if they can actually afford to be as generous as they want to be seen.

Author's Bio: 

Anne Dranitsaris, Ph.D, brings a lifetime of study, “psychological savvy” and hands-on clinical experience to helping people become who they are meant to be. Her interest in creating mental health, coupled with her interest in personality systems and the dynamics of human behavior, has influenced the development of the Striving Styles Personality System.

Holistic Approach to Learning

Driven by a vision for a holistic approach to emotional and physical health, Anne chose educational pursuits that aligned with her passion. At the same time, she studied at mainstream universities such as Ryerson (Business Management), University of Toronto (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Religious Studies) and ADR Institute of Ontario (Alternate Dispute Resolution). Anne looked for training institutes that would help her integrate the cognitive, emotional and physical approaches to healing the mind and body. This education included: receiving her degree as a Registered Massage Therapist; graduating from the International School for Spiritual Sciences (Montreal); psychotherapy certification from the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy (D.C.T.P); studies at the Masterson Institute for Disorders of the Self (New York); and a Ph.D. in Therapeutic Counseling from the Open International University for Complementary Medicine (WHO).

Committed to lifelong learning, Anne has completed postgraduate programs in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Spiritual Self-Schema Development, Brain and Behavior and Emotional Intelligence (EQ-i), and she has been a long-time follower of the work of Carl Jung. Anne continues to stay educated and informed about recent advances in neuroplasticity, brain development, mindfulness and social intelligence.

Executive Coaching & Corporate Therapy

Anne became one of Toronto’s first Executive Coaches in the late 1980’s. She could see the direct application of the therapeutic tools to the corporate world, which drove her to expand her work into that realm. Anne began using the title of corporate therapist to indicate the depth with which she worked with leaders and teams developing emotional intelligence, behavioral competence and relationship skills in organizations. She has also used her unique approach to work through dysfunctional relationships, partnerships, teams and boards.

Prior to starting SKE, Anne built several successful companies including Sage Developmental Resources, an organizational consulting firm focused on behavioral alignment, and the Centre for Mindful Therapies, which offered customized Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Programs to organizations and individuals. In addition, she worked extensively with Heather on Several global leadership development initiatives for Caliber's clients, providing both individuals coaching and facilitating high performance team development at the executive and senior management levels.

Sought After Writer

A prolific and frequently cited writer on the impact of behavior, emotional intelligence and personality styles in the workplace, Anne has written a series of books on personality type based on Jung’s theory of Psychological Type. The Personality Profile Series© books are used to help individuals in coaching and counseling to understand themselves, their environment, their partners, and their children. Anne's latest series of books, The Jung Typology Series©, focuses on understanding the impact of personality type on employees, teams and leaders.

Anne has been featured in the media — on radio and on television — as well as in a wide range of national and international publications including USA Today, The New York Post, Huffington Post, The Toronto Star, NOW Magazine, The Globe and Mail and TIME.com. Additionally, her work has appeared in three issues of “O” Magazine within the past year, with her article on Striving Styles being included in the “O” Annual as one of the year’s top articles. She has recently been contracted to write for an upcoming issue of “O”.