Six Qualities of an HSP in the Workplace

STRIVE: THE SIX CORE QUALITIES OF AN HSP AT WORK

Though 20% of the population identify as being a highly sensitive person, every HSP has unique traits that make them who they are. 

However, when it comes to being an HSP in the workplace, there are six core qualities. These six qualities form the acronym STRIVE and exist on a spectrum. That means, there are some that might resonate with you more than others. However, the goal is to feel balance in each of these qualities based on your specific needs. 

Below is an overview of each quality and what happens when the quality is out of balance: 

1. Sensitivity 

Processing complex information comes naturally. You’re highly perceptive and have a heightened response to what’s happening within and around you. You strive best with structure and routine. Without structure and balance throughout your day, you can easily get overstimulated, especially if you have a lot on your plate. 

2. Thoughtfulness

You are naturally self-aware, reflective, and highly intuitive. You’re able to pick up on subtleties  and connect the dots, which leads to original and creative ideas. But this deep level of thought often leads to your brain racing. You might also overanalyze day-to-day experiences, and your above-average self-awareness can cause too much self-criticism.

3. Responsibility 

People can depend on you and they trust you. They often go to you for support. You hate letting people down even if it means you have to sacrifice your needs to meet their expectations. If you’re constantly pleasing others, you tend to burn out quicker and often feel exhausted. 

4. Inner Drive

You strive to meet and exceed expectations in every aspect of your life. You care deeply about the work you do and are motivated by making an impact. You get excited when you hit goals and knock tasks off your to-do list. However, you might have a tendency to set goals that are unrealistic, putting very high standards on your success. 

5. Vigilance 

You are very attuned to changes, especially in your environment. At work, you pick up on your boss’s body language to the general mood of a meeting. You listen well and have an understanding of what people need. But being on high alert all the time can be extremely draining. It can also cause your fight-or-flight response system to be out of balance, making you feel threatened, even in safe situations. 

6. Emotionality 

You are highly empathetic and feel deeply. You feel positive emotions with much richness. However, it can be the same with unpleasant feelings, like annoyance and disappointment, which causes you to dwell on the bad feelings for too long. In some cases, even the positive emotions are felt so deeply that you end up feeling overstimulated. 

SIGNS YOUR BEST QUALITIES ARE OUT OF BALANCE

Below compares how the common traits of each quality can be balanced or out of balance.

SENSITIVITY 

Not balanced at all Completely balanced
Anxious and overwhelmed all the timeCalm and composed demeanor (even under some pressure)
Have a hard time relaxing Allow yourself to have enough rest and downtime
Feeling tension and fear in the body Able to use intuition as a decision-making tool

THOUGHTFULNESS

Not balanced at all Completely balanced
Struggle to make simple decisionsReflective and able to think deeply and act purposefully
Plagued by worry and imposter syndrome Practice constructive self-talk and has solid self-confidence 
Get bogged down in unnecessary detailsAble to develop and share creative, innovative, and nuanced ideas 

RESPONSIBILITY 

Not balanced at all Completely balanced
Spend too much time keeping people happy Dedicated, but with strong boundaries and less people-pleasing
Feel like you’re never doing enoughDelegate effectively and empower others to solve problems
Struggle to say no or ask for help Maintain personal standards for excellence without caving to pressure

INNER DRIVE 

Not balanced at all Completely balanced
Overworked and prone to burnout Has an open mind to learning new things, growing, and advancing 
Tries to tackle too many goals and obligationsAble to create SMART goals that have personal meaning 
Focused on outcomes and external rewardsMake progress while managing energy levels

VIGILANCE

Not balanced at all Completely balanced
Overworked and prone to burnout Has an open mind to learning new things, growing, and advancing 
Tries to tackle too many goals and obligationsAble to create SMART goals that have personal meaning 
Focused on outcomes and external rewardsMake progress while managing energy levels

EMOTIONALITY

Not balanced at all Completely balanced
Derailed my intense emotions most of the timeEmbrace positive emotions without guilt
Often pretend everything is okayAbility to recognize and work through deep emotions
At the whim of an ever-changing stream of feelingsRespond to emotions with acceptance

ASSIGNMENT

Click here to take the STRIVE assessment (you can print it out or write your scores on a piece of paper). Follow the instructions on how to score. Hold onto your scores until our next session. Together, we will plot your scores on what’s known as the “Balance Wheel” and identify the biggest growth areas to focus on.