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When Your Significant Other is a High-Achiever with Carol Setters

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Carol Setters was married to a successful CEO for many years. During that time, she noticed patterns of behavior and perspectives that she, her husband, and the high achieving couples around them struggled with. These patterns included the inability to handle power cleanly; the distractions and loss of purpose that came from having wealth; and the loss of identity that resulted from being in a relationship of high visibility.

When her marriage ended, Carol wanted to help others learn from her mistakes, but quickly realized that no one had ever seriously isolated and studied these unique issues. Working with an organizational development company, she created a program to help couples manage the effects of success on their relationships. This included a concerted focus on teaching spouses how to interact with their ambitious partners without losing their identity or getting caught in power struggles.

Today Carol is sought after internationally by high achievers and their spouses through organizations such as YPO, and works with individuals and couples around the world to help them master the very unique dynamics of high achievement. She has distinguished herself in this profession through real-life experience and carefully selected, intensely focused training programs that help her understand what makes people tick and how to help them access their true greatness.

She is the co-author of Loving a High-Achiever: Learning to Live with Ambition, Power, Wealth and Fame. In addition to the above, she is the Vice President of Business Development at Predictive Safety where she helps companies and their executives find solutions for safer workplaces.


3 Big Takeaways:

  1. High-Achievers are used to using a transactional communication style.  The workplace is a place where the high-achiever is dealing with transactional relationships. As a leader, they are constantly in problem-solving mode. Employees will come up to them with a problem or situation. Upon hearing about the situation, the high-achiever will give instructions or thoughts. They don’t have to communicate in a kind way in these transactional relationships, considering their status and title. Used to communicating this way, this becomes a problem when they automatically orient themselves to talking this way at home where their spouses are trying to communicate to them relationally, rather than in a transactional form of communication.
  2. You can speak truth to power, and your world won’t implode. Spouses of high-achievers must understand that it is okay to speak truth to power. The very thing they have been fearing is actually the very thing that can help them have a great relationship with their spouse.
  3. PRACTICE and LIVE out your values. When it comes to spirituality, having a system of beliefs is not enough. Those values have to be lived out. If they are not lived out, they are not truly helping you or the world around you. (Likewise, it is one thing to listen to this episode or read Carol’s book. However, if you don’t practice these ideas, then you will stay in the same place you are at.)


Some questions I ask:

  • Why did you write this book? (1:44)
  • What is the #1 thing that these couples struggle with? (4:21)


Sneak Peak of More:

  • Keeping a Façade in Public (8:48)
  • Being the Shadow of a High-Achiever (10:51)
  • The Evolution of Carol’s Spirituality (19:50)
  • The Power of Forgiveness (23:08)

How to stay connected with Carol?

E-mail at


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