Your career is sailing, your business is profitable, everyone looks at you and says “WOW, I want to be like them.” I am certain many of us have read or seen such a scenario. To be the “WOW person” is wonderful. To be associated with that person is pretty good too. Imagine the WOW person and a WOW business. The perfect scenario.
Then, one day it all falls apart. Some behavior enters into your life, you start making bad business decisions, you stop listening to others about your business. We have all seen or read of those. Successful Business Leaders who start affairs with subordinate employees, Successful Business Leaders who illicitly take money from their business, Successful Business Leaders who abuse a variety of legal or illegal substances, Successful Business Leaders who take legal short cuts. One day they get caught and their self-destructive behavior brings them crashing down.
In each of those situations above, all based upon real situations I have observed in the workplace, this self-destructive behavior amounted to nothing more than a fear of success. Reckless behavior brought about through a clouding of judgment, values, personal and professional goals. It is more common than you think, is a form of anxiety and often times the individual is not aware of the behavior.
Certainly no one knowingly sabotages their career or business. Further, we as humans do a great job of rationalizing our behavior that we frequently mask the true nature of what we are doing.
In the early 1900’s Sigmund Freud wrote about this issue in a paper “Those Wrecked by Success”. Sometimes it is the act of success itself that creates this problem. Sometimes it is a rapid rise in career or business that causes this. We have all experienced the “What was I thinking” moment in our lives. Most often it involved some juvenile antic. Sometimes it was more serious. Occasionally it is a realization of success that takes you so far from where you were that you unknowingly desperately want to return to where you were.
So what do you do about it?
You need to begin by evaluating what you want and why you want it. You have to self-reflect on the goal and objective, what it takes to get there. Ask yourself these and similar questions:
What are the pro’s and con’s of this decision?
Must I give up anything to achieve this?
Do I have the right personal skills to be successful after I achieve this?
Is what I am pursuing worth the things I have to give up?
It is important to be brutally honest with yourself. There will be conflict between your ego and the truth. There will be conflict between what you think others will judge you by and what you will judge you by.
Being successful should not be something you are afraid of. Being successful should not be something you let others define. Being successful is something that is personal to you and you alone. However, you cannot truly achieve success alone; we all need support.
When finding your support it is important to find those who do not judge, who will be honest (Honesty is the single greatest point of this entire subject). Your support needs to be people who will “VOLUNTEER” their input and not those afraid to do so because it may hurt your feelings or interfere with the relationship.
Yet you must also understand one basic principle besides honesty. That principle involves what do you do to be successful. Are you happy where you are now? Are you unhappy where you are now? If you are happy then stay happy, maintain the status quo. If you are unhappy and want more, explore the questions above and determine if you truly want to go further, succeed at a different level. If so, then do what you are comfortable with to reach that goal. Just make certain your goals are achievable and not the greatest dream ever imagined.