Do you know or have heard of someone that manages to lose something like 200 lbs (if you have ever worked at losing weight, I’m sure you can imagine what it takes to lose this much), only to gain it all back afterwards?
In hockey, there is a saying called “the second season curse”, where a rookie player that excels in their first year, falls flat on their face in their second year. It has happened countless number of times, thus the term “curse” was used for it.
Donald Trump, the real estate tycoon, made billions of dollars in the 80’s, only to lose everything in the 90’s, owing billions in loans he had personally guaranteed. One time, he passed a homeless person on the streets of New York and thought “this person is $1 billion richer than me”.
Each one of these three cases exhibit a behavioral pattern that many people that find themselves succeeding deal with: The very success that has made them work so hard, has caused them to fail miserably.
Quite ironic isn’t it?
Not knowing how to properly deal with success can turn out to be your biggest downfall. Here is what happens:
They let their guards down. Once the success is reached, they sit back and ride the wave. Problem is, a wave doesn’t last very long before it blends back into the ocean. Let’s look at the example of the person that lost weight. This person, having now reached their goal, feels the need to start eating a little less better, and doing a little less exercise, thinking it won’t hurt them and it’s well deserved. Soon, this trend builds up, and next thing you know, they are right back down the ladder, with all the weight back on.
Overconfidence. They feel that they can’t do no wrong once at the top. Let’s look at Donald Trump. After having built his empire, he took his eyes off the ball. Being so overconfident that nothing could take him out of his spot, he decided to spend more time at fashion shows looking to date supermodels than to be making new deals for his business. This cost him dearly to say the least.
Lack of creativity. When at the pinnacle of their success, they stop being cutting-edge and innovative…the very behavior that brought them to the dance in the first place. For the hockey player, having dazzled everyone with their skills in their first year, now in the second year, they feel like they have nothing to prove, aren’t as hungry anymore, and thus lack the innovation and the creativity that made them score all those amazing goals in year one.
In each of these cases, this one statement resonates in their head:
“Why strive for success, I am already there!”
This thinking is exactly what causes people that have great success to lose it all. Now, you may be already successful in your own right, but let’s review what you can do to help yourself so as to avoid falling in such a trap where you can potentially & realistically lose everything you’ve worked for:
Success is a journey. Change your notion that success is a destination. Success is not a “place” that you arrive to and then can put your luggages down, sit back and drink margaritas all day long! Thinking that way will get you results like the ones I mentioned above. Success is the process itself. Success is the journey towards your goals. You will not believe how altering your perspective of success like this will change your life. In other words, you can’t be on your way to being successful. You are successful or you are not. Doing what you love to do or working hard towards a goal of yours, is being successful in and of itself. Don’t confuse reaching a goal with being successful.
Update your goals. Now as you reach your goal, it is highly important to update/change it to a new one. Whenever you accomplish something, always push yourself towards a new adventure. People let their guards down and stop being creative when they have no proper goals to aim for. The more you give yourself goals, the more you will be on the “journey” instead of sitting back at the destination. The act of working towards a goal makes you successful, so you will ensure that you always remain successful, since you will always be striving to reach your next goal.
Challenge yourself. What creates overconfidence within the realms of success is the abundance of comfort. The more comfortable you are, the less alert you will be. This is why competition is great for business (you can never be too comfortable in business), and this system has provided us with some of humanity’s best inventions. Always look to challenge your abilities. Whether it’s via competitors, or standards you keep raising about yourself. Push the envelope, take yourself out of your comfort zone, and watch your creativity soar. The more you keep challenging yourself, the more you will remain on the road of success on this incredible journey 😉