Have you ever read an article about some nameless face who had a RIDICULOUS challenge thrust in their way…and they hit the JACKPOT? You read these all the time…feel good stories about perseverance and overcoming insurmountable odds. We’ve all read them…we live for them…and we idolize the people who have climbed those mountains and laid claim to the view from the top.
Maybe you even wonder why YOUR story isn’t the one being written. Why books, articles…blogs aren’t being written to dissect your success, your failures, and your recovery? Why people don’t come to you because you seem to know the answers?
Let’s face it…you fight battles every day. What makes one person’s victory any more glorious than another’s? I’ll tell you why. Perspective.
Let’s look at business…Everyone can’t be Richard Branson. There will only ever be one Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Warren Buffet…Zuckerberg. We love to read their stories. What I don’t understand is…to what end?
It’s like watching a movie. Here you are, watching a great movie, where the protagonist fights against all odds (there it is again), to overcome some obstacle, capture the heart of a love interest, or complete an outlandish feat to take the prize and walk off into the sunset.
Let’s say you connect with the film’s message…something about the story resonates with what you are currently struggling with, and you vow to change your situation and walk off into your OWN sunset, prize in hand. Yeah….well, it doesn’t work that way. Mostly, because we don’t all have a THEME SONG blaring in our heads as we cut away to a montage of exciting successes that quickly propel us through our daily obstacles on our way to eventual success and glory. Life…personal growth…It takes time. And time…is like water on the rock. Unless you shift the flow, or move the rock, it will wear…you…down.
Ok – Big deal, you say. Everyone know’s this! And I say…if you know it…why do you still sit under that flow?
Complacency: From a business perspective…complacency will destroy you. Think about how long you have been doing the SAME THING. You are an expert…you know exactly how long it takes to do your job, and you know exactly how much effort it takes to complete your tasks. Meanwhile…what happens if some other part of the business is suffering? You aren’t going to be able to help the company shift and address a threat, because it would require you to do something different…which would require you to pull your head out of the sand and look directly at the threat about to run you down. Why does this happen? Fear…of bad news, of change….of Failure.
Fear of Failure: Paralyzing for a whole host of reasons. MOSTLY it’s because it may have a material impact on our FINANCIAL well-being. Think about it…most folks work for other people and companies because they may be AFRAID to take the risk (monetarily) to run their own company…what would happen if they failed? What if someone didn’t believe in them and invest? Some take a more pragmatic approach…they have no interest in MOST of what it takes to run a business…they simply want to manage a portion of it, or fulfill a role. But what happens if they don’t try to improve HOW they perform in their role, or understand more about how their role impacts other roles…and make the necessary adjustments? In office parlance, if everyone stays in their own cubicles, heads down, and does their job PERFECTLY…they may still fail, because no one was looking at the threat bearing down on them. So what are they afraid of? Maybe…Success.
Fear of Success: Is it mad to suggest that people are afraid of success? Well, look at what happens when you succeed. From a complacency perspective…you’re screwed. Orders may grow by 20%…overnight! If your job is in order management…say goodbye to your 4:30 cut off time…better start enjoying dinner at your desk. If you are a hiring manager, you need to fill more sales roles to handle the business…more people means more thinking, more planning, more personnel issues. If you are in service and delivery, more project management issues, subcontracting, resource management. In sales…more quota…more risk.
The term “Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t” applies. We need to make decisions EVERY day. Time is fluid…it ripples, and in business we should never expect to wake up and do the same thing every day…simply because of cause and effect. Every decision creates a ripple. Choose to do nothing…you may work yourself out of a job. If fear of failure is your motivation, then you become a prophet.
Time to wrap this up. The stories about great success are focused mainly on the result…they glory that is achieved AFTER all of the dirt, hard work and sweat. We never really know about the insecurities, the doubt and self loathing that most go through as they struggle with a mountainous task…and the sheer amount of time and stress it takes to succeed. You can’t really read about hard work…you have to experience it.
We also don’t really know what goes through the minds of people who seem to always succeed. People with the Midas Touch, so to speak. Some people simply don’t understand or care about risk, and therefore succeed because it doesn’t occur to them to hesitate because of fear. It is pointless to try to guess.
Maybe the reason you don’t see your name splashed across the cover of a book, an article, a magazine is simply choice. You choose not to expose yourself in that way. That’s ok. Just be aware that if you don’t try to succeed, you put your fear front and center, and rely on hope to carry you. Or worse…someone else.
Right now…each of us has a challenge that has been placed in front of us. Make a decision. If it requires doing something different to overcome it, then do something different. Embrace it…and expect the challenge to push you out of your comfort zone.
Shift your view.