The dangers of success

13 03 2007

Today a Google search for the word “success” turned up 321 million websites.

“Failure” got 218 million sites.

We all want to be successful. Leaders are expected to be successful.

We’ve been trained, rewarded, pushed and prodded to become successful. School, work, games and personal life, we are always focused upon success.

It is probably genetic in nature. Competition to survive demands success, and therefore the desire to succeed is an inherent quality in human beings.

Success brings recognition, wealth, favor and fame to the individual or group. All are benefits and rewards of being successful. We like the rewards and benefits….we really do.

Business loves success. In fact, business is not very tolerant of failures, especially leadership failures. To be a leader in a business environment means that you must be successful and get your objectives accomplished.

We strive for success, we really want it to happen, we plan for it, we train, we learn new things, we even modify and manipulate external factors to assure the outcome we desire. Despite all our planning, spending and preparations we are not always successful. No one is successful all the time.

We often forget that past success is not a guarantee for continued success, and that failure is always a learning experience, not always a bad outcome.

The illusion that we must always be successful, and the glory and attention that success brings is not always a good thing.

“Pray that success will not come any faster than you are able to endure it” Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe

Success, and particularly continued success, can lead an individual or organization into the following behaviours and attitudes.

  • Cult of Personality / Fame. The focus is on the personality and not on the present or future work outcomes. It becomes more about who is doing it and less about what to do.
  • Fear. Avoiding or agonizing about doing something different, new or original, “ we were great doing this…let’s keep on doing it”.
  • Can’t let go. Inability to let go of a success and move on to the next challenge. Unwillingness to say “that project and party is over…what’s next”.
  • Over Confidence. Invincible attitude leads to strategies, theories and attitudes that may provoke attacks on enemies or punish those in a weakened position.
  • Loss of control. Inability to gauge or control excess or weakness. Losing touch with the reality of the situation.
  • Yes Men. Lack of honesty from the people around you, no real challenges to ideas, methods and objectives.
  • Hangers on. Distractions and undesirables begin to fill the agenda and schedules.
  • Closing Networks. Cutting ties with old networks and individuals to move “up” in status.
  • Depression. When the happiness or emotion of succeeding does not reach previous levels of emotional highs or didn’t meet the expectations.
  • Risk. Anxiety about repeating the success may drive one to take larger risks, or to eliminate risks.

So go on seeking success, it’s the right thing to do.

Don’t take the failures too hard, learn from them, pick them apart and understand exactly why failure occurred.

Celebrate when you do succeed, take your 5 minutes in the limelight. Then put your feet back firmly on the ground and get back to work.

“Try not to become a man of success but rather become a man of value” Albert Einstein.

Related Links

Why do we fail

Leadership lesson – A Message to Garcia

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Perspective

8 01 2007

I took 2 weeks off for end of the year holiday and discovered several very important lessons.

1.  I didn’t read, answer or write any emails during the vacation, I did not turn on my cellular phone for 14 days.  Nothing negative occurred, the world did not come to an end  and I spent a great deal more time with my family and my thoughts.

2.  I had written a list of “to do” items that I considered to be of great importance upon my return.  Today I found the list to be 90% irrelevant.

3.   I spent the morning going through my hundreds of emails, and found it effortless to answer, delete and deal with a mountain of work.  It was almost fun.

4.  I have a much more relaxed and patient attitude toward the work that must get done this week/month/year.  Not that I want to do it slowly, but I understand what must be done and am going to do it, without panic and anxiety.

Perspective.   I have a different perspective on my life and work.  That’s what vacations and holidays can provide.

Break up your routine.

Give yourself the opportunity to rest, recharge and refocus.

Get a new perspective on your life, work and problems.





Three ideas for Friday

22 09 2006

1. You might be frustrated, angry or bored with the way things are done at work. There are three easy solutions.

  • Create a new method or solution and actively work to implement it. It does no good to have great ideas and keep them silent. There are millions of great ideas in the world. Very few ever get implemented. Work for the changes you want to happen.
  • Change your attitude. If you have no solution, accept the present circumstances. You are working to achieve a goal, and the current procedures and problems are part of that process. Don’t lose sight of the goal. Smile and be positive once in a while I promise it won’t kill you.
  • Find a new environment (leave your position). If it can’t be changed, and you can’t accept it, the best alternative is to remove yourself from the situation.

2. Reward yourself

  • Are you enjoying the fruits of your labor? Are you using the money, power or prestige to make yourself and your family happy?
  • Despite what some people think or strive for, work is not a world of giggles and frolic filled moments. Work is work. It can be fun, and it can be very rewarding an pleasant, but it is never better than a vacation or your free-time.
  • They say that some people live to work, and that others work to live. What camp are you in?

3. Identify what gets you excited and enthusiastic.

  • Finding and identifying the events, circumstances or ideas that get you excited is the first step in motivating yourself and others.
  • Excitement and enthusiasm are contagious. Spread it around

Related Links

Things you should do on Friday afternoon 

10 Things you should NEVER do on Friday afternoon





Long hours at work can kill you

30 08 2006

Long hours at work can lead to hypertension and death. A study of over 24,000 workers in California by reseachers at the University of California has found that working over 40 hours a week has a direct relationship to higher blood pression and hypertension. Link

The Pope announced that too much work can lead to “hardness of the heart”. He advises that more time should be spent on reflection, meditation, contemplation. Link

What’s the real message here?

Become more efficient. Get the same work done in less time.

Think and plan your work, work SMARTER not HARDER.

Slowing down does not mean being lazy. It requires planning and discipline, and these take time.

Take more time to enjoy life and family, adjust your priorities.

If you are in a leadership position, find out why your people are working consistent overtime, and intervene. You could be saving their lives and improving their health.

Related Links

Pope says don’t work too hard

Long hours lead to high blood pressure

High blood pressure statistics