¬†Are Past Successes Ruining Your Future?
By H. Les Brown
In order to help you to create and maintain a healthy balance in your life, we recommend seven critical life strategies as guides to get you where you're wanting to go. The first strategy, appreciation, reminds you to keep your perspective always positive, even in the face of what looks like overwhelming odds. For a well-balanced person, the cup is always half full. The second strategy, mindfulness, helps keep you aware of and in touch with your potential: your strengths, your talents, your knowledge, your skills and your experience. These two strategies are foundational for any successful professional man or woman.
To achieve success, people need a to have a lot of faith in themselves. They need to believe that their goals are achievable and that they have what it takes to make the grade. It's undeniably true that the greatest reward for keeping faith with your dream is achieving success, regardless of how you may define it. At the same time, faith in yourself and goals successfully obtained constitute two of the greatest threats to continued success. How can that be?
The reason why past success can be the greatest obstacle to future success comes down to this: you believe you can do it (in the future) because you have done it (in the past), even in the face of strengths, talents, knowledge, skills and experience that you lack. When I talk about 'social economics', I'm referring to the fact that our strengths, talents, knowledge, skills and experience are complementary to one another. That means that we need others to pitch in when and where we're not strong.
Pride is not a strength, it's a weakness. I say that because inordinate pride keeps many otherwise-successful professionals from accepting the fact that they are not self-sufficient. Refusal to accept that fact puts the professional in the untenable position of cutting him- or herself off from the very network of talent that could ensure future successes. Always beware of the thought that asking for help means that you're less that capable and, even worse, suffering from a weakness. The opposite always proves to be true.
Humility (using mindfulness to see yourself as you really are and acting accordingly) reveals itself as the one attitude that can actually guarantee success. Only very strong people can show themselves to the world, warts and all. Only people who truly believe in themselves can be comfortable asking for advice or assistance. Only these people have the energy to succeed. Everyone else wastes too much energy keeping up appearances and trying to convince the world that the invented image of themselves is the real one.
Insecure people - those who lack the inner strength to be honest with themselves and those around them - most often are the first to deride those who valiantly try to live authentic lives within the corporate world. They perceive such people as threats. If everyone lived and worked authentically, wouldn't it expose them as the frauds they fear they may be? So, the people striving for balance with authentic humility may face real obstacles. Yet, for these people, obstacles don't threaten their sense of self; they only provide another opportunity for growth (once they can get beyond the frustration of being continually blocked and ridiculed).
What will be your strategy? Will you yield to the solopreneur's temptation to believe in yourself (even against the evidence), disdain advice and assistance, and go it alone? Or, will you make your decisions based on the dual convictions that you are, indeed, capable and at the same time, in need of others to complement your strengths? The wise (and successful) professional woman or man will embrace a realistic humility that leaves the way open for others to lend their expertise and energy. Yow about you?
H. Les Brown, MA, CFCC
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Copyright ¬© 2008 H. Les Brown
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