After I ran a morning seminar in Cape Town last week, one of the attendees wrote the following in an email:

“Thank you for an inspiring talk on Tuesday morning. I now realise that what I have to offer has so much more potential than what I allow myself to believe. I am reflecting on what it is that withholds me to (sic) venture into the bigger world. And the one question that keeps bugging me since your talk is – am I scared of success?”

I think that this person shows such immense personal insight and honesty and it is important that we take a moment to reflect on what success in our respective fields would mean for each of us, and the impact that this would have on our lives.  We all want more money, freedom from debt, and not having to worry about how to pay the bills at the end of the month.  But the price of success can have another side: you lose your anonymity and your ability to come and go freely in your own city.

Little things like being able to sneak off to the shops on the weekend incognito or doing the school run with your hair in a state become something that you now have to plan and prepare for – have a strategy for.  Suddenly, you go to family functions and family members want to pump you for your expertise – free of charge!  Have you ever spoken to your hairdresser about this – about how their family members all expect free hair-cuts?  Well, when you become successful and recognised in your field of specialisation, your family members will start to expect free advice and consulations!

Success means that you have to be consistent.  People build up a perception and expectations of you, and heaven forbid that you let THEIR perceptions down despite the fact that you have had very little to do with the underlying assumptions that these perceptions are built on.

As you plan your path to success, factor in managing success itself.  Think of all of those people to whom enormous success has come suddenly – like Susan Boyle – who have battled to handle it.  Here are some questions you need to consider:

  1. What will your strategy for success be?
  2. How will you  integrate success into your life?
  3. How will your partner manage it?
  4. How will your family cope with your success?
  5. How will you sustain your success and increasing public persona?
  6. The more successful you become, the more people want from you, and the more people want to be associated with you.  How are you going to manage this?

I would recommend that you work with someone like a coach or psychologist in plotting your personal Success Strategy so that you can manage the process.  If you’d like some recommendations, please contact me.

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