Chasing success off a cliff

Chasing success off a cliff

Everyone wants to be successful. Your definition of what that success looks likes varies from person to person, but we all want to be good at and succeed in the things that matter most to us. So if we define our own meaning of success, then why are so many people successful and still miserable?

Going beyond comparing your status level to others, chasing success too far can lead you right off a cliff and into valley filled with unhealthy mental thoughts, depression, and an unrealistic view of yourself. This valley makes you feel defeated when you are actually quite the opposite. 

One more thing

As technology, people and society evolve, more people begin to have the “one more thing” mentality enter their system.  It’s the chase for a healthy goal and then as soon as you meet that goal you chase after a new one or one that is a little further out. When we hit these goals, it stimulates the pleasure parts of our brains and we want another hit. 

Drugs are an obvious example of continuing to come for more but look at areas like work and even hobbies like video games.

Your work can become a chase for recognition and promotions, “As soon as I get my next promotion, I’ll be happy.” It then happens and six months later you aren’t happy anymore. In video games, it’s the open worlds and carrot on a stick model in games that get people to play them in an unhealthy way. Open worlds like Red Dead Redemption, Skyrim, and others leave the game open so that there is always one more thing on the horizon without an endpoint.  Fortnite is often criticized for its rewards system that keeps you hooked into playing the game. 

Be sure to, “Stop and smell the rose,” during your journey. Appreciate and celebrate your achievement and success with those that are important to you. Have the self-awareness to know that you are chasing that one-more-thing mentality and build the willpower and commitment to change direction. 

The poison in the well and unobtainable goals

Once we go down the one-more-thing path, we can take it a step further and start setting unobtainable goals. Often financially focused but they can be materialistic and status goals as well.  (A certain size house, social status or following online). When you set these goals and you fail to meet them you begin to poison the rewards and pleasure parts of your brain. 

You no longer feel satisfied with goals and accomplishments that once made you happy because you didn’t hit the unobtainable goal that you set out for yourself. 

Have long term stretch goals but focus more on the short term goals to keep a healthy perspective. Make sure that they are realistic and obtainable with practical steps to get to where you want to go. 

Change your goals

A healthy strategy may be to totally change your goals and priorities from time to time to keep you from going over the cliff. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that this is likely one of the reasons why I do this in my own life. 

I spent three years in the running world, where at one point I did over 40 races in a year and moved from not running at all to running a 50-mile race. I then drastically changed my focus to volunteering and professional development. It doesn’t mean I don’t run anymore, it just means I have changed my focus so it’s not a driving focus in my time and commitments right now. If I had continued to push it further at the time, it would have only been an unhealthy thing for me. 

Set some good stretch goals that are realistic and commit to re-evaluating your interests and passions. Cleaning the palate with a different set of goals expands your experience in life and overall satisfaction.  An example of this would be to set a stretch promotion goal. Once you get that promotion, stop to evaluate what goal you can set in a different part of your life. Perhaps its to expand your education, a travel goal or a goal to serve others in your city. 

Success is a good thing until you chase it so hard that it becomes unhealthy. Use your circle of friends and family to keep you accountable and on the right track with your personal expectations. Don’t defeat yourself with unrealistic expectations of yourself.  Enjoy the success that you have!

Make a better tomorrow. 

Success vs. Excellence

Success vs. Excellence

Success always follows excellence. 

Chick-fil-a is quite a different fast-food establishment. They are incredibly profitable, they have ridiculously long, but fast, lines at lunch, and the company can’t open them fast enough. They are also closed on Sunday forgoing even more profits in order for their people to rest and go to church. 

What makes CFA so successful is that they chase excellence in everything that they do. They are more concerned about delivering a high-quality, consistent experience than partnering up with the latest movie or kids’ show out there. CFA’s changes to their menu are very intentional and they do little limited-time fad items that so many other chains rely on for traffic. 

Chick-fil-a is so successful because they ignore the competition and focus on their own level of excellence. 

Success is measured against others. 

Success is very often tied to a measurement against something or someone else. You can see it in all stages of your life. 

  • What was your academic rank in high school?
  • How did you or your team place in a sporting event or tournament?
  • How many other candidates did you beat to get the job?
  • How did you do compared to last year’s numbers?
  • Where are you on the average salary scale?
  • How much is your house compared to the average listing in the city?

These are just a few of the ways that we measure success in our lives and in our leadership. The items listed above aren’t bad things. The problem with aiming for success is two-fold. First, while success can create more success it also creates a cycle where you are never truly satisfied. Secondly, success might not be your best. 

Excellence is measured against yourself. 

Shooting for excellence requires a bit more discipline. You can’t become distracted by what others are doing or what success they are having. You and your team have to focus on being the best that you can be. Excellence is about bringing out maximum potential and consistency in what you do. If a runner eats well, trains hard, and represents him or herself well before and after the race are they a failure if they come in fourth? That person will walk away with a sense of accomplishment because they gave it their all. A person just looking for success walks away with disappointment. 

What you and your team do should be measured up against your potential, not what others have done or even what you’ve done in the past. Once you shoot for excellence, your goals begin to fall into place and you have a greater level of satisfaction. 

Success is not bad. I want you to be successful in life. Chose the right mindset as you work towards your goals. Excellence will always set you apart in how you represent yourself, your company, and your customers will notice. 

Make a better tomorrow. 

**Today we celebrate our 150th episode of Passing the Baton Leadership Podcast. Thank you all who have supported us for over three years. If you don’t get the podcast, you can download it for free at all major podcast outlets or listen to it on your CPU by clicking one of the links below. In a way, it feels like we are just getting started and have several new things in the works for the future.