January 16, 2022

How to break the addiction of success

Are you addicted to success?

In other words, is your confidence dependent on whether or not you are successful?

And if you are a leader, is your team’s confidence dependent on whether or not they are successful – because you have mandated success for all of their efforts? If they fail – at anything – how will you respond?

Because addictions do that. They go from affecting us as individuals to affecting all of our relationships. An addiction to alcohol never “only” affects the individual. An addiction to gambling never “only” affects the individual. An addiction to success never “only” affects the individual.

What does an addiction to success look like? Perhaps the most basic symptom is a nagging feeling of meaninglessness whenever the emotional high of success is not present. It’s the sense of dissatisfaction that eventually replaces the euphoria of winning. The bigger the addiction to success, the greater the sense of discontent. With ourselves and with our teams.

And in this state of addiction, we then immediately seek the next major achievement. The next pinnacle. The next high.

The problem with this pursuit is that it is relentless. And it will require even greater amounts of energy, resources, and time. At the expense of giving them to the relationships that matter most. At the expense of our team mates. At the expense of our partner. At the expense of our children. Or maybe at the expense of our health – making us suddenly weak and dependent on everyone.

Addictions never “only” affect the individual.

So, how do we break the cycle? As I mentioned in my last blog, to break the addiction to success, we have to learn how to attach confidence to our efforts. We have to make success dependent on our confidence – not the other way around.

We have to learn how to be comfortable doing our best – and letting that define us. We become known less for our achievements and become known more for our dedication. Known for our discipline. Known for our patience with others as we allow (and encourage) them to do their best.

This is not easy because authentic confidence requires vulnerability and openness. It requires that we stop trying to protect ourselves from failure. Instead, we embrace failure as part of the journey. We even accept the failure of others as part of the journey. Their journey. Which, by the way, is not our responsibility. We don’t have to make sure that they are successful, because their journey belongs to them, not us – even if our addiction screams otherwise.

Here is the crazy part, though. When we release others from success/failure as we do the same thing for ourselves, we increase the chances of positive outcomes. We increase the likelihood that our efforts will produce wonderful results. They just may not be the specific result we had targeted.

A failure becomes a life-changing lesson.

A failure becomes a breakthrough innovation.

A failure becomes a beautiful relationship.

All because we let confidence – doing our best and allowing others to do their best – lead the way.

I mua. Onward and upward, my friend.

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Published by timohai

Father, widower, leader, sales enablement pro at Workday. *These are my personal views and do not officially represent Workday.

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