Myth: Success is a Gift that Some Receive and Other Do Not
A close friend of mine shared with me the other day that her husband had his annual review. He was hoping for a year-end bonus and expected at least a “cost-of-living” pay raise. He got neither. In his disappointment, his response to her was, “Well, some get what they want and others don’t.” The same is pretty much true when it comes to overall success, isn’t it? Think of all the bosses, colleagues, friends and acquaintances in your life. Are there those for whom success seems effortless? They always get the raise, the bonus and the promotion; not to mention the gorgeous house, brilliant kids and great teeth. The evidence is clear – success is a gift that some receive and others do not. Right? Wrong!
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! (Can you tell that I’m personally invested in this one?) Success is not something you receive, nor is it a minion of fate that favors some over others. That myth is toxic. I know, because it impacted the direction of my personal and professional life for years.
My bio says that I have more than 20 years experience in creating successful outcomes within business operations, strategic sales, organizational development, finance and human resources management. What it does not tell you is that I spent at least 10 of those years chasing success and being miserable because I never found it. Yes, I had what it took to “create successful outcomes” in teams, departments and companies; but, it seemed, I could not create successful outcomes in my own life.
So I began to believe that success was something that was given to others. As I mentioned above, this belief was toxic; it fueled envy and self-pity. But it also was tempting; it absolved me of personal responsibility for the state of my life.
How did I get from that dark place to where I am now – a happy and successful business owner? That story I share in the upcoming, second volume of The Gratitude Book Project: 365 Day of Gratitude. But I can tell you that the change in my life began when I stopped focusing on what I wanted and began paying attention to what others needed.
No one is given success, but I know that success can come through giving.
As we near the holidays – the time of bonuses, promotions and big purchases – it is easy to focus on the success others seem to “receive.” But remember, there are those for whom your life appears effortlessly successful as well. Giving them what they need rather than waiting to receive what you want may just be the real gift you have been searching for all along.