As Americans, we feel successful when we’re busy. Busy-ness, being too swamped to breath, or pause, or eat lunch… it’s a badge of honor for us. If I can’t find 15 minutes of time in my day, DAMN my time must be valuable… I must be valuable.
In a Harvard Business Review experiment, they found that individuals described as having calendars that were “always full” were perceived as higher status than those who lead a “leisurely lifestyle.”
Over the past few weeks, I’ve written a lot about success. But before I move on, I feel that it’s important to talk about why we self-sabotage. I’ll have clients who are so close to success that they can taste it, who’ll come in the next week and tell me they’ve done something catastrophic… metaphorically blowing up their lives. Hell, I’ve done it to… snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
It’s never just simple, is it? Otherwise we’d all be happy, healthy and successful all the time. Many of us have actual resistance to success. …
Over the last year or so, I’ve been exploring our modern American relationship with success… and I’ve come to some conclusions.
We all start out life with a garbled version of our parents’ definitions of success (or the definitions of whoever raised us)… usually it boils down to something like…
“The world is a scary place so you better figure out how to be financially secure.”
Over time, some people stick with this definition, but others grow into one that’s healthier, kinder, and allows for more happiness. …
In the last year, I’ve talked to a lot of people about their relationships with success, and in those conversations I realized that most people don’t think they are successful. When I asked I get a lot of “not yet’s” and some “moderately’s” but the whole-hearted “yes’s” were few and far between.
In this article, I’ll be looking at what exactly makes some people able to feel successful now, and makes others convinced that it’s something they’ll only achieve at some point in the future.
Michael Williams* and Rebecca Anderson* both had unstable, tumultuous and at times, even traumatizing childhoods. As adults, they continue to have more than their fair share of stressful life events (Holmes & Rahe, 1967) — relationships ending, moving, changing educations, changing jobs — but while Rebecca seems to be barely surviving her life, Michael is thriving.
What’s the difference between them, and what does it have to do with their relationships with success? At first I wasn’t sure… but let’s back up.
Do you ever find yourself feeling like a fraud? Like everyone around you knows what they’re doing and you’re just pretending, hoping you don’t get caught?
I remember about a year ago, I was giving a talk to a bunch of recent college grads. I have never seen such dead faces in my life. As my awkward jokes got nothing (not even a sympathetic chuckle!) I struggled to keep my attention on what I was saying, and not get swept back into the thoughts that had run through my head while I was preparing:
“It’s too bad they…