Curious Nature of Success
Alumnus, author and speaker
two main phases of success: before
you’re successful and after you’re successful.
make it, you’re successful in spite of what you don’t have. That’s the defining characteristic of life
before success. You fake it until you
make it. You stretch resources and get
creative. You clock major hours. You take risks. You plan, strive, try, fail, recover and try
again. It’s not being successful yet
(however you might define success) that creates the hunger in your belly.
you’ve made it, things change. Old
constraints no longer exist. Now, you’re
only able to maintain success in spite of what you have. The trappings: more power, more money, more connections,
etc. Great, but how exactly do you
maintain success when the hunger subsides and you have lots of everything?
success can only be sustained if you create a version of what life was like
before you made it. For example,
consider these effective tactics.
yourself the best perks. What? But I earned those things! True, but the more you indulge nice things,
the less you enjoy them and the more you expect them. The trick is forcing yourself to really earn
them. Don’t buy a car or new gadget or
take that mind-blowing vacation until you truly deserve them. Make their consumption contingent on amazing
goal achievement. That might be a
service goal, revenue goal, a new client to be secured, a technical problem to
be solved, who knows – just make it challenging.
redefine success. You need new goals or
reference points that prove you are nowhere near your potential. Stop resting on your laurels and get
moving. It might be new skills, new
achievements, new revenue or income, who knows.
Get creative – if your metrics are looking good, pick something new
against which to measure yourself.
Consider other roles, other jobs, other companies, other industries, or
other careers. Using new and different
definitions of success, you might relight a fire.
the right friends. One of the strange
things that happens to successful people is a shift in their friends. Who you hang around matters. During the climb, your friends and close
confidants were hungry and chasing success just like you. Each year after you make it, there are more
and more people who just want to tell you how great you are. Get rid of them. Go find real people who are still
hungry. Help them and you just might get
push hard enough to fail. Failure hurts
whether you’ve been successful or not.
The problem is that most successful people grow an odd aversion to
failure. They don’t want to experience
pain like they once did. Wrong answer –
it’s exactly what you need. Pushing hard
and working on audacious goals will inevitably lead to setbacks. Good – it gives you humility and drive. Stop playing it safe just because you’ve
accomplished a few things.
end, the only thing harder than becoming successful, is staying
successful. Remember the advice above,
you and you just might have a shot.
Dr. Todd Dewett is one
of the world’s most watched leadership personalities: a thought leader, an
authenticity expert, best-selling author, top global instructor at LinkedIn
Learning, a TEDx speaker, and an Inc. Magazine Top 100 leadership speaker. He
has been quoted in the New York Times, TIME, Businessweek, Forbes, and many
other outlets. After beginning his career with Andersen Consulting and Ernst
& Young he completed his PhD in Organizational Behavior at Texas A&M
University and enjoyed a career as an award-winning professor. Todd has
delivered over 1,000 speeches to audiences at Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Pepsi, Boeing,
General Electric, IBM, Kraft Heinz, Caterpillar, and hundreds more. His
educational library at LinkedIn Learning has been enjoyed by over 30,000,000
professionals in more than one hundred countries in eight languages. Visit his
home online at www.drdewett.com or connect with Todd on LinkedIn. He can be reached at