People will tell you it’s brutal to start a company. They’re right. I know firsthand. I started one. Yet, if you think it’s hard to build a business from scratch, it’s considerably harder to maintain success when the business prospers. Are you coping with success?
When you start a company, the folks who join you know what they’ve signed up for. You don’t have to tell everyone the business is in survival mode; they know it. You don’t have to tell folks to work hard and to work smart; that comes with the territory. You don’t have to tell people we’re all in this together; they know that everyone must pull their own weight or the ship will go down. The point is, you’ll win as a team and you’ll lose as a team. There’s no room for politics, no place for prima donnas, and certainly no sense of entitlement. Period. Everyone must be laser-focused on the mission. Your survival depends on it.
As tough as that seems, the atmosphere is stimulating, the challenge is exciting, and the camaraderie is exhilarating. But it’s incredibly scary. The fact is, when you open for business, you’re putting your neck on the line and the consequences are HUGE. So how can that be easier than managing success?
Coping with Success
Sometimes working at a start-up can be so intense that you don’t even notice the progress that you’re making. The client roster continues to grow, the bank balance begins to rise, and the praise that you receive via word of mouth begins to swell. Before you can say, “Yay!” you find yourself entering the next phase of growth. At that time, you quickly learn that the biggest challenge facing you isn’t survival but rather, how to scale.
When things go right, much can go wrong.
While you don’t have to worry whether your business will be around tomorrow, it’s very easy to forget — or disregard — everything that contributed to your success thus far.
And that can be deadly!
When I was young, Tom Seaver, the legendary New York Mets pitcher, pulled me aside during a baseball clinic. He told me that when you’re pitching a game and winning by several runs, never ease up and let your guard down. I never forgot those words. I’ve learned that his advice can be applied to many areas of business and personal life.
When success seems at hand, it’s natural to take a breather. But Tom Seaver’s advice is important: It’s easier to maintain momentum than to rebuild it once it’s lost. When your business takes off — or you achieve success in any endeavor — how do you convince everyone to continue to work hard, keep their eye the ball, and stop thinking the business will succeed in the future just because it has in the past? How do you prevent people from shifting from “I’ve got your back” to “What’s in it for me?”
Simply put, the game isn’t over!
Moreover, if you fail to get back to basics, everything you’ve worked so hard to attain will be lost! Are you coping with success? Here’s a wake-up call.
If you don’t continue to invest in your personal growth, you’re kidding yourself. If you don’t practice as much — or work as hard — as you have in the past, you’re in for a rude awakening. If you expect rewards without earning them or think the world owes you something, you’re dreaming. If your rallying cry is “What’s in it for me?” or if you take relationships for granted, you’re in for some bitter disappointment. The fact is, success is not guaranteed, it’s temporary. If you disregard the things that contribute to your success, you’ll learn how fragile success really is — and how hard to win back. Success is a journey, not a destination.
Are You Coping with Success?
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