Are there downsides to being successful? Yes, there are plenty of them and each are capable of sending you down depression spiral, all for simply committing that one mistake – being successful!
If you are reading news about celebrity suicidal tragedies very often on mainstream media, then it is the proof of how Success Can Kill.
When you are constantly winning, it can impact you negatively in many ways.
- You may be buried in your riches when life in general will simply run past you
- You may leave behind your friends and sometimes even the family, in your path to higher orbit
- You may lose sleep, break relationships, jeopardize your health etc., amidst your indulgence in keeping up with the pace of continuous winning
- You may lose your sense of humor and start seeking perfection in everything you come across in life
The list goes on and on.
Recently, I engaged in a gloomy conversation with a colleague, turned out to be a classic example of why her being a consistent top performer actually turned into a bane.
For the sake of anonymity, let’s call her Shruti. Shruti works in the customer retention team and is one of the most promising employees of our organization. She is one of the senior members of the team and looks after both individual & her team’s performance.
The performance excellence awards that she has won in the quick one year since starting off at the company has overgrown the living room’s shelf space that she uses for storage. This past one year has also been one of the most rapid rise in responsibility given that the management was extremely impressed with her abilities.
Dealing with pouring customer appreciations on Google & other social media reviews were turning out to be a mammoth task for the company’s CEO.
Shruti is definitely a superstar material, as evident from all acknowledgements she was continuously garnering from both inside and outside the organisation.
But on one eventful day, Shruti dealt with probably a first blow of her stint and that just rattled her beyond recognition. She was staying late one day and was carrying out the task of clearing up unwanted materials strewn all over the workplace.
While cleaning up her team’s work bay, she accidently trashed some statutory display protocols from the softboard. And unfortunately the very next day a quality audit was to happen, where external auditors would look for evidences of the company’s proactive approach to educate employees on following key data privacy protocols.
When the CEO came to do a pre-audit that same night,, he quickly spotted the missing circulars and then started the trickling down of panic attack. All fingers soon pointed to Shruti, exposing her callous work on a crucial day!
The CEO called Shruti and expressed his disappointment over what had just happened, just short of a reprimand given her overall track record. However mild he expressed this, it still felt like a piercing arrow for Shruti – greatest blow that literally crumbled like a rejected paper garbage.
She couldn’t sleep a bit that night, got ready at 5 AM and rushed to reach office at 7 AM. She took fresh printouts of all those circulars and hung them at where they were supposed to be. All done well before 11 AM when the auditors are expected to visit.
Everything went fine and the company came unscathed in the audit. But Shruti still couldn’t recover from that mild rebuke from the CEO. Her sleep patterns were getting more & more erratic for days to come!
What is happening here? Why should this one incident affect Shruti so badly that she goes on a streak of dejection studded days, well beyond the actual incident?
The problem lies in her continuous streak of success! This has gone deep into her subconscious mind that she cannot goof up at all! Completely incapable of letting down others!
The overdosage of success is been silently causing mounting pressure inside her, all unknown to her! And one fine day when the gravity strikes, things start collapsing.
The best way to handle success, as done by most of the successful people, is to keep telling yourself that you are vulnerable to make mistakes! If you keep reiterating the vulnerability, then it paves way for you to seek help, slow down, rewire, relax, retune, etc.,
And if this correction (self) is done constantly, then it will lead to even higher levels of performance as you are not anymore drawing a circle around yourself with the same chalk of your past successes but keep expanding your circle of influence/imagination.