Have you ever noticed that people, in general, have a tough time applauding the success of others? All too often we hear excuses or knocks as to why someone achieved something or reached a certain level of success. “She thinks she’s better than everyone else.” “His father is on the board.” “He stepped on everyone in his way to get there.” I’m certainly guilty of it from time to time.
I don’t believe this stems from us being mean people. I think we’re just protecting ourselves. If you fail, then I can breathe a sigh of relief in a web of justifications as to why I don’t take risks, or why I don’t put forth extra effort. If you succeed, then I end up feeling bad about myself for accepting my current stale state.
You may have noticed that people are far more likely to want to sit down and comfort you during stress than celebrate your moments of success. We have to send out invitations to join us for our successes.
Most of us prefer status quo. No matter our current condition, change is usually hard. Moving out of our comfort zone and making new heightened decisions can be stressful. We tend to steer clear of failures and pride propels us to emulate Facebook moments.
I would just like to take the space I have in the column this week to invite us all to reject this protectionist and resource-scarce behavioral mindset. Take that same inward protectionist behavior and turn it around. Let’s remind ourselves that life is abundant and one person’s success is built on the love and support from many behind the scenes. Let it serve to motivate and inspire each of us to do more. If they can do it, then so can I.
It’s also important during your own success to thank those who’ve helped you and to communicate your belief in those who can use your inspiration. I’ve found that the “I am just like you, and I was still able to achieve” is the most inspirational type of message. That’s why underdog stories are our favorite.
Having a culture that values the success of others can teach us all to take measured risks and work hard for the things we greatly believe in. We can’t tackle the barriers of communication, isolation, over-competitiveness, and protectionism that challenges our local, national, and global community without valuing and celebrating the successes of others.
(Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Advice is intended to be general in nature.)