Lately, I’ve been consumed with the idea of greatness as it relates to personal responsibility and success. I had an epiphany of sorts when I recognized that I wasn’t operating at full capacity…on purpose. I attributed this deliberate inactivity to fear in disguise and identifying this helped me tremendously!
A large portion of what I do and how I want to help people professionally is through outlining unconventional, atypical and alternative philosophical approaches to success. I want to do this by looking at the concept of success from multiple angles and perspectives. I think we’ve been conditioned to see success as a very linear and one-dimensional process which seems ok until you find yourself realizing that this process doesn’t resonate with who you most desire to be professionally.
This is usually the pre-cursor to an all out quarter or mid-life crisis. My goal is to combat this dissonance between reality and expectation BEFORE it turns into a crisis. I think that this starts with first recognizing that success is relative and that the greatest gift you can give yourself in your adult life is to define what success looks like for you rather than allowing society to dictate what it should look like for you…
The inherent problem with allowing the opinions and expectations of other people in your personal definition of success is that it is highly likely that most people’s definitions of success will undermine your ability to live your most fulfilling life professionally and personally. We must also take into account other people’s comfort level with other people operating within their own power and greatest potential.
The unfortunate truth is that is most people have a very low tolerance and comfort threshold with other people being overtly great.
When I identified this discord, I felt compelled to think deeper about success intersecting with palatability.
Ultimately, most people want you to be someone who they can easily understand and digest. People need for you to be palatable. The problem with this, however, is that there are parts of who we are that weren’t designed or meant to make people comfortable. When we operate from the fullness of who we are, we subject ourselves to criticism from people who are, essentially, threatened by our greatness even when our greatness isn’t a direct threat to their ability to be successful.
If you’re finding your footing in the unchartered territories of your own greatness and imminent success, you being openly excellent may not be received well. Subsequently, you may see that as a reason to return to playing small or intentionally not living up to your fullest potential because of other people’s obvious discomfort.
In looking at some of the most successful people I know, in both traditional and non-traditional senses, there is one glaring and flagrant commonality. That being an abundantly clear disregard for the need to be palatable. It walks the thin line between caring about productive feedback and not caring about how their happiness, greatness and excellence will be received by others.
We live in a time where we’re more likely to ask a person to downplay their accomplishments than take pleasure in celebrating their achievements with them. I think this speaks more to a latent fostering of insecurity rather than someone being too successful.
A Course in Miracles talks about how defensiveness means an acknowledgement of attack or weakness. If we’re afraid of other people being great because we think it may impact our ability to be successful too, is that not a defensive tactic? Is that us believing that we aren’t good enough or worthy of mind-boggling success? Is that us not believing that this world would be so much better if everyone felt a personal responsibility to be great instead of needing other people to play small to create some illusion of an even playing field as it relates to professional success?
I cannot tell you a direct path to success. I can, however, tell you that a guaranteed detour to a dead-end on the road to success is altering your approach to the barometer and palate of other people who don’t understand your vision or purpose.
At the end of the day, your success in this life won’t be determined by how many people give you the all-clear to ascend as high as you can possibly go. Your clearest path to success has nothing to do with palatability and everything to do with tunnel-vision to living the life defined by what most resonates with who you are and being open to all of the alternatives to get you there. There are countless routes to success, don’t let other people place limits on your success because of their narrow view of it in their own lives.
Your success isn’t for everybody and may, in fact, be an acquired taste! Celebrate that!
Onward and Upward!