Marshall Goldsmith’s book, ‘What got you here won’t get you there’, resonates very strongly. We have a belief, when we have achieved success, that if we keep doing the same thing we should continue to be successful. Of course the reverse happens, we actually start to fail. If you think back to your time of feeling great success it is because you were moving forward in unchartered waters and you were having to adapt as you went along, managing things in the moment, making decisions, trying to see as clearly as possible what was really happening. You had to change your thoughts, your expectations, your behaviours. You didn’t look through rose coloured success glasses, you looked clearly and plainly at what was happening before you. You didn’t tell yourself stories of the past successes, you didn’t reengineer the present to look like the past and you didn’t tell yourself convincing stories.
All of these behaviours occur when we have achieved success. In a sense achieving success is a wonderful thing but it shifts the view of our world. Before success there was a plan and a desire, a willingness to create something and to perhaps make a difference. It wasn’t done for self gratification, it was done to achieve a goal. Once success arrived and you were surrounded with flashing lights you begin to like the feeling of this. Overtime the lights die down but you go in search of the headlines that still talk of your success. The greatest challenge of success is how to move forward and achieve continued success. Firstly there is an expectation that you can do it again, this is called pressure or stress. It’s a bit like the author of a book who sat down and creatively expressed themselves resulting in a best seller. This was not their initial motivation for writing, it was initially to be creative. They achieve huge recognition. Publishers rush to them and ask when their next book will be out and then writers block hits because suddenly they feel like they need to recreate the past, which as we all know is not possible.
To step out of the past and to get back into the game or the present is very challenging and difficult. It requires at least two things. The first to be very open and honest about the connection between what you believe and what you experience. Don’t go looking for success go looking for clarity and honesty. Identify what really made you a success, luck, chance, a moment where you had great clarity about a specific thing and you expressed it. Perhaps there is no follow up novel. The second thing is to be open to change. Sometime ago everyone knew that Blackberry phones were the greatest and most popular phone. How quickly success can fade and reinvention needs to take place. To reinvent, requires change. Success reinforces the great feelings, the status quo, it doesn’t create change. Success should give you the confidence to know you can achieve something you set out to do, if that is what created the success. Use your confidence to open up and bring about the next change you need to make to change you!