Success Can Be Your Demise

I’ve been reading and studying the book by Greg McKeown “Essentialism: The Discipline Pursuit of Less”. In the early chapters of the book he shares a concept that rings true to my life and experiences: the paradox of success.

Greg describes 4 stages to this process which I’ll summarize like this:

  1. I’m so clear in my purpose that it allows me to become successful.
  2. My success attracts more projects. I’m the “go-to” guy.
  3. I like the attention so I say yes to everything.
  4. I’m doing so many things that I can’t focus anymore. Burnout and failure happen.

Which stage are you in right now?

I still remember going through these stages in a few years. I started eager to learn and add value to the team. One day I woke up dreading going to work, lacking passion, with a lot to do, and no energy to do it. The saga ends with me getting demoted and moved out of the team under the “you need a timeout” idea.

So how can we prevent this from happening?

I share a few of my solutions. Maybe they will help you.

I – Listen to your body
Do you notice yourself getting flustered with the smallest obstacle? Do you lack the energy to do even the things you are passionate about?

These are signs that we are overdoing it. It’s time to look at the calendar and cut or delegate some tasks.

II – Schedule Time For Yourself and Make It Sacred
Just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I must. Just because there’s room in my calendar doesn’t mean I have to accept the new meeting. I also need time to think about a project, plan out the next few days, or to recharge.

III – Set Your No Negotiable Items
These are the things that you won’t do regardless of who is asking. This can go from not working after certain hours or weekends, to declining a specific type of task that doesn’t take you closer to your goals.

The key about setting boundaries is letting people know in advance about them. In time, people learn to work with you rather than taking over your schedule and making you feel pressured about accepting every opportunity.

How do you deal with the overwhelming number of opportunities that come your way?




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