Success Can Be Your Greatest Enemy

“So many times it happens too fast. You trade your passion for glory” (Eye of the Tiger by Survivor.)

I love the Rocky movies, especially Rocky III.  Sylvester Stallone was amazing as Rocky Balboa, a down-and-out Philadelphia boxer who worked hard to be able to fight for a major championship. The movie’s main song, Eye of the Tiger, is utilized more than any other composition for introduction and award music. But what many overlook are the insightful words sung in the first verse, “So many times it happens too fast. You trade your passion for glory.

I would like to use these words for the backdrop of my article today as I share how “Success Can Be Your Greatest Enemy.” Here is a quick formula: Passion creates success; Success creates arrogance; Arrogance creates complacency; and Complacency creates decline.

All great endeavors begin with passion. You start with a dream of making it big, you see the vision continually, your passion sends you to bed thinking about what needs to be done, and you wake up considering what needs to be accomplished to fulfill your vision. You talk about it, you share it, your days and nights are wrapped around the passion of making your dream a reality …

And then it happens! Your passion and drive create success, you hit your goal, you arrive on your mission, and you become successful! People around you and on social media begin to share how great you are—the likes, the shares, and the comments are exploding. You are recognized by your peers in magazines, newspaper articles, or at local events. In essence, you have become F-A-M-O-U-S! If you are not careful and grounded, you can begin to believe your own press, or as some might say, “Drink the Kool-Aid,” quickly moving from a humble and grateful attitude to pride and arrogance.

From Passion to Success to Arrogance … This is when your project, company, organization, or church begins to slow down, and Complacency takes hold. Your behavior moves from creative mode to management mode. “I have worked hard. I need to take some time off.” “What I’ve created will sustain itself for some time, so I am going to rest. After all, I deserve it.”

When you were under the drive of passion, everything was about how to get better, how to improve in sales or recruiting. Under the dullness of complacency, you move to more meetings focused on survival rather than growth. You see, when you began your journey, passion was the key to your culture. Your organization was smaller and easier to drive forward. But now that your company is large, you feel that more meetings are necessary for studying last month’s activities rather than creating new activities for next month. You’ve become past-focused, not forward-motivated.

It then begins, the decline. It is quite simple, like a blade of grass, you are either growing or dying, and there is no neutral. Whether it is marriage or business, this rule applies. Once the decline begins, you must immediately return to “creative mode” and reset your passion if you wish to continue your growth.

“So many times it happens too fast. You trade your passion for glory.

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