The Toxic Side of Chasing Success

How external noise could be impacting your well-being

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I was sitting in front of my computer starring at my depleted savings account and thinking “how could I let this happen?”

Ah life! The ups and downs that come with it are not very subtle at times. It took me over a year to realize the trap I had fallen into. That constant pursuit of success had me walking on a thin rope, very close to falling over to the burned-out side.

After a divorce and getting laid off I felt I was being pulled to show the world, despite those failures, that I could be successful, so I embarked on a quest to “make it” in life.

The problem was that while I was chasing success, listening to hundreds, if not thousands of motivational videos, podcasts, talks, I was pushing to the side one key component: understanding who I truly am.

There were a lot of times when I kept telling myself: I just need to push a little harder or maybe I just need to hire that one coach or mentor that has the key or has figured out the formula that I can follow to reach success.

Now I recognize two big flaws in my thinking process. The first one is that I had not taken the time to sit down and truly define what success meant for me. If you watch motivational videos on YouTube, they use people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey as inspiration.

What do they signify? Wealth, Power, Wisdom? Yes, while they all have those attributes, it took them YEARS to get there. The difference is that to me success meant impact and freedom, something that you cannot acquire by following a formula or listening to motivational messages.

The second flaw I kept finding was that everyone kept saying “you have to work hard and be consistent, that is the key”. I’ll be honest with you, I have seen people who work their butt off, who put endless hours at work and sacrifice so much that at the end have fallen so far into this trap that end up depleted and unmotivated because the paid back or return of time investment doesn’t have much to show for them.

I have also seen the other side of this coin, where people who work their butt off and put endless hours at work find a balance where they feel fulfilled and energized by the feedback they get from their work.

What is the difference between these two examples? The person that is burned out was following outside validation and expectations, while the person that feels fulfilled and energized has been honoring who they truly are all along.

After hiring that mentor who was going to “solve” my non-existent income stream from my business and depleting my savings paying for that service, I decided to stop chasing success. My physical and mental health needed to be a priority, without them, it didn’t matter what “impact and freedom” I was trying to get, at the end there is no freedom without good health.

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