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Sometime back, I had a discovery call with a prospective client
He is a senior director in a pharma company
He said “I have had multiple promotions in the last few years”
“Financially, I am quite comfortable” he continued
“So what is the issue?” I asked him
“When I benchmark myself with some of my peers in other industries, I feel that I am behind” He responded
He continued “Even when I benchmark my salary to the market, I feel that I deserve more”
Despite being a high performer, working with a big brand and earning really well, somewhere deep inside, he was unhappy and unsatisfied
And that is the paradox of success….
The more successful you are, the less successful you might feel
Because you make your success relative
Your success v/s the success of others
And invariably, this relative comparison is mostly one-sided – only with people who are better-off than you
It is usually NEVER with people who are not as successful as you are
In the case of this potential client, if he looks at his own career progress in isolation, his success is absolute
He is not in competition with anyone, so it is his own unique journey
And he has come a long way
But the moment he starts comparing himself to others, his success becomes relative
It makes him feel less successful
And this happens with all of us, right ?
Comparing yourself with others is one of the worst forms of self-sabotage
And most of us are very good at it :)
Before I proceed further, I must admit that some level of comparison from time to time could be useful
..It might help you benchmark yourself and define your goals
..It might inspire you into action
..And it might help you understand any gaps ( where you are v/s where you want to be )
But constantly comparing yourself with others and pulling yourself down is NOT healthy
There will always be people who are doing better than you and there will be people who are not as fortunate as you are
So if you are tempted to make your success relative, make sure you look at both ends of the spectrum
The other challenge in making success relative is that you tend to forget your life journey
You worry too much about what you have NOT achieved
..What you do not have….
..What you have missed out on….
You pay very little attention to what all you have achieved in life
How far have you come ?
Where did it all begin ?
The challenges you had to overcome to reach this point
And if you really step back and reflect on your journey, you will realise that you have come a really long way
Just imagine....10,20 years back
Would you have ever imagined that you could achieve all this in life ?
Yet, you did it !
But you do not give yourself credit for it
You do not embrace and celebrate your success enough
If I just look at my own life, I had a very humble beginning in a typical middle-class family in India
I would have never imagined that one day, I would become a Ship Captain and command large ships across the oceans
Never in my dream I would have imagined that I would become an Investment Banker one day with the biggest name of Wall Street
And by leaps and bounds, I had no idea that one day, I would become a Leadership Coach and coach C-suite leaders across the globe
Yet, here I am today !
So you see….
Your success can be both absolute and relative, depending on your perspective
And that perspective can make all the difference in how you feel :
..Happy v/s sad
..Contentment v/s dissatisfaction
..Accomplished v/s inadequate
..Proud v/s embarrassed
So here is something for you to reflect upon this week :
1) What is your perspective of your own success ?
2) How often do you compare yourself with others ? How do you truly feel when you do it ?
3) Do you feel really proud of what all you have achieved in life ?
4) What has allowed you to become successful ?
And if you need to discover your secret success mantra, drop me a note and my team can help schedule a quick call
I would be interested to know what came up for you as you read and reflected on this email
Stay safe and stay healthy