The Paradox of Success

Paradox of Success

Is there an area in your life where you feel you’ve reached a plateau, feel stuck, and cannot move forward? Perhaps it’s in the areas of work, career, or finances? Or around love and relationships? If your answer is yes, this week’s article might be precisely what you needed to read to get you unstuck and moving forward in a new direction.

One of my clients is a highly successful woman who grew up with a severe learning disability. From the time she started attending school, she would feel dizzy, anxious, and confused each time she read out loud, in front of others, or in the quiet of her room. So, she did what she thought she had to do: She told no one.

On her own and without outside help, she took it upon herself to overcome her learning disability by working harder than other kids did. That meant having fewer friends and less time to vacation and have fun. To her schoolmates, she was just another shy, nerdy little girl who stayed after school. Fast-forward a few years, this little girl graduated with top grades and earned two Ph.D.s, one in education and the other in neuroscience.

Her biggest dream was to create a school for children with learning disabilities who, like her, lacked the support they needed to succeed. With just $50 in her bank account and a heartfelt desire to help others, she opened the school. Seven years later, her school has become so successful they sadly had to turn kids away because there was insufficient space for them.

When I started coaching Angela, I asked her about her biggest, boldest dream. She told me she wanted to open two more schools and build a franchise around her teaching methodology. She figured that if she could build and operate one school, two more schools should be no problem. But she felt stuck and unable to move forward. Every attempt she had made failed.

Without knowing it, Angela was experiencing the paradox of success:

Everything that made you a success today is precisely what is keeping you from experiencing your next level of success. As Marshall Goldsmith would say, “what got you here won’t take you there.”

Angela had become very successful at running one school. But if she wanted to open up and successfully run three schools, she would have to do things differently. She would need to develop new skills and capacities, create new habits, and become a different kind of leader.

When Success Gets in the Way of Success

I’m sharing Angela’s story with you today because I’d like you to consider how the Paradox of Success might be showing up in your life.

Is there an area in your life where you feel you’ve reached a plateau, feel stuck, and cannot move forward? Perhaps it’s in the areas of work, career, or finances? Or around love and relationships?

If you’re not experiencing the success you want, it might just be because what took you to your current success is precisely what is keeping you stuck. Your previous success is the problem. Therefore, it is the solution as well.

Here are a few examples.

The single mother of two who had to become strong, powerful, and independent to provide for her children, but is now struggling to attract a romantic partner because men feel threatened by her character and an overly strong sense of independence.

The successful advertising executive who decided to quit his corporate job and start an online business working from home, but is now struggling to have structure to his days, stick to a schedule, and enroll new clients.

The person who attended a spiritual ceremony and experienced tremendous healing and transformation, but is now struggling to embody the lessons because they keep going from ceremony to ceremony and never have time to do the deeper work that’s required.

To achieve your next level of success, you must let go of the familiar and start doing things differently. There’s no other way.

The Key to Getting Unstuck

To get unstuck, you have to:

  1. Let go of your current level of comfort.
  2. Ask for help if you need it.
  3. Find the courage to change the things you can.
  4. Face your biggest fears.
  5. Take bold action toward the new direction.

To help you along your journey, here are the same questions I asked Angela.

What do you want to manifest next in your life?

To experience the success you want, what kind of person – leader, entrepreneur, parent, partner, etc. – must you become?

What steps must you take to start doing things differently?

The answers to these questions will help you overcome obstacles and move toward your next success destination. These questions worked for Angela, who, by the way, is nowadays running three schools and training teachers worldwide in her methodology.

What got you here will keep you here, that is, unless you start doing things differently.

From my heart to yours,

Paradox of Success

Filed under Personal Mastery

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