I hate being afraid of other people’s success, just as I hate being afraid of my own failure.
Let me explain what I mean.
There’s been plenty written on LinkedIn and elsewhere around overcoming one’s personal fear of failure, but I think many of us in Sales (as well as other professions) are just as afraid of other people’s success, (unfortunately) it’s just more socially accepted to be so, because we don’t label it as fear.
I’m referring to the crab mentality.
Recently, a good friend of mine, who is also in sales, won his and his company’s biggest new customer after close to 3 years of effort.
I was one of the first people that he shared this great news with, likely because he felt I would appreciate the effort that had gone into it and also because he was proud of his achievement and just wanted to share it with those close to him whom he trusted.
Instead of immediately feeling happy for him, I felt a sense of envy.
Probably because I was having a bad day and I wasn’t feeling particularly good about myself, I internally took on the role of victim, so as to protect my own ego.
Although, I believe I have a good Poker face, being the intuitive guy he is, he sensed my mood and changed his tack to one which is more commonly used in business settings where a person doesn’t publicly take direct credit for an achievement, so as to not offend the sensitivity of others.
“I’ve gotta say though, a lot of people helped get it across the line” he said.
At that moment, I felt angry at myself for making him embarrassed of sharing his success and for pulling him down.
Many of us already have to acknowledge others who have supposedly helped us on our way, or play false modesty with comments such as ‘I couldn’t have done it without you guys’ or ‘it was a team effort’.
Well you know what? sometimes it wasn’t a team effort.
Sometimes it was just YOU and you should be able to celebrate your success.
I think we need to stop being afraid of what others will do or think if you stand tall, be proud and be the tall poppy.
I was inadvertently a crab in that situation, because I pulled someone down from advancing their personal journey.
Stand up to the crab in yourself and in others.
Right from those teen movies we all watched growing up, where the rich, popular girl is a bitch to everyone, or the best sportsman in high school was a jerk to all the geeky kids, it’s suggested that success should come with some innate feeling of guilt, as it isn’t possible without standing on the heads of others.
We all need to stop aligning to this stereotype of success being riddled with gain from unfair advantage.
In my experience just because someone is doing well, doesn’t mean they must be an unscrupulous person.
Yes I’ve met successful assholes who are not the kind of people you want to put your trust in, but I’ve also met plenty of unsuccessful assholes.
In my life I believe that you’ll only be successful when you stop pulling others down and actually encourage them to pursue their goals and celebrate their achievements, because only then can you focus your energies on advancing in your own journey.
We can be successful and good people at the same time, the two are not mutually or morally exclusive.
- I’m not going to reinforce the stereotype that successful people must have stood on others to get where they are.
- I’m going to stand tall and be proud that any success I have, came from my own efforts and not at the expense of others.
- I’m going to celebrate the success that others have and acknowledge that any feelings of envy are my issues alone and not the fault of others.
- I’m going to help others be more successful when and where I can, but only if they chose to take the first step in that journey themselves.
After all, personal success comes from pulling yourself up, not from pulling others down.
This is my last article for 2017 and I’ll be back in January 2018 to share my voice with you all again.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you.