DR. E. CAROL WEBSTER’S
PREPARE FOR THE IMPACT OF SUCCESS
ON YOUR PERSONAL LIFE
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 1997, 2003
It is important to realize that as you become more successful, your level of stress will increase. Becoming more well known in your company, in the community, means that people’s expectations of you will quadruple. You will cope better if you prepare for these changes and make personal and lifestyle changes that help you deal with the new load. Expect the following:
You Will Become a “Celebrity”
As you become successful, people know who you are. They recognize you even though you may not know who they are. This means that the way you present yourself in public is critical.
You may feel that you are under observation at all times. The higher your level of success, the more people will keep tabs on what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and how they can benefit from it too. Mistakes, bad habits, or acts of poor judgment will be noticed quickly and may be highlighted or blown out of proportion by your adversaries.
Your Relationships Will Change
You will find it harder to find time to be with your spouse, children and other family members. They’ll complain because you’re not around for all the celebrations, school performances and family gatherings the way you used to be. They may not understand why your business dictates that you leave before dawn for meetings and return well after everyone is asleep. Friends may complain that they’re being neglected and that you’ve become a snob.
You may question whether people invite you to social functions because they really like you or because of who you are and what you can do for them. You may find yourself resentful that everyone wants something from you.
You May Experience a “Success Depression”
The pressure of being “on stage” all the time, and having to put up with the constant demands of other people, may cause you to question whether the hard work you put into being successful was worth it. You may have expected to feel free, exhilarated, and able to take it easy once you made it to the top. Instead, you may feel more confined, trapped and let down. Your life is probably a lot more complicated, your time is not your own, and you may wish you could go back to the old days when you felt happier, more content and in control.
You can manage the stresses of success by preparing for the fact that your life is going to be different and adjust your expectations and behavior accordingly.
Clean Up Your Business Image
Project an image of self-confidence, self-assurance and competence at all times. Your business image means your general appearance, quality of communication and behavior even when you feel that you’re on your own time, such as at the grocery store or at a social event. Be prepared to suffer negative consequences if you have too many drinks or behave inappropriately when you’re with others. You will be saying a lot about yourself through your behavior, and it is important that what you say is perceived in a positive light. Be sure you are projecting the kind of image that builds your business and your reputation.
Set Limits on the Demands of Success
If it is important to you to have some sort of personal life, and it should be, make time for one. Just don’t expect to be available to do all of the things you used to do. Identify your business priorities, say “no” to requests that fall outside of them, and use the time you have freed up to take better care of yourself or to enjoy the time with your family and friends. Everyone will try to place demands upon you as you become more successful. You must know when to say “no”.
Don’t Be Afraid to Downshift
If your new level of success continues to be a disappointment, it’s OK to make a change. Sometimes, this means looking for a new job or selling your business. Don’t be afraid to pursue alternatives. You may feel happier doing something else, and find that you prefer being less of a celebrity. High levels of success are the stuff of dreams, but they’re not for everyone. Know your limit and move on if life at the top is not for you.
About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at http://drcarolwebster.com or call 954.797.9766.
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317
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