“The Beatles broke up when they stopped having fun. They were no less talented. They were even more experienced. But they started picking at each other, even provoking each other. John brought Yoko into the recording sessions because he knew it would hack the other guys off. When they were nothing, they were friends. Then they succeeded. And we do not steward success well. We don’t even know how to have fun with it.” Ray Ortlund
Why is success such a fickled friend?
What happens to the joy we had at the start but lost when we went from “good to great?” You would think if you just kept on doing what you have always been doing you would always get what you always got. However, when success happens relationships change. What was once common ground—commitment to the cause, shared sacrifice, and hard work—is replaced by pride, fear, and jealousy. Why does this happen and what can we do about it?
One problem with success is a tendency to take credit for things the team did.
“If it weren’t for me,” we think, “we never would have made it this far.” Even if it were all because of you, which we all know isn’t true, how does taking credit help anyone? Truth be told, there is very little of the success in our lives that we accomplished all by ourselves.
Another problem is we become paralyzed by a fear of it all going away.
We know our success had more to do with luck or timing than talent, and so we fear failure may come at any time. Worry never fixes anything. It just makes all of us miserable. So, look for the good in each day and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Finally, we may think our self worth is based only on being better than someone else.
If they get the credit and I don’t, then I must be less than them. So I will do everything I can to protect my image even if it means putting others down. What an awful way to live. Why not learn to celebrate any success, any effort in the right direction, and stop worrying about who gets the credit.
If your team is working hard to make the changes that matter, enjoy the work. If you have made it up the hill, celebrate together. Because you’ll need each other on that next hill.