5 Deadliest Sins of Professional Success

professional success

Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable. ~ Coco Chanel (Tweet this)

Professional success is  a minefield of personal, professional and emotional dilemma’s. And it’s hard to know if you’re actually doing the right things to take you in the right direction. There are plenty of ways you could be letting yourself down along the way. So let’s explore them, and what you can do about them, shall we?

Sins of Professional Success:

Here are the five deadliest sins of professional success you might be committing right now.

1. Not measuring it

How do you know you’re successful, if you don’t know what you’re aiming for?

Think of yourself as an Archer.

If you just loaded the arrow, pulled back the string and let it fly off into the distance, you’ve successfully shot an arrow – but you have no idea if you’ve hit the target. Instead, if you load the arrow and focus on the bull’s eye, even if you don’t hit it, you know what you need to do to get closer to the mark.

So how are you going to measure your Professional Success?

  • Is it how much your salary is?
  • Is it working for a particular type of company?
  • Is it the job role you do?
  • Is it the hours you work?

Only you can answer that. But by approaching the professional world without an idea of what’s going to make you successful, you’ll never know if you have achieved it.

2. Focusing only on money

Money is important. But it isn’t everything. Yes, it’s great way to measure your success – and you’d definitely like that little bit of extra cash in your back pocket. But how much you earn isn’t a reflection on your professional success.

Instead you should be looking at:

  • What money allows you to do: Don’t aspire to earn $100,000 a year because you want that sum of money. Want it because it means you can send your kids to the best school possible.
  • Job satisfaction: If you earn $100,000 a year, but hate every minute of your life – it’s not worth it.

As one of my close friends once put it, “Everybody get’s paid, but money doesn’t drag you out of bed on a Monday morning”.

If you want to use money as a metric, you should. But when you start chasing it, you throw success out of the window for greed.

3. Not enjoying the journey

I think you’ll agree that life is just too short, isn’t it?

But when you’re chasing success, it’s easy to put the blinkers on and stop savoring the journey.  Yet this is where the successful person you want to become is moulded.

Picture this:

Think of the best day of your life. Everything you did in absolutely vivid detail. Where you were, what you felt like, how everything smelled and sounded. Now, remember how you felt when that day was over. You were sad, right? Because it happened, and you knew you couldn’t live that day again.

The same will happen with your success. You can never live the moments along your journey again. So it’s time to start being mindful of where you are.

Not only can living in the moment reduce stress, it can also play a big part in helping you think more clearly and make better decisions.

Therefore, not only will you enjoy the pursuit of your professional success, you’ll be healthier – and make smarter choices – because of it, too.

4. Taking rejection personally

If you want to be successful, you’re going to have to take some risks.

But what makes the difference between those who are professionally successful, and those who aren’t – is how they handle rejection. If you take every rejection personally and start to think there is something wrong with you, you’ll never take the steps you need to be professional.

Have you heard the story about Stephen King’s rejection letters?

Every time he got rejected from a magazine, he stuck the rejection letter to the wall with a nail. Once that pile got so big, he had to change the nail and use a large stake to hold them. Now he’s one of the world’s most successful authors, and couldn’t get rejected even if he tried.

But if he had given up and said, “Hey, maybe my writing is terrible” he’d never have become who he is today.

The best way to manage this approach for yourself is to remove emotion from the equation. Whenever you get rejected or knocked back, ask yourself:

  • Can I be 100% sure it’s about me?
  • If it wasn’t about me, what would I feel?
  • What can I learn from this setback?

Rejection is never personal. It’s all about where the company or other person is in their life, and what they’re looking for. So what if that isn’t you? Learn. Adapt. Grow.

5.  Not being selfish (at the right times)

Spending time on other people isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I recommend you do it often. What is a deadly sin though is wasting time on other people. Spending the time that should be spent on you, and your goals, doing work for other people.

Let me give you an example:

You are a manager in an office. Your main task for this week is the write a bid for some work that, if you land it, could secure that promotion you’ve been working towards.

But, another manager – one of your close friends – also asks if you can take on half of the project they’re working on, because they’re finding it stressful. And it’s going to take up a good 30-40% if your time each day.

 What do you do?

  • Take on the work, risk the promotion you’ve been looking for, and help your friend?
  • Or, calmly explain to your friend that you’ve got a lot on your plate, and you can’t risk ruining this bid, because it could get you that promotion you’ve been dying for.

I know you want to help your friend. But the smart choice is turn your friend down and keep working on your bid. Because this week, it’s about you and what you need. You occasionally have to be selfish in order to not sacrifice your own professional success.

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About the Author

James is addicted to being a true English Gentleman. Between moments of chivalry he runs his own Freelance Blogging company. You can hire him here

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