Do you ever get the feeling you deserve more?
Let me ask you, are you a lion?
In the pride the alpha rules the pride, doesn’t he? He’s king. Has he worked hard to get there or was he born into the position? It doesn’t much matter how he got there, he’s there. One thing is for sure the alpha has to maintain his authority to remain on top. He can’t let up for a second. And with that authority comes the spoils; he eats first, he gets the choice kill and when he’s done only then can the young and females feed. The lion is entitled and his position in the pride predicates power and brutal energy. That is how he is respected and how he maintains it until a younger stronger challenger comes along. Don’t be fooled by that cute facade. Life in the wild, huh? It sounds merciless but somehow there is a recognizable visceral desire in life that we see emulated often.
What is wrong with this as a mentality?
Well first off we are not in the wild, are we? Although in our world today it certainly can seem that way. Getting to the top and staying there appears, on the surface, to be the way to do it doesn’t it? What else is there than top dog (or cat in this instance), superstar status, king of the hill? Position yourself well, look for the opportunities to advance and when the weak link exposes itself; strike. No mercy. Get there, take no prisoners, grab what you can along the way and when you get there expect to be rewarded. Eat first. Get your fill. It sounds enticing but is it?
Why does it rarely happen exactly that way and if it does why does it never feel like enough?
Ask this of yourself; what drives your desire to succeed?
- Is it fame?
- Is it money?
- Is it another car in the driveway?
Is this what you expect?
- Is it the opportunity to learn?
- Is it making a difference in your industry?
- Is it you ability to seek your purpose?
Or is this what you were meant to do?
Why do the first three questions seem so natural and the latter three not so much. Well, you can’t buy something with learning, you can’t turn sharing knowledge into rent and it is extremely rare to find purpose in your driveway. So, if you can’t convert it to the physical trappings of life right away then the value is difficult to ascertain. Intangibles like learning and purpose are difficult to monetize and it’s extremely difficult to set expectations around these intangibles. Unlike selling a widget, services or soliciting followers, likes or shares they rely on one thing alone; you and only you.
So, what’s really threatening your true success? Not the entitlement money, fame or the car brings but the things that really matter.
Do you ever feel threatened by your boss, your peers or your staff? Is the lion in you strong or is your pride viciously nipping at your heels? Do you ever feel like someone else is getting a break and even though you are working very hard it’s not you? How is your attitude toward your work? Are you there to fill time just waiting for something better or are you waiting for your opportunity to pounce? Are you doing less because you don’t feel recognized for your effort? Do you truly enjoy what you do? Have you ever thought “Why should I change if I’m not going to get anything out of it?”
Sure there a lot of fat cats, those alpha males with their big manes, who have worked themselves into positions of power. It’s inevitable and it won’t stop so why not just join them? It’s easier than trying to beat them. But be careful, they’re big, vicious and they are dangerous.
Do you see what’s wrong with this line of thinking?
Hell, it leads to frustration because when we think that way we are simply telling ourselves we cannot improve, learn to get better or change our station in life ourselves. We succumb to the survival of the fittest mentality. You are only so strong and thereby always looking for the weakest link. With this line of thinking we are simply comparing and not competing. We are part of the herd and we follow instead of leading. We wait to get the next break or promotion and when it doesn’t come we are bewildered.
What needs to change?
Well, forget about the lion and his pride. You don’t want to be him anyway. If you don’t buy it do a little research into a few of these corporate leaders; Anne Mulcahy, Lou Gerstner and Jack Welsh. Yeah, heavy, heavy hitters, I know, but the thing here is that they didn’t get handed the key to the executive club and lived a life of luxury. They built their success through hard work, continuous improvement and inclusionary involvement of their teams. They stood out because of their commitment and effort. There was never any guarantee that it would pay off but it is quite likely that these leadership professionals didn’t see their effort as a stepping stone to infamy. Entitlement was not the reason for their hard work. It was to help their people to see the value of their efforts.
Do you think it paid off for them? So, what about you?
How about taking off that suit of armor that you think is protecting you. When you wear that thing you are restricted in movement, resistant to change and you can only see in one direction, straight ahead. Having peripheral vision is essential to see the various angles of opportunity. When you shed that suit of armor you can move freely, you are much more flexible and you can see what is around you. Opening yourself up to learning and in turn providing value without worrying about the next rank and how fast you can get there has the potential to push you further exponentially.
Consider this well worn analogy; the harder you look for something that harder it is to see.
We all know there are no guarantees in life except the ones you make with yourself to learn as much as you can and provide as much value to the people in your life as you can. You will not get passed over for learning, making a difference and pursuing your purpose. On the contrary, you will get noticed. Your effort, positive attitude, inclusionary outlook and the value you bring will put you in a position of value to others.
They will notice.
And you both will be better for it.
- How can you eliminate the need for validation to keep you on track?
- How can you change your outlook to increase your value to your organization?
- What do you do to help your peers succeed?