Thursday, November 29, 2012

When Glory Beckons

“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
- Booker T. Washington

It's an interesting mental exercise one faces when they've achieved a certain level of success. How each of us defines success is different, but once we start believing we are successful, something happens to our outlook. We feel different. Hopefully that feeling doesn't translate into behavior that is considered arrogant or self-righteous. The trap of suddenly feeling entitled to one's success is a dangerous one indeed.

If we struggle to believe that birthright makes for a good leader in royal circles, how in the world can we believe that something as simple as a new job title brings with it some sort of instant all-knowing power? I don't buy it.

But I used to.

I used to be very good at convincing myself that I worked hard...I took risks...I was the one that made things happen. Not true. Sure, leadership requires someone to have a vision, and move towards achieving that vision. But the last time I checked, there has never been a successful leader who accomplished great things without a team of people.

Over the years the "success" I've been able to pull together has been largely due to the effort of the people around me.

Whether they were colleagues or those that reported to me, it truly is about the group of people I've worked with that removed the obstacles in my path. My pride however, often told me differently.

I now work hard to check my pride at the door.

How About You
When the glory of success beckons do you stand up triumphantly and soak in the praise? Or, is that a moment to look around you at the team that is holding you up with so much strength?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

photo credit


  1. I have seen many egotistical so-called leaders achieve very little. All the business leaders I have met who have got me on board have had a great amount of humility. One of my favourite stories is about Christopher Garnett, CEO of the train company GNER in the U.K. during the 1990's. When he started with the company at the time of privatisation, he was shown a huge, well-appointed office above King's Cross station in London. 'Hadn't you better give that to someone more important than me?' he asked, and was eventually given a much smaller office overlooking the station, so he could see what was going on with the people in the business.

    1. Thanks Graham. Great story about it!