What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
Several years ago, I read a wonderful book by Marshall Goldsmith. The headline of this post is the name of that book. But before I get to the book, let me share an interesting sketch with you.
There are many places we hide. One of the bigger places we hide in is “busyness”. We are busy all the time. But you know that already because you would have read the November 18th Nano “The Busybee”.
Can you guess the other bigger one?
Tick Tock (not TikTok)…Waiting…
The other bigger one is “Success”.
Yes, you read that right. Did you guess it correctly?
I doubt so because success has the quality to sneak back on us. We might never think of success as a problem except that it is if not handled (digested) well.
Success is the place many successful (you can define this however you want to define this) people hide. They believe that just because they have been successful so far, they will be successful in the future. Marshall Goldsmith calls this the Success Delusion. He wrote, “That’s because we get positive reinforcement from our past successes, and, in a mental leap that’s easy to justify, we think that our past success is predictive of great things in our future.
Think about this in your own context.
Do you sometimes (or anytime) think you will continue to be successful just because you are successful now?
Let’s say you now see something amazing that would really reimagine and transform the way you do business. All you need to do is make a decision to collaborate with a world class firm. But then a little voice in your head tells you, “I could do this too. If he could do it, I sure can do this. It’s best to do it on my own.” Sometimes, the voice even tells you – “Rohit, you are doing this already.”
Has this happened to you?
It surely happens with many successful people at a time when they really need to change.
Marshall further wrote, “But our delusions become a serious liability when we need to change. We sit there with the same godlike feelings, and when someone tries to make us change our ways, we regard them with unadulterated bafflement.
It’s an interesting three-part response.
First, we think the other party is confused. They are misinformed and don’t know what they are talking about. They have us mixed up with someone who truly does need to change, but we are not that person.
Second, as it dawns on us that maybe the other party is not confused- maybe their information about our perceived shortcomings is accurate- we go into denial mode. The criticism does not apply to us, or else we wouldn’t be so successful.
Finally, when all else fails, we attack the other party. We discredit the messenger. ‘Why is a smart guy like me,’ we think, ‘listening to a loser like you?”
Trust me, we have heard all the above 3 including – Why do you have to listen to a loser like me?
These are nothing but denial mechanisms – when we choose to ignore the truth and reality in front of us.
We truly believe what got us here will take us there or anywhere we want. Except that this time it’s not so. We now operate in a very different world with different set of competitors (often cut-throat), pricing models, business models, client experiences, value propositions and so on. To get there, we must adapt because a firm that is not fit to adapt will be left behind – dead or alive.
To adapt, we must first change at a personal level.
There is an amazing reflection by an Unknown Monk that fits perfectly here.
“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change the nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change my town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on my town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could have indeed changed the world.”
I truly believe that we all have what it takes to change the world and build a HappyRich India. Provided we change, collaborate and not let our current success come between us and our future.