“If everyone is wildly successful, I’m a happy man.” It took me a long time to be able to say this…and really mean it.
Years ago, I had this constant feeling I was competing with every other human being. If they succeeded in any way, it somehow meant I had failed. Deep down in my soul, I was disappointed when others did great things and received the admiration and appreciation of those around me. And it wasn’t just with people who I thought weren’t playing fair or people I didn’t like for some reason. Oh no, this negative feeling crept into thoughts about friends who I supposedly cared about. Pretty sick, huh?
It took honest soul-searching to uncover that it was my own insecurity and self-doubt encouraging this unhealthy response. Fortunately, after some consciousness raising and self-reevaluation, I now celebrate the success of others. I want them to win, to take their bows and accept their rewards. I feel emotionally elevated by their philanthropy and good work.
Authors are a good example. I read a lot: newspapers, blogs, magazines and books. Now, I rejoice when I discover a new voice, one that speaks to me with clarity, humor or wisdom. I want to hug the writer, to share his or her talent with other people I admire. Closer to home, I’m blessed with working each day with a young writing talent, one who mentors me and gives me encouragement. In my early days, I would have faked appreciation and admiration. Today, I feel so lucky. Being even the fourth best writer on our staff is a real accomplishment.
It’s the same way in business. I’m told The Change Companies® is in cutthroat competition with other corporations that do publishing, training and consulting in the field of behavior change. Sometimes, my staff gets nervous and wants to do reconnaissance missions on our competition, uncovering vulnerabilities and exploiting business models.
I say no. I want all honest and responsible organizations to win. I want our competitors to find superior ways to assist individuals in making positive life changes. Their work will inspire our own.
There is a seasoned publishing company in Center City, Minnesota, that competes in one of our marketplaces. Over many years, their publications have helped me grow personally and professionally. Hazelden’s business acumen and quest for excellence is a model to be appreciated and applauded.
Real success (personal or corporate) is not a solo affair. It always feeds off the good work of others.
Let’s all be winners.
About the author
Since founding The Change Companies® in 1988, Don has worked with approximately 150 agencies and corporations, tailoring Interactive Journals to serve those working and participating in the caring professions. His collaborative efforts in substance use, justice services, impaired driving, healthcare and education have consistently focused on helping individuals explore the process of positive personal change.
Earlier in his career, Don worked in many industries, including hotel management, publishing, higher education administration and healthcare business development. Along the way, he created numerous companies, experiencing both successes and failures. Many of these life lessons and joyous observations found their way into Don’s recent book, The Adventures of Binder-Man.
Don is most proud and appreciative of the outstanding employees who have shaped The Change Companies® for over two decades.
Word of the Week
The Greek root philo, meaning “loving,” has sprouted several words in modern English, such as “philosophy” (love of knowledge) and “philharmonic” (love of music). Even Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, can trace its literal definition back to this root. Combine philo with Greek’s anthropos, for “mankind,” and you describe acts of charity and altruism devoted to the betterment of all people.