Coming from this last weekend at Frankfurt, where our company Fine and Country West Africa won the Arch of Europe Award for Quality and Business Excellence, I felt very proud and honoured to be amongst so many leaders from all over the world. With all the camera, lights, and accolades that went on for almost 24 hours, it is possible to get carried away with the euphoria of it all. Following the awards, on Monday morning I got an email from a client that made me want to respond dramatically. How dare they do that to “us”? Don’t they know who we are? A multi award-winning firm with top clients to show?
In that moment, it occurred to me that success is great but needs to be handled with great care.
Success can often be the breeding ground for failure. Oswald Chambers said, “Not every man can carry a full cup. Sudden elevation frequently leads to pride and a fall. The most exacting test of all to survive is prosperity.”
I totally agree with Oswald Chambers. It is easy to be humble when you lack the resources you desire. The true test is that of prosperity. Will you still have compassion for other people’s point of view? Will you still listen to your clients? Will you set boundaries and have an accountable system when making decisions after you have “arrived”? Will your team matter?
I ask these questions because as an entrepreneur with multiple wins under our belt, and great results to show year in year out, I have to constantly remind myself to stay grounded. I have had my trusted advisors, especially more recently my husband remind me a few times to step back and see things from a different perspective so that I don’t make the wrong decisions because of the “headiness of success”. Success can make you opinionated! Especially if you are already a bold entrepreneur.
All business people and professionals need to be prepared for prosperity. But more importantly, “beware of prosperity.” Beware of thinking your hard work and smartness have brought you this far, and beware of becoming intolerant of others who may not have come as far as you or of those who have contributed to your success. Be proactive about protecting yourself from “pride” that goes before a fall.
Ask God today to protect you from pride that can lead to failure.
Here are 3 practical tips for protecting yourself from the pitfalls of success. I use them frequently and advise you consider them.
1. Have a few trusted advisors/ counsellors that you share your plans and opinion with. They have to be people who have nothing to lose by telling you the truth.
2. Recognise that your success is never based solely on how smart or hardworking you are. There are people who do more and yet haven’t made it yet.
3. Acknowledge the role others (clients, colleagues, friends, family) played in your journey to success. Teamwork is usually underestimated. Always acknowledge those who helped you achieve your dreams. Do this often and do it quickly. It’s a great antidote for pride. (See the letter I wrote to my team the morning after our most recent win.)
Finally, ask God today to protect you from pride that can lead to failure.
No one is immune from starting well and ending badly. The scriptures are full of men and women who did great things for God but did not finish well toward the latter part of their lives.
To Your Success.
It’s Tycoon Tuesday. Let’s remember to stay true to our life’s core values as we do business with integrity.
PS. Excerpts from The Integrity Test
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2 by Os Hillman