LISTENING…your way to the TOP!
I’ve certainly had my ups in my career and Lord knows I’ve had many downs….so you can say currently I’m in a holding pattern. The journey however to understand that process which has brought me to the present has been a wonderful learning and developmental experience, an experience I’m diligently trying to share with others. All of you I’m sure have heard that old saying “It’s lonely at the Top”, I can’t tell you how much I detest that thought and whoever the author was of that ridiculous saying didn’t have adequate listening skills, which is why they probably came up with that “masterful” statement. Not that I’ve personally had a tremendous amount of success in my career to even attempt to further brow beat that statement I can say with the various experiences I have had in my career working with those who’ve had that level of pinnacle success the one thing they all had in common which led to their eventual demise…….none of them listened after reaching the top. Hubris, Egotism, Obsessed-Confidence, Arrogance, and Self-Absorbed all can be descriptions that best describe the aforementioned; “Open to Feedback” didn’t rank anywhere close.
Why do we ALL shut off the world when we reach any form of success? It’s very interesting to me when you hear about very successful people being the most miserable and this is after spending all of their life getting to that level only to find out “DAMN IT’S LONELY UP HERE”! Yes, the pressure to stay at a certain level in your career or life can be a challenge because it forces you to think consciously “how do I stay here” rather than who I can reach out too to help me stay here. There’s this thinking that once you get to that top salesperson, top vice president or top CEO that all learning stops and other’s opinion don’t matter because you’re now there. In the little success I’ve had in my career I can tell you when I had the top sales region in the country there wasn’t much you could have told me about anything, especially as it related to running a sales team and I think the reason for that is because I was scared. Yep, I was scared. There were a few things going on in my mind at the time such as, “no one’s going to get credit for my success”, “I know what it took to get here and that’s all that matters”, and (I love this one) “I’m smarter than everyone else”. These are all lack of assuredness mind games that one plays on her/himself when reaching a level of success, and inevitably these same mind games contribute to the downfall. I truly believe now (and it took some time to develop this thinking) that Humility plays a big role in how we see success….and failure. Listening and being more attentive to those around you who can keep you on top is a critical ingredient of humility but it’s also good business and practical in today’s competitive environment.
One of the best quotes I’ve heard in a long time came from Lawrence Taylor (NFL Hall of Famer who’s had his share of ups and downs) that once he and his team reached the Super Bowl and won it….it was one of the biggest let downs in his life.
“Success” in business or life doesn’t have to be a let down…….if you only listen just a little more.
Check out my presentation on “Leadership Excellence” (Accountable Leadership versus Personal Leadership):
Andre’ Harrell (AH2 & Beyond Consulting)