Can Success Ruin Your Life? Not If You Are Humble!
It seems that there have been no shortages of stories of fallen athletic heroes over the years such as Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods and Dan Marino.
In fact, earlier this month Forbes came out with an actual list of America’s Most Disliked Athletes.
This led me to wonder whether the character traits that landed them on this most dubious of lists are truly who they are or, have the pressures of competition and success somehow led them astray?
For example, was Armstrong always a cheat or was Woods a philanderer as a result of his fame? Do you see where I am going here? In short, is bad behavior part of these individuals from the get go and because of their special or unique gifts and accomplishments we ignore it . . . at least for a time. Or do fame and the expectations, opportunities and the pressures it brings lead these people to stumble.
While we can’t paint everyone with the same brush, I believe that we can identify certain behaviors that deteriorated once the power came.
However, what disappoints me the most is when good people allow fame to distort their view of themselves in relation to the world, such as when they make insensitive statements, or start believing in their own press. In this context, a healthy dose of humility is always in order, in addition to having a good mentor who tells you the truth, regardless of how high you rise . . . whether you like it or not.
So how do you prepare for success – besides surrounding yourself with good mentors and “tell it like it is” people who will help you to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground?
Two simple yet powerful words; humility and gratitude!
When you think of humility and gratitude, who in the sports world comes to mind? What makes them humble and gracious?
I recently wrote about San Francisco 49er quarterback Alex Smith as an example of both humility and grace despite being in a very difficult situation.
Of course humility and grace can be demonstrated at any point in one’s lifetime, such as when 17 year old athlete Meghan Vogel helped competitor Arden McMath cross the finish line after McMath collapsed towards the end of a 3200 meter race.
In one instance you have a highly paid professional athlete showing poise in trying circumstances, in another an everyday teenager demonstrating compassion and good sportsmanship.
From where do these character traits come? Vogel explained that she reacted naturally.
To me, this is the key. Even though we live in a highly competitive world that rewards results, we should not lose sight of the fact that who we are is as important as what we do and accomplish?