A friend recently introduced me to a wonderful idea that she came across in an article she was reading.
I was jokingly talking about a colleague at work and how they were doing really well and I was jealous.
“You know,” my friend said, “I was just reading something interesting. That we need to let go of the idea that there is a finite amount of success in the world.”
I thought about it for a while.
And then thought some more.
And since then I have thought a bit differently.
What a novel idea!
That another person’s success does not necessarily come at the detriment of our own.
That together, if we all achieved our greatest selves, our greatest aspirations, made the most of every minute, that we’d all be better off as a whole.
From a work perspective, I have found this a particularly interesting idea. I don’t think the large organisation that I work for is alone in that during performance appraisal time (which happens to be now for me) our company is forced to fit a certain number of employees into a certain number of ranking groups.
So, if the scale is 1 to 5, there can only be a certain number of 1’s, 2’s, etc. And it occurred to me that this creates behaviour in an environment where there actually is a limited amount of success that is achievable.
This assumes, of course that you are evaluating success in your career by the ranking you receive.
But, essentially, if someone in this type of organisation is very successful, it actually is at the detriment of another.
Naturally, it creates ‘healthy’ competition, but surely there is a downside to this. When a member of the group is far and away the high achiever of the group, wouldn’t this forced ranking system create a feeling of resentment, rather than me being excited for someone else’s accomplishments?
I suppose this leads to the merits of not hanging all your self-worth on your career and accepting that work can be a competitive place. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But it does make you question this structure.
Taking a broader perspective, I think I prefer to think that success is contagious. Surround yourself with people that make you a smarter, funnier, more wonderful version of yourself and you’ll achieve great things.
Erica @ Naked Ambition
What do you think? Do you find that success breeds success? Does your workplace foster or hamper success & development?