What happens if you hit your dream too early? For years I’ve watched this phenomenon play out in 21-yr-old NFL players who sabotage their early success. The stories of drug abuse and personal failure as child actors become adults are legend. Most lottery winners destroy their unexpected success within three years. Last year I spoke at the White House to a group of mostly 30-somethings who knew they would be moved out with the next administration. Where do you go after having had a White House assignment so early in your career?
Wednesday night Taylor Swift described her emotions upon winning the CMA Entertainer of the Year – that industry’s highest honor. She said she was dumbfounded at winning the award of her dreams at only 19 years old. She added that she always likes a challenge and she wasn’t sure now what new challenge she would be working toward.
Is it a good thing or a curse to “win” too early in life? Is success sweeter if it comes only after years of hard work? Are you ready to handle success?
Cervantes said, “The road is better than the inn.” In my own experience I know I’ve frequently enjoyed the challenge of success more than the end result I had in mind.
Have you ever seen a dog that actually catches a car? While the chasing seemed to be a thrilling adventure, reaching it usually produces a state of “What now?” It seems that attaining success often confuses people as well.