Posts Tagged ‘cervantes’

Success too early?

November 13, 2009

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.

 

Never Catch the Fox

July 30, 2009

I had the privilege recently of meeting with a distinguished businessman.  And no, I didn’t go to a nursing home to see this gentleman.  Bill is now 81 years old but came to my office with a very big business proposal for a joint venture that would gain full benefit in the next 3-5 years.  He had a spring in his step and a sparkle in his eyes – obviously enjoying every minute of our business discussion. 

In asking a little about his background, Bill shared that he had some early successes in business and “retired” to an island just off the east coast in 1991 – eighteen years ago at the age of 63.  He had achieved the success he was looking for and would never have to worry about money again.  And then he told me, “Living on that island was the most miserable four years of my life.”  He returned to his roots in business and re-engaged in the daily challenges that drove him previously. 

His summary of what happened was simply – “Never catch the fox.”  What do the hounds do if they ever catch the fox, or what does a dog do if he actually catches the car?  Watch them sit down and lose interest quickly.  Cervantes said, “The road is better than the inn.” 

Don’t think reaching your goal is the only thrill.  Understand that the process of getting there is actually more thrilling than arriving.  I loved Bill’s gentle reminder to me to not just dream of the future – but to savor today.  Enjoy every step of your journey!