Suppose you reach your career goals; your hopes and ambitions for success in your work have come true. Could you handle the stress of career success?
There’s a myth that achieving your career goals–whether defined as money, prestige, power or more leisure time–provides peace of mind and happiness, fame and fortune.
Truth is success is not an unalloyed panacea. Success almost always produces stress and pressure of one kind or another. For those who can’t cope with these conditions, success can lead to negative results.
Security Blankets Are Left Behind
There are many reasons for this contradiction. One underlying factor is that individuals who “make it” find that they have to leave behind some of the familiar and comfortable things–their security blankets–and adapt to new conditions. They encounter pressures and problems they never knew down the ladder.
For example, suppose your definition of success is being promoted to head of the department in which you work. Finally, you win the prize. Now, your life changes. You must begin “bossing” those men and women who have been your peers and your friends. Sooner or later you won’t see eye to eye with them. Now, the responsibility for results of your department weighs on your shoulders. Or you may have to lay off employees or demote some. You feel more isolated than ever before in your career.
But suppose you can handle the stress of all of this, and you make a success of the assignment. The company wants to promote you to even more responsibility; but the next step means leaving your hometown, moving across the country to another plant location, which surely would produce more stress and strain.
Can You Handle The Stress?
How will you resolve these conflicts in your life and the lives of those you love?
Will you abandon the goals you have set for your career path, and opt for what you imagine to be a less stressful life?
Before making such a crossroads decision about success in your life, stop and think it through.
What kind of pressure do you produce for yourself if you start coasting before you have reached the full potential of your life? Living with the idea of “what might have been” can be a heavy burden.
Obviously, the key is not trying to avoid stress altogether because that is not possible. The key is to learn how to deal with success.
Job Tips For Handling Career Success
Here are four career tips that will help you in dealing with the stress of job success.
1. Have a clear definition in mind of what success means for you and your family. What place does income play in your view of success? How important is where you live? How much authority do you want and need to be happy? What about personal time versus work time?
2. Realize that success is multi-dimensional. Satisfaction has to come from more than one source. Getting the promotion you covet won’t deliver success if the demands of the job are such that the rest of your life goes to pot.
3. Understand that events and demands do not produce stress in and of themselves. It is your perception of them that causes the pressure. It is a well known fact that the body kicks off stress responses when one thinks something is going to happen just as it does when that event actually occurs.
4. Realize that well-managed stress can be healthy. In fact, stress is necessary to keeping your internal engine tuned up and running at the speed needed to enjoy a successful life.
I wish you career success!
Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work