Any long-term strategy of success requires a certain bit of humility. This seems easy…unless you’ve ever been the leader. Once your role is established and you have some degree of authority, it takes more effort to remain grounded. David Arquette explains this well.
In a recent interview, David Arquette was describing a promotional campaign for his first job, a 1990 TV series called The Outsiders. He and the cast went to a mall,
We walk in and we’re like the Beatles. We’re in Teen Beat and all this crap. And we go out, we see all these kids, take all these pictures. People are freaking out, our ears are ringing, and then we leave and get back into the limousine. And as we’re driving away Robert Rusler, an amazing actor, turns to me and says, ‘Listen, that was all that, but now you’re just you again. And we’re just here again. Don’t believe the hype.’…The show was cancelled the next week.
Believing how great you are, while a nice feeling, causes you to lose the hunger that’s gotten you as far as it has. It encourages you to justify misfortune versus addressing it, thus leading you to unconsciously build a cocoon to guard against the harsh realities of the world.
As leaders, we cannot let ourselves fall victim to the cheers and excitement. Those moments are nice and should be treasured, but when we give too much credit to publicity, sycophants, and our well-fed ego, we stop growing. We need to maintain a sense of doubt to keep us humble. We need to surround ourselves with those who still see us as a “normal” human being and are willing to provide unsolicited critiques. We need to nurture a culture where no one gets to sit on a pedestal.
One successful venture does not equate to a lifetime of success. Even the best experience highs and lows along their journey. When you are fortunate enough to hit a high, enjoy it. But do not be delusional in thinking it’ll last forever. Live too long on the merits of one win, and you risk being stuck with one win.