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Toxic Success: All success isn't Good

Please know that some success is toxic success.

Here’s a list of some ways to know that success is toxic. Success is toxic if:

1) It requires you to be someone you’re not. The need to be inauthentic to be successful is a sure sign that you are on a path to toxic success. Sometimes you need wisdom on how to tone down certain aspects of our personality to be appropriate in a particular setting like at work and other times, it simply requires you to be fake. This is up to you to decide after much reflection and counsel.

2) It requires you to compromise your core values and what you hold dear to you. Ask yourself at every step, at what point will I walk away from an opportunity? This is part of naming your price in the beginning. It’s easy to betray what you hold dear to you in a crucial moment if you are not grounded in your values. Do your homework (Chapter 3 – Values) in advance so you are not emotionally stuck or in a dilemma when an opportunity comes your way because that is where the heart is exposed.

3) It requires you to go against your purpose and your calling in life. If a certain career pursuit requires you to do something that goes against your calling, you know you’ve messed up. You can reposition yourself. It will probably be inconvenient to do so but it’s worth it in order to re-align yourself with the overarching theme of your life and calling. Being faithful to your purpose is greater than any individual accomplishment or accolade.

4) It requires that you try to please EVERYONE. That is impossible and an unhealthy way to live. We’ll talk about people pleasing in Chapter 36.

5) It requires you to focus on the short term to the detriment of the long term. Not all opportunities are good opportunities. You need to learn to say No.

6) It requires you to engage in negative and/or unethical ways of thinking and acting to succeed. We live in a world where it seems like you have to do deals with the devil to be successful but that’s not true. You can be an honest person of integrity and honorable in your dealings. You need wisdom, counsel, and foresight to avoid getting caught up in unethical and illegal activities.

7) It bases your happiness on a particular result instead of fulfillment from knowing you gave your very best effort in your attempt.

There’s a mindset that exists in the culture that says, “I’m only going to be happy if I win "this award" or "if this person likes me or my work". Ultimately, it’s dangerous to put your happiness in the hands of someone else. I believe simply being the best you can be will help you reach ultimate fulfillment and if you’re positioned to use your genius level talent, you’ll also reach high levels of achievement. No one likes to lose but the desperation that comes with from the “succeed or else” mindset leads to unhealthy habits, fractured relationships and a deep lack of fulfillment.

8) It requires you to move at a pace of life that is simply unsustainable. You cannot live your life at warp speed without warping your soul. I know this is countercultural. An unhealthy compulsion to succeed can lead to burnout, depression, and fractured relationships. If you decide to stand up to the beast of this fast paced culture, you will need wisdom and courage in the process. It’s always recommended to find mentors and models who can guide you on the journey of evaluating your decisions about how to pursue success. See chapter 9 on models and mentors.

9) It requires that you be more concerned about your resume than your eulogy and more concerned about currency (dollars) than legacy (people).

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