We can’t help it. When we read an interview with a high flying, successful person, we secretly compare ourselves to them with our mind making little mental notes. Their lives seem perfect, and they seem so poised and confident. I wish I could be like that. Why do they seem to have it all, while I am struggling? When will things ever go my way?
For the longest time, I too believed in these popular myths of success, until I met several CEOs who became my mentors. When I asked each one of them what is the one biggest lesson they would like to share, their answers were unexpected, powerful and humbling.
These are the 5 powerful and humbling lessons they shared about success:
You freeze. Your mind races furiously, as you try to come up with a reply.
Time seems to stretch forever while everyone in the room looks at you for an answer, the silence growing louder every second.
You know the work inside out, but yet, at this crucial moment, your mind seems to have shut down.
And you can’t help thinking:
What is wrong with me?
Why does my mind always freeze when I need it most?
I am so embarrassed.
Why can’t I be like other people who are calm and confident?
The truth is, mind freeze is absolutely normal and there’s nothing to feel ashamed of.
It’s simply our body’s way of reacting and protecting us when we are in a stressful situation. Even the most seasoned politicians have frozen during presidential debates.
You look at the time every few minutes, counting down the hours and minutes until the work day ends and you can leave.
The last hour always feels like forever.
It’s another frustrating day at work. Stuck in yet another project you couldn’t care less about.
There’s this nagging feeling that you are not utilizing your strengths, talents and abilities to your fullest potential in your job.
Deep down you know you need to change. But it feels so overwhelming.
Where do you start? What do you do?
The truth is that feeling stuck is a good sign – because it is an acknowledgment that where you are is not working for you anymore.
Your chest constricts and your throat tightens, as that familiar rush of anxiety floods through your body, while you listen to the litany of harsh criticisms your boss has about you.
It feels as if your brain is being overwhelmed on this torrent of emotions right now. That is all you feel. You can’t focus on anything else, even if you want to.
At the back of your mind you know that you should not let it get to you. But in the heat of the moment it’s so incredibly difficult. You can’t think clearly. All you want to do is to react – even if you know that it could end up with disastrous consequences.