The spiritual stigma of success
One of the topics I love to explore is the spiritual stigma of success and its perceived association with ego. Sometimes the spiritually-minded are so fearful of their own egos that they think the most PC answer is: I don’t want success, I just want to help people and be of service…
YES! OMG, that IS success! Success CAN be congruent with your morals and values. Sure, there are people who gain successes that compromise their values… But that is certainly not the only or easiest way to be successful. It’s our social perspectives around success that falsely lead us to believe this and ultimately sabotage our own access to true success.
We often create undue suffering for ourselves with these subconscious beliefs and images of who we think successful people are, what we think they needed to sacrifice to achieve success, and who they may have to hurt to get there. Subconsciously, the association that we often make with this erroneous image of success is that of power over others.
How does success look to you?
This image of success does not need to be the one you impose on yourself. Let me give you some prime examples that we often don’t subconsciously attribute to success.
- The Dalai Lama – A successful thought-leader and compassion advocate
- Gandhi – A successful liberator and leader of peace and indépendance
- Dr Wayne Dyer – A multi-best-selling author of personal development books
- Louise Hay – Who built an empire supporting thought leaders share their message
POWER is a basic human need… Eeeekkk! Yes, I SAID IT! Let me explain while your ego has a hissy fit.
Our 5 needs
In the teachings of Dr William Glasser, we all have 5 basic needs. We are all trying to satisfy our own unique recipe of desire that is held within these 5 simplified categories. They are Love/Belonging, Security, Fun, Freedom and Power.
Now your desire to be a “good person” and the subconscious programming you developed through your childhood will leave you subconsciously cringing to the truth that.. YOU NEED POWER.. Or to calm your ego down and get on board, you need EMPOWERMENT – feel better? 😉
We have such negative perspectives around admitting we need power as we automatically jump to this perspective of people who need power.
- They’re a control freak
- They’re overpowering
- They’re a bully
- They’re selfish, self-centred
- They’re mean
These are all types of having power OVER others. But one of the basic ingredients that you need in life to feel satisfied is the feeling of power that comes with achievement, accomplishment, completion and closure.
Power is at it’s most powerful when you are tapping into the truest source of power. The power that you gain when you work to achieve something by yourself or in collaboration with others. Feeding your need for power from disempowering others and essentially borrowing it from another is a non-renewable source of energy and self-destructive behaviour. Think of Petroleum vs. Solar power.
So let me map out the neurology that often comes up when I work with people.
Success = Power = Selfishness = Bad person = Rejected = Alone
Or a variation thereof. This is a super-simplified model, but when we dig into it, it often follows this type of thread.
Often this is the social paradigm many have:
Good person = Putting others first = Self-sacrifice = Martyr = Worthy/deserving
Friend or foe?
Here are the telltale signs that you have an unhealthy relationship with success:
- You struggle
- Not much comes easily (especially in regards to savings, sticking to your intentions, getting “ahead”)
- You can’t stop or you feel like you’re falling behind
- It’s never about you and when it is, you feel subtle guilt or you feel obligated to pay-it-forward
- “Other things” take over or are a distraction to your dreams
- You are just getting by or treading water – Nothing more, nothing less
- You feel guilty or you feel you need to make up for something when you say yes to you, take time for yourself, make yourself a priority, make your desires a priority.
- You feel like you are swimming against the current especially when it comes to achieving your professional goals.
The list goes on endlessly….but that should give you something to start exploring.
Try this quick exercise
Here’s a quick cheat that you can do thanks t will help you to get clear on what you REALLY think (subconsciously) about success. (if you do it without conscious judgement)
Without thinking about it with a pencil in hand, freely write everything that comes when you finish these sentences.
- Rich people almost never ________
- Rich people almost always ________
- Successful people almost never _________
- Successful people almost always _______
- Good people never_____
- Good people always_____
- In order to be true to my spirituality, I need to______
- Rich people have to give up_______
- Successful people have to give up ______
- Rich people don’t ___________
- Successful people don’t______________
- Describe your typical rich person in detail:_____
- Describe your typical successful person in detail:____
- Describe your image of a spiritual person:_____
I’d love to hear your answers, feel free to reach out and send them to me!
Success from the heart
If you’d like more information about success from a heart-based foundation. I invite you to watch my two-part webcasts that cover the stigma of success.
- Accessing Success – A new feel-good model
- Becoming a Success Magnet
You can request them here:
When you are ready to achieve your goals, let’s chat and get you from where you are to where you want to be: