Striving for Success

By: Ashlee FB
I recently came across an interesting article on LinkedIn, titled, “Do You Struggle With These False Beliefs About Success?” written by Judith Sherven, PhD. I found this article so intriguing because, for many of us, it is the epitome of why we all feel it is necessary to acquire a bachelor degree: to be successful. In the business world, often times success equates with money, and money with power, and so on. Dr. Sherven believes people who strive for success are generally split into three categories:
1) I’m going to be overwhelmed now that I’ve got this larger role
2) I need to work extra hard in order to prove myself
3) I’m smarter than everyone else and don’t need to prove myself
I found these categories to be somewhat limiting, as many people would fall somewhere between categories, if included in them at all, and I still found her explanations of these groups quite fascinating nonetheless. The following is a summary of her explanations for each group:
1) I’m going to be overwhelmed now that I’ve got this larger role
“These people feel compelled to know everything before they even begin a new role. And since they can’t possibly do that ahead of time, they live with heightened anxiety, fearful that at each moment of their new job they will be found out as not deserving of the promotion they just received.” People who fall into this category often struggle with stress and anxiety, if not both.
2) I need to work extra hard in order to prove myself
Dr. Sherven states, “When these people take on a new position, they typically have their eye on the next rung up as the prize for doing well. So it makes sense to them to work extra long hours, take on more responsibilities than they can comfortably execute, and drive themselves into the ground doing so.” This group can also result in extreme anxiety, as promotions are not always so easy to come by, nor do they happen often (depending on your industry).
3) I’m smarter than everyone else and don’t need to prove myself
“This rarer group lives with an inflated and naive concept of their own excellence. While generally quite bright, and quite accomplished, they can’t quite imagine why they shouldn’t have whatever position they desire right now.”
I think it’s imperative for all students to evaluate what it is they want in life, including success. I do also believe it is necessary to understand that there is much more to life than JUST being successful in your career. This fine line between success and happiness is something we will all have to learn to balance for the rest of our working career, and I encourage everyone to strive for happiness, first and foremost!
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About ellenhatfield

New professional in the field of Student Affairs in Higher Education. I am a Career Counselor at the University of MN Duluth.

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