We all live in an ultra competitive world… ever improving results are demanded, performance measures are expanded and league tables are common place.
So when results become so important, the meaning you give to them will change your actions, decisions and feelings dramatically… So what are you? A failure avoider or a success seeker and why does it matter to your health and well-being?
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I first learnt about these differences, in mindset, with an old boss whom I was finding it difficult to connect with – I couldn’t understand why, as we were aiming for the same results, so had at least that as common ground, but nothing seemed to work and they always seemed to be stressed, panicked and concerned.
Then during one conversation I jokingly said about one particular result, that I wasn’t performing particularly well on, that “at least I’m not the worst”
The reaction I received was unexpected – it was a moment of genuine connection from a line manager I had found it impossible to connect with previously.
The problem in our connection was this – We were both focused on the same performance measures, yet I had been focused on delivering the best I could and he was focused on not being the worst.
When analysing my own career, I realised that at times I had adopted this mentality too… I wanted to blame external factors – the company focus, the boss, the team, the customers – but when I was honest, it was my choice. Just like it is for you.
The meaning you give defines you
These small changes in meaning, completely diversifies the actions, decisions and feelings of the individual.
A success seeker will focus on being the best they can be, progressing and moving forward. They are not jealous of others performance, rather keen to understand how to improve… they are also free in sharing the strategies and techniques that help them perform well. A success seeker wants to do good and be good… they don’t need to look good.
On the flip-side the failure avoider is focused on others performance and being better than some. They show jealousy in others success’s and you will hear them making up excuses for why others have done well “it was just lucky” or “their customers are easier to sell too” or “it’s easy to improve when your results were bad before” are the type of things you will hear them say.
There is no chance they will ever share what has worked for them, because that gives them the upper-hand… unless, of course, it has the opportunity to make others look bad in the process, then they will gladly share as it proves they are better than someone else.
How to identify what you are
Creative and sharing
Focused on own performance
Wants to improve
Will take risks to progress
Will sometimes achieve the exceptional
Focused on others performance
Wants to be better than someone else
Won’t take risks
Will achieve “just enough”
Which are you?
I have been both in my lifetime – this has depended on my situation, confidence and environment – It doesn’t mean you are a bad person if you are a failure avoider and it doesn’t mean you are totally awesome if you seek success… It is the meaning you give.
The side effects
If you try to avoid failure then you focus in on others performance, so you can ensure you are not the worst… You can’t control others performance, so if others have a good day, you feel awful and if others are struggling you feel good… That’s a massive problem… If you focus on the things you can’t control it will only bring stress, anxiety and panic into your life – and I am sure you know the phycological and physical health problems that come with stress, anxiety and panic. If you don’t, look it up… however in simple terms they are killers.
When you seek success it’s different – being focused on improvement, on making progress is literally the recipe for happiness! You feel better, you relieve yourself from the worry of looking good, so that you can have lots of energy and enthusiasm to DO good! Not only that… because you are trying to improve, you will improve… so get better results!
My advice? Having utilised both mindsets in my life… I recommend you choose to be a success seeker… it’s more fun, less stressful and you give yourself a significantly increased chance of being happy, fulfilled and successful!