Are You Guilty About Your Success?

      There are many, many stories about how this year’s pandemic has altered our lives! There are tragic stories both personally and business-wise of those that have not been able to survive. We tend to hear more about the tragedy. 

      An interesting phenomenon that has arisen amongst people and businesses in our circles is a sense of guilt in admitting that they are doing well and flourishing due to the changes they had to make to deal with the pandemic.  

      What’s really fascinating about this is that we have always lived in a society where some flourish while others do not. Nothing has actually changed about that!  

      What seems to have changed is people’s assumptions that it is no longer acceptable to share their ‘good news’ with others.  Now I’m not talking about sharing it from a bragging perspective, like the person you meet up with from your old high school that rubs your nose in the fact that they did indeed become a wealthy brain surgeon while you did not! 

      One client shared this story: “I feel so guilty for loving what Covid has created for me. It meant I got to work from home which gave me the opportunity to relocate several states away to be closer to my family and friends.

      I can work the hours that most align with my natural productivity rhythm and am getting more done in less time. I feel guilty that I am loving this when so many people are feeling so challenged by the Covid situation.” 

      Another client shared this: “Our business has never been better. We are so busy we are having a hard time keeping up with demand for our product. Selling to and serving our customers has never been easier." 

      We are reaching new customers online that we would have never reached before from our small retail outlet. We are having the best months in our history. And I feel like I can’t share that happiness and gratitude with anyone outside the business! 

      All situations create opportunity 

      Mark Cuban said, “Creating opportunities means looking where others are not.” 

      We have spoken with many leaders over the past few months who shifted quickly and actively sought out the potential opportunities in the situation. 

      For many people the crisis we are experiencing has forced them to pause, to examine their life in a new way, to spend more time with their family, to expose them to a new way of working, to think differently about what is possible for themselvestheir business, their community. 

      And for many people this has led to increased happiness and sense of wellbeing. 


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      Understand the Guilt and Celebrate the Good 

      It’s important to understand why we feel guilty about being successful. Dr. Jamie Long shares this perspective

      To be successful means to stand out from your social group, colleagues, family members, and friends. It requires a fair amount of courage to surpass the in-group as there’s always a strong pull to remain at an equal level. As long as you stay within the confines of average and expected, you will blend right in. Blending in can feel intoxicatingly comfortable while standing out will naturally evoke feelings of maladaptive guilt.” 

      It is also important to shine light on the success and goodness that exists in the world and in life. Celebrating goodness brings hope and hope motivates us!  

      These moments of celebration make us pause and be mindful, and that boosts our well-being. According to social psychology researcher Fred Bryant and others, when we stop to savor the good stuff, we buffer ourselves against the bad and build resilience—and even mini-celebrations can plump up the positive emotions which make it easier to manage the daily challenges that cause major stress.  When we have something to look forward to, or look ahead to something worth celebrating, we feel more optimistic, according to research led by Hadassah Littman-Ovadia. 


      Savoring the Good Stuff 

      Here are some things we have heard and experienced over the last few months that we want to savor 

      • Many people are thriving – we celebrate their success. Their ability to quickly pivot their business and personal lives and find opportunity where they did not see it before. We want to encourage them not to hide their happiness but to humbly share it so others might see opportunities for themselves. 
      • Many people are connecting more with others – we celebrate them and the more intimate connection that has come from asking others, “How are you?” and really meaning itWanting to hear the real answer, not the stock answer of “I’m fine.” Some leaders have shared they have never been more connected with their team as now they schedule purposeful time each week when before it might have been more ad hoc. They are also scheduling more social connection time which they might not have done previously. 

      • Many people are pausing and slowing down – we celebrate their ability to pause even when it is really uncomfortable. For some there is fear in the slowing down. “Who am I if I am not moving at breakneck speed?” They are leaning into the fear, pushing through it and discovering new things about themselves and the world around them. 

      • Many people are working more efficiently, especially those who have lost the commute time – we celebrate those taking advantage of time! They are using the extra time to devote to hobbies or physical activity or family time or volunteering in their community or much needed ‘me’ time.  

      • Many people are becoming more aware – we celebrate those living more consciouslyPerhaps being conscious of a new or renewed awareness of the impact of racial bias, the impact of industrialization on our earth, the short time we may have with those we love, our impact on others.  

      • Many people are being more generous – we celebrate their generosity. Whether it is donating PPE or picking up groceries for an elderly neighbour or volunteering at the food bank or shelter or mentoring future leaders in their organization. Some leaders are supporting local restaurants and businesses and having treats sent to their employees homes. Some are reconnecting to what matters to them and recognizing how they can up the generosity. 

      I saw this quote and thought it spoke volumes…

      Crisis can be a unique opportunity to change your path, to explore new opportunities, to help you become the person you were meant to be!”
      ~ Anonymous 

      Helping you become the person you were meant to be is a beautiful thing to celebrate! We wanted to take a moment and celebrate the opportunities that have been created through the challenges we have experienced this year. 

      What opportunities are you seeing?  What are you savoring? 

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