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A Most Dangerous Place to Be

We’ve all seen or at least heard about coaches or bosses who drive their players/employees harder in good times than they do in bad. Perhaps you’ve experienced such a person or maybe are that type of individual yourself. What inner drive is behind this personality type? Let me try and explain.

Maybe, just maybe (and very counter-intuitively), it’s because the most dangerous place to be in life and in business is a place called SUCCESS!

In my experience, success is very dangerous to the future of organizations and companies. In fact, the list of successful businesses and corporations that are no longer around is endless.

Ah, success. While it’s certainly true that it can lead to many wonderful things, if one is not careful it can also lead to…

  1. A misguided belief that it will always be this way. It’s easy to believe that what you are experiencing will continue for the foreseeable future. One of the most fundamental truths of business is that it goes in cycles. Business, after all, is always cyclical, never just linear. Than means that when you experience success, wisdom dictates that it’s temporary. Therefore, you need to consider what you need to do now to ensure a future of success.

  2. The tendency to lose focus. In times of crisis, whether personal or in business, there is one thing that is always true. Our attention is needed immediately. The result is that it allows you to focus in very specific ways which lead to clarity on what needs to be done in order to avert disaster and head back in the direction of success. Successful times? Not much attention needed there, right? Let the good times just keep on coming. But that can lead to being unprepared for inevitable changes that you haven’t planned for.

  3. Drifting away from discipline. If you’ve achieved a certain level of success, one of the reasons is probably because you are a disciplined person. The challenge comes when that success is achieved and the natural tendency is to slack off. Some people take their foot off the pedal, usually slowly, and the very discipline that used to be a hallmark of your efforts starts to weaken. That’s when, before you even know it, you begin an unwanted and unforeseen downward cycle. So, right now, if you’re in the middle of a cycle of success you should be re-doubling your efforts to maintain the hard work and discipline that got you to where you are.


Success really is the most dangerous place to be for any organization or person. The solution? Recognize this reality and never allow yourself to be lulled into complacency.

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