Why It's Lonely at the Top--and What To Do About It
BY Mayra Jimenez
Even success comes with its share of challenges. How to prepare for, and face them.
When you dream about building a business, you imagine all the amazing lives you might touch, or the impact you will have in your industry. Dreams are pure, passionate, full of sentiment and emotion. Without dreams, great leaps in technology and groundbreaking discoveries would not exist. We are a product of our forefather's dreams!
But visionaries beware: dreams can lead you to envision reality in only one dimension. We tend to overlook other, messier factors during our imaginative episodes. Truth is, as you climb the uphill journey into success, it's exhilarating and thrilling, but it's also lonely. If you hope to be a successful entrepreneur, consider the idea that success often comes with a dollop of seclusion. Are you ready to give up your camaraderie for success? Here's a few things to consider:
A bigger platform comes with more opinions When your business becomes successful, more people get to know your cause. This yields a platform for more opinions, and unfortunately, opinions are like butts: Everyone has one. Be ready to hear unfair criticism of you, your company, or your purpose. You might be championing the most noble cause in the world, but not everyone will see it that way. You can't please everyone, so don't attempt it.
Mo' money, mo' problems The iconic song has some valuable truth to it. As your business grows, your problems grow, too. A lot of people equate great financial success with the end-all-be-all of problems, but NOOO. A modicum of success actually introduces a new chapter in your company's history. More is at stake, and decisions are harder and more complex than ever. Large scale initiatives are more costly, and all eyes are on you. Get ready to come out with a bang.
Admiration equals isolation Think of it this way: Your hero can rarely do wrong--in your mind. So when other people learn of you via public avenues, they might tend to idolize you or what you stand for. All of a sudden, flattery takes on a different form, because it gives others a one-sided perception of you, as someone with a great life and --how convenient!-- no troubles or flaws. As we all know, that's just not the case. Keep your ego in check. No one knows you like you do.
Naysayers will try to compensate Then there are the naysayers. There will be people out there who might have a hard time feeling happy for your success. To compensate for your triumphs, they will criticize you. From Bill Clinton to Jason Russell, great leaders all face their share of attempted sabotage. People whom you think you can trust may very well betray you. Narrow your inner circle to those who are genuine.
This isn't to say it's not worth fighting for you want. To the contrary! Be prepared for the ride. It's exhilarating, it's worth it, and it might be a wild one.
In 2007, MAYRA JIMENEZ and her husband founded The Orchid Boutique, which specializes in designer swimwear made in their native Colombia. Today, Orchid Boutique is a multimillion-dollar business. @mayra_j