Why I’m Not As Successful As I Could Be

I’m not as successful as I could be.

But instead of blaming my professional situation on
economic, cultural or industry forces, I recently reflected on themental
obstacles that have been holding me back.

And I’m not looking for help, feedback, sympathy or advice. I just thought I’d
share, in the hopes that these liabilities serve as a mirror for your own.

Why am I not as successful as I could be?

Because I’d rather be
heard than paid.
Since I’m more of an artist than a businessperson, I’m
more concerned with getting my work out into the world than getting money into
my bank account. And because this model has always produced enough income to
support my lifestyle, underwrite my addictions and keep the business alive, why
stop now? The only problem is, this outlook cripples my earning capacity. I feel
guilty about demanding compensation for my work.I feel physical pain when
I’m forced to assign monetary value to my intellectual property. So I’ve
conditioned the marketplace to expect my work as a gift, not a product. They’re
aware of me, but I don’t have command over them. And once you’ve given the milkaway for free, it’s hard to go back charge for the cow.

Why am I not as successful as I could be?

Because I’m once
bitten, twice shy
. The last time I got really successful, I ended up in
the hospital for a week with a tube in my chest. According to my doctor, I didn’t
possess the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wherewithal to handle my newfound
success and its accompanying stress and expectation. So my left lung collapsed.
That was six years ago. Since then, since the body has such a long memory,
part of me is still afraid of getting successful again because I don’t want my
other lung to collapse. Once you’ve seen a ghost, you’re always afraid of the

Why am I not as successful as I could be?

Because I’m more
afraid of success than failure.
If I get exactly what I want, I might
realize it’s not enough. I might become a victim of my own success. I might
discover it’s not what I actually wanted all along. I might mishandle the
changes success brings into my life. I might stop taking the creative risks
that made me successful in the first place. I might succeed and miss my
emotional goal of expected failure. Or I might fail to live up to the
expectations and reputation attached to my success. Either way, these egoic
assumptions keep me from succeeding in spite of myself. It’s textbook
self-sabotage. I’drather fail because it’s familiar. I’d
rather dream from a distance because it’s safer.

Why am I not as successful as I could be?

Because I lack an
overriding sense of urgency.
When I started my company, I had no debt to
cover, no spouse to support, no kids to feed, no community responsibilities to
fulfill and no social obligations to juggle. If I didn’t make a sale, nobody’s
life suffered except my own. If I didn’t bring in new business, the repercussions
were nominal. Meanwhile, my friends with looming mortgage payments and
recurring pediatrician bills were scrambling to close deals, lest their
families doubt their breadwinning abilities. By never installing acute sales
pressure early on, my life situation made me less hungry, made it too easy not
to care and made success less crucial.

Why am I not as successful as I could be?

Because I never needed
to be pedal.
For the first decade of my career, business just came to me. I
never cold called or mass marketed. I simplydid a great job and
waited for the phone to ring. And this lasted for a while, but ultimately, it
was an unsustainable business model that made me complacent and passive. Later,
when the economy tanked, I was forced to decide if my product was a
necessity or a nicety. I had to determine if my past prosperity was of genuine
value, or just brilliant timing and intelligent leverage. Just because you’re riding
a bicycle downhill doesn’t mean your legs are strong.

Why am I not as successful as I could be?

Because I’m a devout
I don’t play to win, I play to keep the game going. I’m not
competitive, I’m not confrontational, I not a hunter, I don’t have the killer
instinct and I’m not a closer. I’m a quirky, sensitive, romantic, pacifist
performer. I just want to make art, make people laugh and change the world.
Unfortunately, that’s not the most profitable personality type for running an
enterprise. Idealism is valuable to the extent that you don’t let it compromise
your financial future. I swear, it seems like the more I care about something,
the harder it is to get paid for it. So Ifollow my passion to
the detriment of my own financial stability. Yay! Another opportunity
not to get paid for something.

Why am I not as successful as I could be?

Because I have childhood
issues with money.
Since I came from an affluent family, I was often
embarrassed by, ridiculed for and taken advantage of for having a lot of money.
But I never wanted to be known as the rich kid,so I did whatever I could tomake
up for the fact that I was born privileged. From pretending to be middle
class to romanticizing about blue-collar jobs to acting excessively generous,I concealed
my wealth whenever possible. And it worked. Nobody knew. Except me.Fast
forward to adulthood, I’ve spent the past decade struggling to close
sales because I hate asking for money. Because deep down, every time I make a
dollar, I feel like I don’t deserve it. And you’ll never be rich if money isn’t
important to you.

Anyway, those are my issues. That’s why I’m not as successful as I could be. Thanks for listening. I’m
working on them.

For now, I hope they sparked reflection on the metal obstacles in
your own career.


Why are you not as successful as you could be?


For the list called, “153 Quotations to Inspire Your Success,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting


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