Is a Martyr Complex Killing Your BIGG Success?

battling your inner demons

(Image in this post from Flickr)

Many people never become a BIGG success because they have a martyr complex. Only it’s not the typical “woe is me” type of thing.

These are people who seem to have it all together. They appear to be going places. Yet they never get the BIGG break. They never reach the pinnacle.

Why not? What’s keeping them from BIGG success? They are!

See if you relate to the following. The two of us sure do. We’ll tell you why.

The problem with valuing hard work

You value hard work. You may even be known for your strong work ethic. People compliment you about it.

And they have every reason to do so. You’re willing to work and work, to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

So you push yourself to your limits, which go far beyond the limits most people would consider reasonable. But you’re a BIGG goal-getter so you tell yourself that it’s okay.

Hard work is part of the price for BIGG success, right? So you willingly give every ounce of energy you can muster up…and then some.

Problem: At some point, it becomes unproductive. You’re too tired to think, to create, to communicate. You make mistakes that you wouldn’t make if you didn’t expect so much of yourself.

Solutions: We both value hard work. However, we’ve learned hard work is fine. Excessive work is counter-productive.

§ Remember what matters. You reach BIGG success by hitting your goals. Make sure all your activities move you closer to your goals. Then look for the most efficient way to perform them. In the end – only results matter, hours worked don’t.

  • Set the proper expectations. You’re human, not superhuman. Be realistic about what you can achieve. Otherwise, you’ll burn out.
  • Give yourself a break. Refresh physically, mentally and emotionally. Indulge yourself with a great book, take a bubble bath or do something else that tickles your fancy.
  • Invest time with your loved ones. Not only do they deserve it, they probably miss you.

The two problems with valuing perfection

You value perfectionism. This can manifest itself in many ways and most of them are destructive.

You may feel like you must have all the information before you make a decision. So you just keep gathering and gathering. There’s always one more piece of information to be uncovered, one more gem to discover.

On the other hand, you may strive for perfection in the work you do. You can always find a way to make it a little bit better.

Here’s a visual example of how this attitude plays out in both the cases we just mentioned:

table_Is a Martyr Complex Killing Your BIGG Success

Obviously, we constructed this with the Pareto Principle in mind. So 20% of your time yielded 80% of the results. An hour well spent.

But what the next hour? And the next? You’ll see diminishing returns in each subsequent one hour investment. At some point, you have to say enough.

Problems: First, you may never get started. Second, striving for perfection slows everything down in a world where speed means so much.

Solutions: We have learned to remind ourselves to strive for excellence, not perfection.

  • Focus on getting started, not getting it perfect. A lot of time is wasted perfecting things that aren’t important. Launch and learn.
  • Once you get it started, focus on moving forward. Get inertia working in your favor.

The fear of success

Are you afraid of success? We know, it sounds like a silly question. But it’s more common than you might think.

You may be afraid to succeed because it means you will stand out. You fear your friends may not like you any more, or that they will treat you differently.

And you’re right about that. Some of your friends may be insecure. They can’t celebrate your success. Others may be jealous so they can’t stand the thought of congratulating you for your accomplishments. Still others may treat you with newfound respect.

If you’re afraid of success, any sign of success
is like an energy drink for your inner demons.

They’ll come out in full force. They’ll bring up all your shortcomings. They’ll remind you of something you failed at to get your mind of your success.

If those things don’t discourage you, they’ll serve up distractions. They’ll bring in something you’re not happy with – “I didn’t exercise today.” They’ll help you remember another area of your life or business where you haven’t been able to move forward.

They’re only too happy to tell you all of the reasons why you don’t deserve BIGG success, according to them. If you listen to them, you’ll never live up to your full potential.

Problem: Fear of failure will keep you from ever really trying to be a BIGG success. But it’s fear of success that will derail you on your way to your BIGG dream.

Solutions: The key here is to fight the thoughts that hold you back and find ways to get bucked up when you most need it.

  • Reverse your thought pattern. Instead of thinking about standing out from your friends, see yourself with the ability to help the people you care about more than ever before.
  • Pick the right friends. True friends want you to be a BIGG success. If someone you think is a friend can’t celebrate your wins with you, remind yourself that it’s their loss, not yours.
  • Talk back to your inner demons. When they hit you with a negative, fight back with a positive. But why stop there? Find at least three positives for every negative.
  • Find support. You’re a BIGG goal-getter. Unfortunately, most of your friends and even your family won’t understand your ambitions. That’s why we created this place – the BIGG Success EntreprenurturingÔ Center. It’s the place to get support for your BIGG endeavor and to share your experiences to help others.

A martyr complex?

Is it a martyr complex? We think that’s only the case in rare instances.

If you’re like us, you work hard because your desire is just that BIGG. You are a perfectionist because you want to serve others that much. You aren’t so much afraid of success as you are afraid that you’ll disappoint – i.e. you won’t fully live up to your reason for being here.

We still struggle with shutting down before we absolutely need to. We still occasionally have to fight the perfectionists within us. But we’re sure not afraid to strive for BIGG success!

How about you? Have you experienced any of this? How have you dealt with it?

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