Don’t Arrive At The Top By Yourself

The drive to succeed beats within all of us. Some feel the thump of success more than others.

You’re one of those that get into the rhythm and feel the desire. You’re wired for success.

You want to see dreams come true and missions accomplished.

In our pursuit to rise to the top and succeed, we run the risk of arriving at the top alone. It’s one of the reasons many “successful” leaders say leadership is lonely.

They leave a trail of broken relationships in their wake.

A Trail Of Bodies

Have you seen leaders who will do anything to get to where they’re going?

We’ve seen examples of this in other businesses. Enron. WorldComm. And others

Their leadership left a trail of bodies and broken relationships. Though at one point they were considered the top in their fields.

Maybe it’s leaving your family behind while you climb the corporate ladder. Nights and weekends are spent at the office while your wife and children are at home wishing they could spend quality, heck any kind of, time with you.

Instead you’ve put the company above the needs of your family. They’re being left at the bottom while you’re rising to the “top” of your game.

Head Back Down

“Look around when you arrive at the top. If you’re all alone, you didn’t lead.”

If this sounds like you, I’m sorry. That’s a rough position to be in. But I’ve got some great advice for you.

You can turn around and collect the others.

You’ll have to go back and rebuild relationships. You’ll have to make the wrongs right. You’ll have to fall on your sword and admit your wrongs.

Once you’ve humbled yourself and realize there’s more to leadership than arriving, you’ll know that you must do this.

Begin The Ascent Again

Have you gone back and collected those you left behind? I hope so.

Now it’s time to begin ascending the mountain of success again. Keep this in mind:

  • Your success depends on others. Don’t neglect them.
  • Completing this journey by yourself is empty
  • Make time for family and friends. This is what really matters in life.

When you remember these three things, your climb won’t be so lonely and you won’t arrive at the top by yourself. Instead, you’ll have brought others with you.

Isn’t that what leadership is all about?

Question: Have you climbed the mountain of success by yourself? What have you discovered along the way? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Most people in this world are of average or below average intelligence. It is these people that comprise the majority of consumers. The people in this category are often our family members, friends, and yes, even co-workers/colleagues. As such, they need to feel loved, worthy, and valued. Leaders MUST remember this, and be respectful of them regardless of how they may feel within the depths of themselves. Understanding, recognition, and awareness are key components of a successful leader.

    • Lorraine, while I’m not sure I agree with your assessment of most people in the world, I’m with you that leaders must remember to make people feel loved, worthy, and valued. These are motivating drivers every person feels, even those in leadership positions. How do you make those you lead feel this way?

  • I love to write. But I’ve also considered other paths to success: business, music, acting, to name a few. One reason I’ve chosen to work toward success as a writer is that it allows more time to be with the ones I love than many other paths to success. Writers can do the bulk of their work at home, in the evening and early morning. Writing, for me, was partially an intentional choice as a method of working toward success without leaving others behind.

    • Dan, thanks for sharing why you’ve become a writer. I think it’s important we choose work models that suit the ways we want to live our lives with our families and loved ones.

  • I haven’t been in this position, fortunately, but I can see how it’s easy to get on that path. I have caught myself on that path tho and it’s very important to turn around. You make some good points about correcting, hopefully, most of us can correct when we’re only a step or two up.

    • Exactly Jared. It’s important for us to catch ourselves if we find ourselves getting too far ahead of those we’re leading or doing life with. It’s much easier to turn around and get back with your pack.

  • What you have described is why it is so important to find areas of success in every part of our lives – not just work…and not just family for that matter. There have been seasons of work for me where it took too much away from my family (mostly due to travel) and we made a plan to change.

    • You are exactly right Tom, a balanced life is key to successful living – work, family, and faith…sometimes it’s easy to become too focused on one area, to the detriment of the others.

      • You’ve got that right Jonathan. It seems we love to focus in and drill down on specific areas of our lives, while neglecting the others. How do you walk this line?

        • By being Intentional : ) I have a daily journal with 5 areas in it: 1. Scripture, 2. My Emotions, 3. My Relationship with my Wife, 4. My Relationship with my Son, 5. My Work/Professional Development.
          Sounds like I have the outline for an upcoming post – thanks for asking!

    • Glad you were able to course correct Tom. We’ve got to be careful to make sure the most important parts of our lives are being taken care of and not neglected. If you don’t mind me asking, what made you realize that things needed to change?

      • Adopting our son, and then seeing all the things I was missing by not being home more. I love that with my job now I can be home every night and do dinner, play, bath, and bed routine!

        • That’s awesome Tom. And kudos to you for adopting your son. There are many kids out there looking for great parents like you.

  • I like to think I haven’t reached success by myself. Usually the first people not there when you succeed at all costs is your spouse and kids. I still have my wife and kids, have a great relationship with them, so I like to believe I have succeeded at being successful and still having what matters the most.

    • You’ve got the right mindset. There’s always someone else that has helped us reach the heights we’ve reached. It could be our spouse, our children, even another leader. Recognizing them and giving to them their due is so important.

  • I’m “climbing the mountain toward success” and am being intentional about bring others along with me. I want to grow a successful platform but also want others to move forward with me. Great thoughts Joe!

    • You’re doing a terrific job. It’s not always easy to do but it’s important that we do Dan.

    • You’re doing a great job, Dan. It’s amazing to see how you intentionally help others in their leadership pursuits. Keep it up!

      • Thank you Jon:) Glad to be with you on our life journey.

  • Joe,

    Leadership is about relationships. In their book The Leadership Challenge Kouzes and Posner essentially spend hundreds of pages to conclude…leadership is about relationships. I am very goal and task oriented and at times that can conflict with the relationships I build. I work very hard to prevent this from happening.

    Seeing my team members progress reminds me about the need for positive relationships and how important they are.

    • The Leadership Challenge sounds like a great read TJ. Thanks for mentioning it.

      • Joe,

        You have to read the Leadership Challenge! It should be the next book you read, your missing out.

        • Two recommendations for the book. It’s being ordered!

  • It’s definitely best to share praise for a job well done with our team members. When we realize that our team members play a huge roll in the success of the whole, we will have much better teams and we’ll grow higher together.