Once someone achieves a certain level of success, there is this notion that they are now beyond self-critique. That somehow all the hard work that went into becoming a success is no longer needed. This may hold true for those with fifteen minutes of fame, but leaders who are in it for the long haul must find a way to funnel the pressures of success into constructive efforts. Actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar spoke about this in a recent interview.
Whether it’s competing in something, or if I’m doing my work, even my vows for my wedding… I just want it to be right. And it’s me. I take pride in my work. [For the Pete Holmes sketch], you wrote that. I wanted to make you proud. Really, that’s what it comes down to. I don’t want Pete to think I’m a f—k up. Honestly, that’s really what it is. I don’t want the sound guy holding the boom microphone, the camera people, the make up people to think I’m not worthy. I’m always feeling that I need to prove it.
When appearing on Pete Holmes’ TV show, Gosselaar could have dismissed Holmes’ judgments; in fact, Gosselaar is established enough that he can dismiss the judgments of most people. But he doesn’t. Gosselaar sees every opportunity, regardless of how small, as another chance to re-prove what he can do.
We can chalk up success to intelligence (intellectual or emotional), relationships, or wealth, but none of these things matter if there’s not a constant drive towards perfection. Many folks know this, however it’s the successful people who actually act on it. Take every opportunity to impress someone else. They may be the only ones who know, but sustainable success comes in small steps.