The most successful people I know are also the ones who take themselves the least seriously. Don’t get me wrong. They take their work seriously. They’re just cool with their own success. Like anybody who’s figured it out, they know you come with nothing and you leave with nothing and the worms don’t give a ____ what brand of suit you’re buried in.
In other words, they’re not poseurs who require the affirmation of others to walk with a swagger.
The people I admire most are outspoken, take risks and are generally silly about their success. They’ve figured out that it’s better to be a bro who expresses his intentions openly than a guy who carefully measures out everything he does for maximum benefit and safety. What stoic, serious, ‘look-at-my-title’ folks don’t get is people want to work with people, not cut-outs. Happy, helpful people attract opportunities and allies. Self-important people repel them.
The people who are most successful give an appearance of ease – that everything comes easy to them; that life is fun. They don’t advertise how hard they work and or how hard they push themselves to achieve. They do it quietly. They grind out their success and the right people notice at the right time. Everything from managing up to managing down, to managing their social and professional networks is a game to them. And here’s the awesome thing – there are no rules to this game. Just be cool and accountable and be somebody who contributes. Be a bro and don’t always go sniffing for the most benefits. Life is not a spreadsheet and androids never find love. While they’re nickeling and diming their way through their careers, insisting that they need to be recognized and compensated for every little thing they’ve done, successful folks generously give recognition and encouragement to others.
Take your work seriously, not yourself. There is an inverse correlation between how seriously you take yourself and how serious other people take you. Success is not something that someone tells you you’ve attained. It’s the ability to come and go as you please and not be scared into playing a role. Be proud of the stuff you do; not what people call you.
There is an infinite number of ways to make a living and whether you’re having fun or being a _____, stuff continues to happen with or without you. Loosen up and don’t be the guy who sucks the energy out of the room.