How to Overcome a Past Success to Make it Happen Again

Donald Miller

Success can be the worst thing that ever happens to you. Many people can handle failure, but very few can handle personal accomplishment.

I watched an NFL football game recently when a young, highly touted quarterback was benched after throwing several interceptions. His reaction to the benching wasn’t great. He sat on the bench and sulked, even as he was being lectured by one of his own players to stand on the sideline and watch the game.

*Photo by Adrian Amador, Creative Commons

But having achieved such glory in the college game was now working against him. When we achieve success, we assume our greatness will remain without the hard work it took to achieve the greatness in the first place.

Success can derail us.

I read last week about a professor who left his job and moved to the country after his novel became a bestseller and won a few literary awards. He wrote a letter back to a friend explaining his move. In the letter he stated he felt a dark and real danger about sticking around the campus and continuing to hear so much praise about his work. He said that a writer must never allow himself to become known as accomplished, because the attention will ruin any further work. Instead, he said, he moved to the country, turned off his phone and his television, and faced the haunting reality of the blank page.

He stated that we must all go back to the beginning, over and over, and stay as hungry as we were when we were, well, hungry.

What past successes of notoriety could possibly derail you? And what are you doing to overcome those distractions?

-Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller is a student of story. He helps people live a better story at Storyline through this blog and the Storyline Conference. He helps leaders grow their businesses at StoryBrand, where they get an entire marketing education in 2 days at his Workshop. Donald lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Betsy, and their chocolate lab, Lucy. For regular updates, follow Don on Twitter (@donaldmiller) and Instagram. To read more of his posts on the Storyline Blog, click here.