What to do when your success becomes your straitjacket

Some of the most miserable people I’ve ever met have been the most ‘successful’.

They had the big house and the fancy car (and worked 80 hours a week to keep them).

They had the Instagram feed full of cool ‘workation’ pictures (that they were actually miserable while taking).

They had the really successful small business (that was actually sucking the life out of them because it just wasn’t true to what they wanted).

I’ve even been there — just a few years ago I had a beautiful home on a Royal Park, another holiday home at the beach, several successful businesses, and all the gadgets you can think of … and I was also so busy that I barely had any time left for my son and friends. I was running myself into the ground with meeting after meeting, email after email, stuck in the trap of constant busyness.

So what do you do when your success becomes your straitjacket?

1. Acknowledge what’s going on.

This can be really hard, because it means you’ve got to admit to yourself that what you’ve got or what you’re working on isn’t satisfying you the way you hoped it would.

It can also be tough to explain to other people, who just see the success and come back at you with things like “But what do you have to complain about? You’re doing so well!” It’s absolutely crucial though — acknowledging that something’s wrong is the first step to fixing it.

2. Get to the heart of the matter.

What do you really want? What is it that you’re not getting from your current business or situation?

Really focus on drilling down to the very core of what you want, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking that more stuff, work, or anything else will fix it.  When I was feeling trapped, I thought I wanted more — but what I needed was less. So use the principles of do less, get more to figure out what you really want, down deep.

3. Then get a plan in place.

After you’ve figured out your end goal, then you need to get a good plan in place. Implementation is key! While it’s really easy to dream about what you really want out of life, actually taking action is much harder. So remember this simple, but hard to follow truth: if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Don’t let your dreams stay dreams — make a plan and make them a reality.

4. Grow your support network.

The key here is to surround yourself with people who really get you and who will support you unconditionally, but challenge you when you need it. Remember, you’re largely the sum of the five people that you spend the most time with. So who are you surrounding yourself with — and what is that creating in your life?

Having a good network is also key for accountability. Having even one person that you make yourself accountable to when you’re trying to reach a goal increases your chances of following through to 95%!

5. Do it NOW.

This is the most important thing — whatever you’re doing to break out of your straitjacket, take the first step right NOW. Don’t let it slip down your priority list until it’s suddenly two years later and you’re still in the same situation, re-reading this blog post and wishing you’d made a change earlier.

Now tell me: what’s the first step you’re going to take towards really living life on your terms?