Hot take coming up. Can we really call someone successful if their personal life is in shambles?

This post is genuinely not about judging anyone. Life is complex and we can experience all sorts of hardship and pain when we least expect it.

So let’s start with me.

I haven’t burned out personally but I’ve been on the trajectory towards it. I’ve made many mistakes where I’ve let others down and myself. There are seasons of life where I look back and regret or even cringe.

We’re all human and imperfect. But I see a worrying trend online and in today’s culture that I do want to talk about.

I’ve noticed that many of the people I admire and follow online for their business wisdom or creative insights often reveal that the rest of their life isn’t doing so great.

If it’s not said openly, it’s kind of obvious when you read behind the lines.

Of course worst case scenario, it’s revealed in a big way through some sort of public failure.

I still think we can learn from people who are imperfect. And I always look for kernels of truth from those who are further ahead than me in an area.

But I wonder if it’s time we stop glamorising and idolising people who have only succeeded in ONE particular aspect of life?

  • Business is one aspect of life
  • Relationships are another aspect of life
  • Spirituality is another
  • Fitness and nutrition
  • Parenting, marriage etc

We make a fatal area when we assume that one area of success represents all areas of a person’s life.

We consult <insert celebrity here> for their input on <insert topic of the day> even if it’s nowhere near their expertise.

  • Musicians know music
  • Artists know art
  • Business people know business

Here’s the problem for me.

I don’t want to succeed in business but fail in my marriage.
I don’t want a ton of influence on Instagram but lose connection with my kids.
I don’t want to get flown out to speak at conferences whilst my own soul is depleted.

I don’t want success in one area. I want it in all areas. I want health. I want balance.

I want to have influence and wield power but I also want to protect myself from the darkness of it all.

I definitely don’t want to sacrifice one area on the altar for success in another.

Not everyone who is succeeding is doing it in a healthy way.

I’m at different places across the different areas of life that I’m growing in. For example, I’m well versed in communication. And I’m relatively new to fitness.

The important thing is that we’re aware of our need to succeed as a complete human being.

We may fail because of course we are imperfect. (And if you’ve already failed then there is grace for you too).

But let’s get honest about what we want and what we should value.

It’s holistic health and success.

We don’t want to partially win. We want to truly win.

Here are some practical ways we can succeed across all areas, not just some.

1. Build slowly

Ah yes, the S word. Why would we want to get things slowly when we can get them quickly? Because in most (not all) scenarios, success that comes quickly often ruins us.

  • The lottery winner doesn’t have the fiscal capacity to manage his newfound wealth.
  • The young superstar musician hasn’t yet developed the character to resist being treated like a god.

Pride comes quickly to us when we succeed too quickly. Wealth can ruin us. Having wealth is good as long as your relationship with it is healthy.

Be mindful of your capacity to handle things and cautiously build the future. Yes, there are moments for accelerated growth and you’ll know when to maximise them. But don’t covet overnight success. It’s not what it’s cracked up to be. Just ask famous people who can’t go out for a coffee without being mobbed.

2. Work on your inner life more than your external life

The externals are where the fun is. Money. Influence. Impact etc.

But the internals are what sustains the fun.

  • There’s no point having more high paying clients if you can’t respond to emails on time.
  • There’s no point having money if you have persistent back pain (cos you never move from your desk).
  • There’s no point being known if you can’t sleep at night because of the incessant stress.

Build the back end of your life and the front end will flourish.

Build your character and your gifting will thrive.

Build the systems inside your business and you’ll make more money.

Whenever we try to do more than who we are, we compromise in an area. It may be slow or gradual but it is inevitable.

3. Face your weaknesses

The reason we fail in an area is because we don’t focus on it. And we don’t focus on it because it’s not our sweet spot.

When I started my first business teaching music, I noticed that students would frequently skip over the most difficult part of the piece.

That meant that they practised the easiest bits over and over. And rarely touched the difficulty ones

And of course they got better at the former and never improved at the latter.

But when you hear someone play a song, which bit do you notice more? The bit that sounds good or that awkward mistake?

If we can make the decision to face our weakness, we will always find ourselves growing. And the good news is that these basic growth areas will actually have a disproportionate impact on everything you do..

The impact of moving daily if you never exercise is huge. Much greater than the regular fitness guy who starts wants to go to the next level. Newbie gains are a thing and it translates into all areas of life.

So what are you genuinely weak in? Face it head on. Get help by delegating to others in your business. Or paying someone to help you in your personal life. Get mentored. Get stronger.

That’s all I’ve got for you. Thanks for reading this article. I want to encourage you to be an outlier to the rest of the world. Let your story be different. Dare to succeed in all areas.