The Personal Context of SuccessPosted: November 10, 2009
Pete Campbell: “I want to be a partner and I want my name in the lobby.”
Don Draper: “There’s not going to be a lobby.
From time to time I wonder when will I reach that peak when I am viewed as a successful individual. I’ve had successes in my life up to this point, so to clarify I’m thinking about ultimate success, the king of the hill. An accompanying thought, and the topic of discuss here is where will I be when I reach that point? Will my name be in the lobby? Will my name be on the door in a high rise corner office? Not necessarily aspirations I’ve dwelled on, but you get the idea
Watching the season finale of AMC’s Mad Men made me think of this. Really throughout the season characters like Roger Sterling and Pete Campbell, but especially Don Draper the protagonist/antagonist has fueled these thoughts.
Roger Sterling: “How long do you think it’ll take us to be in a place like this again?”
Don Draper: “I never saw myself working at a place like this.”
I think for a good amount of people out there, it’s not merely the accomplishment, succeeding, but the context you find yourself in that really defines our ambitions. What’s the point of being in first place if you’re not at the top of the winner’s podium right? We all want some kind of recognition. I know down the road there won’t be some cheering crowd and ribbon for me to break across to let me know I’ve made it. I think we all know this, but we wonder nonetheless.
And there is anything wrong with that. We need to dream, especially of success. However I just wonder if the dreams we have of where that success will find us is necessarily where we will want to be if/once we’re there?
I welcome your thoughts!