Victory has defeated you.
Once upon a time, I didn’t waste time celebrating short-term professional victories. It kept me humble. It kept me ambitious. There was still work to be done.
I hustled, I grinded, I didn’t sleep, I missed meals, I made connections, I was broke and I didn’t complain. I embraced the sweat because I understood that’s where the treasures were. I worked my a** off for years before my independent book became a bestseller. When it happened, I never saw my email so full. Television networks wanted to do shows, agents wanted tours, promoters wanted appearances, radio stations wanted segments, magazines wanted covers, newspapers wanted interviews and fans wanted autographs. And I gave it to them. After being hungry for so long, victory provided such a sweet fulfillment.
But victory is supposed to be tasted, not consumed.
Like me, too many people are drinking the whole bottle. Listening to too much Kool and the Gang “Celebrate Good Times”. Too much Kanye West “Good Life”. Sure, we’ve knocked off some admirable goals on our road to success. We hit a home run but there are eight innings left to play. Someone needs to pop those balloons.
Premature celebration is like premature ejaculation – a satisfied feeling can deceive us into thinking we’ve accomplished something when there’s still work to put in. This doesn’t mean to ignore the achievement of your short-term goal. It means to never let your memories become greater than your dreams. Don’t throw a yearlong ‘I’ve reached 25 percent of my goal party.’ There’s a dedicated, hardworking kid eager to take your spot and he’s 75 percent there.
In 2004, Usher was the most successful R&B superstar of the moment. His Confessions album sold 1.1 million copies in its first week. As Mr. Raymond sat on his throne enjoying the fruits of his labor, Chris Brown appeared.
Whether you’ve reached your final goal or not, achievement feels good. Victory can be a defeating drug that has a way of fooling us into thinking we’ve arrived. But like all drugs, the high doesn’t last if you don’t continue doing what it took to get high. If you want to continue being victorious, continue working your a** off. And if you celebrate small successes, never become complacent where you are.
I’m working on my second book. And I’m hustling, I’m grinding, losing sleep, missing meals, making connections and not complaining. I’ve gone back to the drawing board because that’s where humility resides. If the next book becomes a bestseller, I’ll thank God and get back to the grind. That’s only a fourth of my goal. There’s still more work to be done.
– Enitan Bereola, II
Bereola is the go-to style and etiquette impresario, public speaker and entrepreneur. He is also the bestselling author of BEREOLAESQUE: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette book for the Urban Sophisticate. He is working on his follow-up book – “GENTLEWOMAN: Etiquette for a Lady from a Gentleman.” Check his Website Bereolaesque.com and @bereolaesque on Twitter as well as Facebook.