Expert Tips on Overcoming Success Guilt During a Pandemic

The world is in a really funny place right now. There are a lot of topics to unpack from that statement, but as business goes, I think the one that’s most important talk about is success guilt.

As we watch the news, we see businesses across the world losing people, production, profitability, and filing for bankruptcy. We feel for the small business, we feel for manufacturing, we feel for the meatpackers, and people who still have to work near each other. Society and media have made it so that if we were successful right now, we would feel guilty no matter how hard we tried not to.

Success guilt is a real thing no matter what’s going on in the world. It starts when you’re young. Your peers are jealous when you do better than them in school and sports, and that never goes away. We are socially trained to be gracious and help others, and somehow, the idea of being successful has been disconnected from being gracious and helping others. That’s where success guilt comes from.

The real question is, then, how do we get past success guilt? What we want to focus on is how can we help others survive, and maybe even be successful ourselves doing it. But because the concept of your success plus my success equals everyone’s success has been challenged in society, it’s hard for us to get there, let alone feel good about it. Here are a few tips that have helped me through success guilt.

Define your value

If you know what you are truly contributing to individuals or an organization, you feel better about the success that comes along with it. Think of it this way, when you get a compliment you should graciously accept it by saying, “thank you”, but quite often we blush a little and say, “oh golly, it’s nothing”. You must allow yourself to believe it’s something for you to express that it’s something.

What do you give to the world? What is your superpower? What problems do people come to you to solve?

Set goals

Getting lost in other’s opinions about what you should do is a sure-fire way to not feel successful. That’s why goal setting is so important to get past success guilt. You have to know what you’re driving for so that no matter what negative input you get, you to stay the course. Then, your journey through success is about accomplishment and that’s way more exciting to think about.

Ask for feedback

If you simply can’t believe that you’re as awesome as you think you are, ask someone you trust. Ask about your shortcomings, ask where they’ve seen you shine and where they’ve seen you flounder.

The conversation to ask someone for feedback can feel a little weird, so I’ve found the best way to do it is to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn or Facebook or ask someone for a recommendation for your website and/or to share with potential clients. This gives you a purpose for asking. You’ll be shocked and impressed by what people have to say about you!

Remember, always, that your first objective is to fix a problem for someone else. You should never feel guilty about that. Practice using these tips to help your brain and emotions realign your good intentions with your success. Helping others is good, making money and feeling successful is also good.