You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘first world problems,’ right? How about the term ‘luxury problems?’ or ‘Mo money mo problems?’ All these phrases hint at something I call “Success Stress.” You work your butt off, and as you advance in your career, you maybe notice the stakes and expectations only get higher. However, you’re doing great, and you know that there are far more people on the planet below you on the ladder than above you who don’t even have clean water, much less the challenges your success has brought you. How dare you feel stress! You should be thankful and grateful 24/7. In fact, you should feel some guilt and remorse for it all. I jest… kinda.
You and I have challenges, and they are real. The feelings and thoughts we have about them are real and valid, because we’re having them. To describe the reality of what ‘success stress’ is,’ I think about an image of a single lane dirt road winding up a mountain. The higher you go up the road, the better the view, but the farther you could fall if you make a single wrong turn. Both the reward and the risk increase side by side. Can you relate?
This translates into everyday life, and it’s super important for you to honor the success AND the stress you feel wherever you are along the path you’re on. I’m a business owner in California, and the state just required that I make some fundamental changes to how I employ people. It’s not an issue if you don’t live here, or if you don’t employ others, but if you do, it’s a headache. I can get on the phone with other California music therapy business owners and have a very detailed conversation about the problems we’re facing, but if I reached out to someone struggling to find housing, I probably wouldn’t find much sympathy or empathy.
You may find yourself in a place in life where you’ve ‘made it,’ only to find that stress chases at your heels. You are not alone. The opportunity for stress to haunt us is not dependent on any level of success or failure in any area of life. However, what’s really great is when you can put yourself into a community of people struggling with the same quality of stress you’re experiencing. Usually we think of support groups, but what about support groups for successful people? They don’t need one, do they? YOU BET THEY DO.
I’m creating such a place for a very specific group of people in the new year. If you’re a successful professional who supports others in your work, and you either currently play a musical instrument, or once played one, and you’re doing well in your career, but you’ve got stress at work, and a different type of stress back home managing the house and the relationships, chances are you reach for something to escape that stress. Could be that glass of wine, could be netflix, food, youtube, candy crush saga, or your favorite social media platform. Whatever that thing is, my mission is to inspire and empower you to reach for music instead. Stay tuned. Everything that I created last year was leading to this.