The Type of Success That Leads To Depression

DepressionThis is not an easy article to write considering the recent death of an American Icon, Robin Williams. I loved just about every role he played from Mork & Mindy to Lovelace in “Happy Feet.” My kids were heartbroken as well when they heard of his passing for he played many kid friendly roles in his career. Robin’s passing caused me to think about the impact of success on people’s lives. Depression, which lead to his unfortunate choice to take his own life is not uncommon in many people who quote, unquote-make it to the top in their careers. We hear of corporate executives, athletes, singers etc., who met the same fate as Robin Williams, but because he was such a megastar, the world now realizes that this is a major problem. I would say that Whitney Houston had the same problem.

When we look at success, I like to break it down into two categories. This is not a perfect science but an opinion, please see it as such.

1. Self-Driven Success-This type of success happens in person’s life as a result of success being all about them. They are driven and motivated to succeed, even at the expense of others. Care for people is not very high on this person’s list of priorities. Their favorite motto is “How can this person help me to get to where I want to be?” This type of person is very rarely satisfied. Once they achieve a certain level of success, they abhor where they are and begin to look for the next challenge. It is all about them, their family is often not of importance and they live 24 hours a day focusing on their own lives and their own achievements. Let me clarify by saying, I am not saying that they are all bad people. Many people in this category create thousands of jobs, give to charities and organizations and produce music, movies and many others things that impact the lives of others. What I have found however is that they ascended to the top, by focusing on what they wanted and was willing to forsake many other life priorities in their quest to get it. Lastly, SDS people often find themselves alone because they do not trust anyone. Many have deep regrets later in life because as they age, they often do so without any caring people in their lives. They start to realize they made a huge mistake!

2-Purpose-Driven Success-This type of person pursues success as well, but has a different perspective. This person has a specific purpose connected to the success that they are pursuing. They do not take this journey alone, but bring along people they care about. They are pursing a specific outcome as well but it is not all about them. It is about what they can accomplish and how this goal can make life better for themselves and others. People in this category typically see their work as callings. They feel like their success pursuit is a mission and the mission drives them. Though they care about self too, they are often selfless when it comes to interacting with others. Purpose Driven Success people change the world in which we live just like Self-Driven people with one difference, they do no alienate nor burn bridges with people they love and care for in this pursuit. They are not looking to get rich or some other lofty goal. This may happen as a result of their efforts, but they do not put this on their goal sheet as target-it is a by-product. They pursue being the best they can be and eventually good things happen. Mission drives them and people being involved with this mission fuels them. They are called to do their work and feel within their hearts that humanity as a whole is going to benefit as a result.
It is quite evident where I am going with this but I sincerely believe, and I do not have medical research to back this, that Self-Driven Success people typically become depressed more than Purpose Driven Success people. This may not always be the case but I am sure that it is in the majority of the diagnoses-as it relates to people who succeed at high levels. These people become deeply depressed because when they look in the mirror of life, they only see themselves and all the problems they face. Many times because the only people close to them are the people they pay to be, in times of sadness in their lives, they are depressed all by themselves. They have nobody to go to that really cares and over time this emptiness begins to add up. Because I am not a medical researcher I will not go much deeper than this for I believe people who need to get counseling should at all cost get it. I do believe that if I am the center of my own universe, if my world starts to crumble, the whole world starts to crumble. For to me, my life is the whole world. It is the only lens my eyes can see out of because of my mindset. I see a lot of this in my work because I am constantly encouraging and motivating the best out of people. With this in mind, I also spend copious time helping people center their vision around a deeper purpose. I refuse to discuss success for the sake of success with my coaching clients. We need to create a bigger picture and purpose, for if not, they may succeed-but what will they lose in their pursuit?
If you are pursuing success in life, please consider Purpose Driven! Yes, we all want to do more and be more in our lives, but I certainly do not want to see a person gain the whole world and lose their soul! I will close by saying that every day I get to interact with 4 miracles in my life. They are my children. We were told that it was medically impossible to have kids! I have purposed that they, along with my wife, give me energy to run the race, but run it with purpose in mind. I am trying to help the world in my work as a speaker, trainer and coach, but my real mission is to be the best father and husband I can be. I have a great purpose in my career, but an even greater purpose with my family.

Take care and have a passionate day!

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