Back to Earth: 5 Ways to Handle Reality after Success

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Back to Earth: 5 Ways to Handle Reality after Success

Not all of us will be astronauts, yet there is one aspect of their occupation that most of us  identify with. This is what is called Atmospheric Re-entry. Re-entry is when a space astronauts use a space capsule to come back to the earth from outer space. The heat generated from this event is incredible.

A New Standard

Space is the analogy of a “high”, especially a ‘high’ that comes after accomplishing something. In the Bible, there is a curious story of one guy called Elijah. He declares drought for 3 years then ends it by asking God for rain, which is sent. This is a guy who single handedly reversed the recession of an entire nation in one afternoon! What a great achievement! Then Elijah challenges status quo of the day and executes 450 “false prophets” working for Queen Jezebel. She sends him a message saying in essence, “You are a dead man!”. The victorious Elijah runs for dear life…but then asks God to kill him, so that he can die and get out of his “misery”. Classic example of re-entry. Ultimately, Elijah’s life on earth came to a spectacular end shortly after. Re-entry is a serious issue I tell you!

There are very many other examples I can give but let me highlight just a few to drive the point home:

  • In Spiritual Circles, those of us who have learnt to get in to the Presence of God understand the torments, if you will, for re-entry. When you have been in the Presence of God, all you want is to stay there. When you “come back to earth” after that experience, you can be a very irritable person. Nothing seems to satisfy unless you get back in the Presence.
  • An author writes a powerful article, or poem or book that makes the whole world go wild. The same applies to a movie director, an artist, an artiste, or a sportsman. When they do that all of a sudden they cannot remain the same. The pressure is on them to maintain that standard.
  • A football team such as Leicester wins the English Premier League. A new standard has been set for them and henceforth, they cannot remain the same.
  • You make your first million…you can never be the same again. A new standard has been set and the pressure is now on. However, I am told that making the first million is the most difficult part, but thereafter, other millions tend to be attracted by the first and they keep rolling. (I wish it was true for the thousands too haha!)
  • A New Product is Launched in the market, disrupting the way things have always operated. The pressure is on

I think you get the point. You need to realize however that re-entry does not just affect these major things that have been mentioned. Re-entry could be a week by week or even day by day challenge. It depends on how intentional you are living your life. For those who are highly intentional, Re-entry could be one of the major de-motivators that they face. How you deal with it is extremely critical.

Side Effects of Success

Once you have accomplished a certain fete, inherently as a human being, you are under the “spell” of what I call the mirage effect. Inherently, we never really “arrive”…we can always get better, like it says in the Bible, “moving from Glory to Glory”. That is why Re-entry is a very critical time to be handled especially after a success. The following are some of the side – effects or re-entry:

  1. High Demand of the best from you: Once a new standard is set, you might not want to place your name next to anything less than the best you have just achieved. Of course this calls for greater demand in time, effort, resources and professionalism. Excellence as you might imagine, is not cheap. It costs you not a lot, it costs you everything!

    Excellence as you might imagine, is not cheap. It costs you not a lot, it costs you everything!

    Lawrence Namale
    That is why a person who is previously successful can appear unhappy,because they care about their next and it is demanding loads from them.
  2. Fear of Failure: People might think that those who have made it are no longer afraid to fail. Wrong. Those who have made it know that not just the world, but their own selves will judge success not in history but in continuity. True success is perpetual. It is not an event, but a lifestyle. Therefore, re-entry automatically places upon you a demand and a burden to not fail in your next venture.

    “Judge success not in history but in continuity. True success is perpetual. It is not an event, but a lifestyle”.

    Lawrence Namale
  3. Exhaustion: To be honest with you, launching a successful venture or project takes a toll on you. In fact at some point, you might be operation purely on adrenaline. It is only when the venture is out there in the open that you realize how much physical, emotional and mental strength you exerted in it, not to mention financial strain. It therefore follows that exhaustion is one of the biggest indicators of re-entry.
  4. Addiction: Yes. You will never be the same again. Your life has turned right-side up and nothing short of this will satisfy. Your greatest escape is the previous life and your greatest responsibility is to maintain status quo that has just been established. In war, winning a battle is not the most expensive, but maintaining the conquered territory is.

So as you can see, it is imperative that you maintain your new acquired territory so as you can remain successful. To do that, you need to manage re-entry pretty well. One of the greatest visionaries of all time, Apostle Paul said the following:

“My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead”.  

Paul the Apostle

What a powerful statement to make. No wonder this man had a catalogue of success after success after success. The world is also littered by many people who failed after an initial success.

The following are some of the things you can do to manage your Re-Entry

1. Vacation

Take some time off. I know we all know the concept of vacation. However, what I see being dished out in the corporate world is a fixed 21 days off duty per year. Very many guys who go on vacation are not entitled to it because they have created nothing in the first place. On the contrary, many buys are burning out at work as they wait for the allocated time to go on vacation. This is wrong. When a group of people accomplish a major milestone, give them some days off to re-energize, celebrate and strategize for the future. It is important.

2. Detachment

Paul said, “Forgetting those things that lie behind”. You ought to get detached to your success. Learn to let it go. Detachment is a great technique that can be used in very many areas of life. When you get detached, it does not mean that you now become indifferent and uncaring. It just means that you are “moving on”. The worst part of a heart break is not having the strength to move on. The same applies to a previous success.

The worst part of a heart break is not having the strength to move on. The same applies to a previous success.

Lawrence Namale

3. Isolate

We tend to want to define our lives by this one thing that we have done. Like already shared, success is not measured by one isolated event. Success is connected to the previous and the next. It is continious. When you stake your claim at success on this one event, it places heavy demands on you. It makes it difficult for you to move on as instructed in point 2 above. So learn to isolate this previous success.

4. Self Trust

Trust your self. Yes, there is another book in you. There is another movie in you. There is another poem. There is one more masterpiece left in you immediately after you deploy this one. So trust yourself. There is so much more where the previous masterpiece came from. If you can trust yourself, then you can know that you can do it again…and this lessens the pressure on you.

5. Cherish Lifestyles, not Events

I read a quote about the Bible some time back. It went something like this: “The world of God is our daily bread, not cake for special occasions”

Using this analogy, you need to create a lifestyle of processes, events and plans. This of course starts with having a life of purpose, and having some “non-Negotiables”. Successful events therefore become the side effect of you living, not the result of your hot pursuit for them. Viktor Frankl said the following powerful statement:

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself”.


Viktor Frankl