The Personal Big Bubble

No, I am not talking about the economical or startup bubble. I am referring to a personal big bubble that people will experience ( but may not be aware of ) after they see some level of success.

A personal big bubble, like many other bubbles is difficult to see because it does not manifest as a bubble in your head – it just feels like you have now reached a place where you are savoring the fruits of your labor.

The main elements of the big bubble are other people who surround you claiming a piece of your mindshare. Most people claim to come with a win-win mindset but all they display is a WIN-win approach.

Vying for a slice of your mindshare

Let’s look at some of the people who will come into your life when you start seeing some level of success:

1. Articulate and sophisticated free riders:

They want everything and more. They are crafty, calculated and sophisticated and make it look like you need to help them because helping them will be as good as helping you.

2. Non-committed dreamers:

They dream big and actually take a few steps in the directions of their dreams but they are not committed to follow through. So joining hands with them would mean that your efforts will be wasted sooner than later.

3. Plateau Dwellers:

They are people who enjoy going sideways. They want to go up but that scares them. They accumulate enough knowledge to go upwards but plateau is where their comfort zone is. They reach out for your help to go upwards but all they are looking for is additional knowledge that

4. Motivated people lacking thoughtfulness:

These people are good people and they have no intention to hurt you but they are not thoughtful. They ask for help without knowing that it costs a lot to help them. They might become thoughtful and respect your time later but for now, all they are interested in is getting their requests fulfilled.

5. Ultra-warm people whose mantra is “success by association”:

They may not be interested in putting in all the effort to succeed but realize that it’s important to associate with successful people. They hang out with you to get close to you. You may not walk away from them because they are ultra-warm and in the short-term, it seems like it’s OK to spare a few minutes and a few minutes there until it’s no longer OK.

The next two categories are pure gold

6. People who grow with you:

They are in the same boat as you are, equally committed to learning, growing and making a difference to themselves and to the world. It’s difficult to find them and if they find you, it’s your job to hang on to them with your dear life.

7. Competent and accomplished people who see your true potential:

These are gold. They have watched you accomplish something and you are on their radar. They move and make some requests just to see if you are interested enough to achieve more and contribute more. You may not realize the value of hanging on to those people but hopefully you do. These are also the people that will help you burst the bubble and break free.

I can go on but you get the idea.

The real problem is that people in the first five categories use up your time so much that you may not have the time for the people in the last two categories.

Out of balance

The problem with a personal big bubble is that you can get VERY busy and engage in activities that are neither productive nor help you in the long run. The other big negative side effect is that people can keep you so busy that you may not have enough time for people that are close to you beyond work and career – family and friends

Soon, you will start noticing stress because you realize that you are out of balance with your life and work.

Once stress sets in, it affects your mood and once your mood takes a deep dive, you can be rest assured that you will never get out of your bubble.

The Antidote

It starts with your reflecting on your situation. You can start with metrics that matter most to your life and then keep revisiting your own metrics that will create more meaning for your life and watching if your activities are helping these metrics or hurting them.

The time is NOW!

Photo Courtesy: Lee J Palmer on Flickr