There are two major types of complacency: Complacency that’s driven by success, and complacency that’s driven by a lack of success. Sometimes our current success keeps us from recognizing we are no longer growing. (“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”) But if we’re no longer growing, our vision for the future starts to get a little fuzzy. [bctt tweet="Sometimes our current success keeps us from recognizing we are no longer growing." username="dukematlock"] Other times, a lack of success over a period of time can eventually discourage us from striving for improvement. Maybe I’ll just stop trying. Maybe I’ll stop speaking up in meetings. Maybe where I’m at isn’t so bad after all. In both circumstances, complacency has a way of immobilizing us, keeping us from both personal and professional growth. The first step to beating complacency is acknowledging it exists. And in order to recognize it, you have to define it. What is complacency? In the dictionary, the words “uncritical satisfaction” stand out when defining complacency. In other words, you’re no longer concerned — or looking critically at — your efforts. This can be applied to both self-improvement and efforts in the workplace. In a Forbes article about breaking free from complacency, the author said the following: “Complacency leads to compliance, not big thinking. Complacency widens opportunity gaps, because our thinking is not evolving enough to begin closing those gaps. That’s the biggest danger I see in complacency in business every day. One minute people are evolving; the next minute they are being complacent, sometimes not even realizing they are being complacent.” From that statement, I take away two things: One, there are people who may know they’re being complacent and those who do not. And two, complacency can creep up at any moment if we’re not careful. How are you evolving? As a leader. A boss. An employee. A husband, wife, father, mother, friend. Are you constantly doing things that stretch you — both intellectually and otherwise? Or have you turned on cruise control and are hoping for the best? Regardless of your situation, take comfort in knowing this is a normal occurrence for most people. You aren’t going to be “on” 24/7, 365 days a year! There will be times where you feel like you’re done growing … just know, this will never truly be the case. Growth can be mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting, but your efforts towards improvement won’t ever go in vain. Start by asking yourself a few questions:
- What could I be doing every day to get better?
- What does success look like for me right now?
- What does success look like for me in 5 years? What can I do today that would set me up for that?
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