Are You Ready to Rewrite Your "Success Script?"

January 11, 2022

Are You Ready to Rewrite Your "Success Script?"

May 29, 2023

The word “consumerism” is 67 years old and helped Americans see that a certain prevalent society message unconsciously influenced our behaviors around “keeping up with the Jones.” While the word continues to serve us well, I think it’s time we welcomed a new word (and concept) into the American lexicon: “successism.”

Successism:the societal worship of success in a manner that is damaging to the well-being and dignity of many citizens.”

Of course, most modern elders wake up to the fact that neither consumerism nor successism will buy them happiness, and it’s around midlife that they choose to rewrite their success script, which is essentially the life others have planned for us based upon their definition of success, and we play out dutifully.

In childhood, we were all issued a Success Script by our parents and family, our peers and community, and even society. Maybe you deserved an Oscar for how well you inhabited your role in this screenplay. Perhaps you rejected the script and ran for the hills. Or, perhaps you decided to write a new script that was more authentic to you. Maybe you’re ready to rewrite that script today. If you need a little help, we’ve got you covered.

I’m excited to announce that MEA alum and long-time finance executive Paula Pretlow is offering a workshop with my co-founder Jeff Hamaoui this spring, "Successful but not Satisfied." Paula is also joining me in developing a Purpose-driven MEA Online 8-week course that launches in June, addressing many of these themes, specifically how we define success in our lives and what truly satisfies us at the end of the day. More info to come soon.

As someone who has been “mainlining success” most of my life, it was revelatory when I was introduced to the shadow side of success:

  • The sacrifices I made in relationships.
  • The stress I felt on the “hedonic treadmill.”
  • The success high that only lasted a couple of days, with the new shiny object capturing my attention.
  • The narcissistic desire to impress.


It was only when I got clearer on my Purpose and moved my ego (mostly) out of the way that I felt better about my motivations and life.

In sum, during my teen years, to please my loving parents (and friends) who had no idea I was hiding my sexual orientation, I practiced reading from their success script endlessly. Then, after coming out, I shifted the script in a variety of ways but was still obsessed with success, albeit in a more offbeat path than what’s typical for a Stanford MBA. Since turning 50 almost a dozen years ago, the script evolved again as I moved from being the “can do it” leader to a "conduit" mentor. And, with the founding of MEA, I don’t think I’ve ever felt such a "true north" when it comes to my Purpose.

I hope both our workshop and the online course might resonate with you.

P.S. For those of you who weren’t able to join the nearly 5,000 people live for my hour-long banter with my friend Seth Godin, here’s the recording.

Go deeper with a workshop, in person or online.

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