There is so much glitz and glamour that comes with that power word “success”. It says you’ve made it and from here on life is good. Right? Not so fast. The biggest distraction to success is all the stress and anxiety that sits like a weight in the pit of the stomach. It has to do with the worry that it will all disappear tomorrow, the next day, someday.

You know the saying “the higher they go the harder they fall”? It’s a warning to watch out, be careful, you never know when the party is over. How about “Don’t rock the boat” tells you to play it safe and not take too many chances, especially once you have the houses, the cars, the perks. So many films show the fall from grace, from success to the gutter. Why is this amorphous thing that we all covet, called success so tenuous to grab and to hold?

Partly because once success hits there is a tendency to hide the fear by acting over-confident. You get used to being bowed to, applauded, and respected by folks who only know you by reputation. They never see your uncertainties, hesitations, and inadequacies.

Here are the 3 Fatal Flaws that never get talked about:

1) Entitlement: Paradoxically many people do not feel entitled to success. Stupid idea? Perhaps. However there is a sense that many successful people have, the “if they really knew me syndrome”. That thought of being in a masquerade, being seen as more than one really is, waiting to be “caught with pants down” often is a fatal flaw that sets up the fall down the slippery slope to failure. You see so many times we have these self-fulfilling thoughts and deep in us we would rather be right than happy! Doesn’t make logical sense, yet in the emotional parts of the brain it is exactly correct.

2) Loyalty: If it is good enough for my parents and grandparents it is good enough for me. That is a set up to not be capable of going beyond the level of the family, often for generations and generations. It means that if no one ever went to college, well you may be able to wear that cap and gown, but don’t expect to get a job at more than a second or third level. Or, if you do expect the fall from success so you are living at the level of the rest of your family. Does it make sense? Not really. Does it happen often? Absolutely.

3) Patterns: We all play roles in our families that become familiar ways to stay safe and accepted. Often these patterns show up when we are tense and anxious. When stress hits the hot button we all tend to revert to childhood patterns that were there for security and survival. These patterns may not be effective in high level positions, yet there they are making us look like we have spilled a bowl of oatmeal on our shirts. So, if you think you’ve been acting like a baby, you’re right!

Now you know the flaws to watch. Take the time to understand and work on these areas of entitlement, loyalty and patterns. By bringing to light these often invisible forces you can harness and refine them so that you will continue to build on success after success and leave a powerful legacy for future generations.

Author's Bio: 

Sylvia Lafair, Ph.D., author of the award winning book, “Don’t Bring It to Work”, a contributing author to the highly acclaimed “Working Together” and recently wrote “Pattern Aware Success Guide”e- book. Sylvia Lafair is President of CEO, Creative Energy Options, Inc., a global consulting company focused on optimizing workplace relationships through extratordinary leadership. Dr. Lafair’s unique model has revolutionized the way teams cooperate, relate and innovate.
She can be reached at or 570-636-3858;