It’s lonely at the top, that’s why a Bugatti seats 2 and a minivan seats 8
My wife and I were discussing something interesting about friendships while being a successful and a climbing entrepreneur. Lately, a lot of talk and articles have been going throughout the pre-entrepreneurial world that in order to become a successful entrepreneur, you are going to have to get used to the fact that it can get quite lonely at the top. Meaning, you will start to lose most of your friends and possibly some family associations as well.
I will be the first to agree that as one climbs the ladder of personal success, one tends to lose friends along the way. Many will also agree with me that this is actually a parallel in relation to someone’s newly found success. This means most of the time, the friendship with certain people might actually be what is holding you down in the first place and once you start limiting your exposure to the relationship, you start to find a more enriching life.
I wrote in an earlier post that your friends are probably not as jealous of your success as they are frustrated with their own concept of what it takes to become successful themselves. They are working as hard as you but you seem to be the one that is getting all the financial glory thus, they draw back from you mostly to not be reminded of their own stagnate success. The person that is beginning to find a lot of wealth and success from changing their own situations in life will start to see some empty chairs in the friend zone. But here is what my wife and I concluded on this topic- Business and wealth are hard enough as it is. Friendships have to be just as easy as they were before finding success if they are going to continue. Basically, the successful are already working hard at creating wealth, they don’t want to work hard at keeping friends.
If your social life is one of the most important things to you, then you are willing to put in the time and the work (and possibly money) into what it takes to maintain those friendships. But if your focus is on super success, then that is where you will be putting most of your efforts into, and difficult relationships with friends become expendable. Time and energy are valuable. Wasting any of it on maintaining toxic relationships are bad for business to the newly successful.
To look at it from the other side, if you are the one that has a friend that has become newly successful, you will have to understand that your successful friend still wants to be friends. It just has to not be work to be friends now that they are successful or as a result of their success. The dynamics have shifted once your buddy is the one on top of the world. It’s human nature for this to affect the relationship so treat them just the same as you did before they were successful. Make it fully non-issue and the friendship will continue to flourish. The one thing you will have to understand about your newly successful friend is that they are becoming very, very independent and will be sporting a new forerunner-like attitude. They become kind of bossy because they are now used to being the boss and are becoming comfortable with (what looks like to you) bragging because they are always working on their salesmanship. This kind of independence and new ‘boss like’ attitude creates a new feeling of regaining control. The feeling of freedom and that they now have the ability to purge out anything in their lives that is toxic and not productive. The one lesson you might learn from them vs despising them is that the success they are experiencing is not what changed them. They actually changed first before they became successful.
The successful do want to have friends, they just don’t want it to be work to have them. One of the best ways to do this is for the newly successful is to start making friends with people that are just as, or more successful than them. One of the super-secret principles of becoming very successful is by changing the situation you are in by changing your associations with people. In other words, stop hanging out with your poor friends and start hanging out with successful people. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book to get rich but the downside is – it’s fertile breeding grounds for animosity from your old friends.
The newly successful have found a new way of life that they haven’t had before and they know better than anyone the catalyst for this new life was making changes to their old life! Unfortunately, a lot of times, those changes have to be friends and sometimes family members. The successful want to remain in the lives of the people they grew up with but those relationships cannot be strained solely on the fact that they are now successful. The successful want the people in their lives to be happy for them and be proud of them and will be the first one that will champion their success. But you have to keep in mind, the successful are willing to move on from that friendship if they get one hint of the relationship not contributing positively to their lives. They are used to making changes in their lives now and they are comfortable with uncomfortable situations that lead to more success. Friends have to be “not work!” Don’t be the friend that is creating more work in the successful person’s life. Remember, the word “optimization” is now a very important word in your successful friend’s vocabulary. Don’t get optimized!
Daniel J Bockman