Fear of success. Self sabotage. Imposter syndrome.
In the last 14 years of running my business, I have gone through cycles of all of the above. “Was it really me? Is it a fluke? Maybe it is a one off?” to “Maybe I cannot do it. What would people think about me?”
So, I am so happy to have met Jeff Hoffman and heard his personal story. Jeff Hoffman is a successful serial entrepreneur who has co-founded many billion-dollar businesses such as priceline.com and ubid.com
After a sale of one his companies, he went out for dinner with his friends. He wanted to celebrate with them and when the bill came, he decided to buy them dinner. He was shocked when they were actually upset at his gesture. They thought that he was trying to show off.
The next time he went for dinner with the group, he was determined not to make the same mistake. So he asked what he should pay for his share, and they said, “Don’t worry, we will calculate to the exact cent, we don’t want to owe you anything!” It seemed that he couldn’t win.
He grew upset as his success seemed to make his friends dislike him.
That same night, he watched the news and saw women crying because the shelter they lived in was being shut down. The organization was running out of money to pay rent for the facility. And there was his answer. Then and there, he decided to anonymously donate a large sum of money to the shelter. His donation provided enough money to let them pay off their debt, keep the women and children securely housed and also create childcare facilities so that mothers could go to work.
The next day, the women from the women shelter were on the news again. They were still crying, but this time, with tears of joy.
Jeff realized that his hard work, his perseverance and his success had allowed him to help the women’s shelter. To them, his money was a miracle! He no longer felt badly about being successful because he could help less fortunate people with his hard-earned money.
His story is a timely reminder for me that, as entrepreneurs, as change makers, as professionals, our success and accomplishments can have a much greater impact beyond ourselves.
And it is our honor, privilege and responsibility to continue to work hard, persevere, do good and make a difference in the communities that we live in.
Remember: your success is someone else’s miracle.