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Many of us have this desire to be professionally successful. We start businesses or work in industries where success is measurable and profitable, with goals that we make every effort to reach. For some of us, our lives are dedicated to reaching those goals, such as becoming CEO of a business or a lawyer getting your name on the wall.

Then what?

There is something incredible about finally achieving work success. But what we find as therapists that often work with successful professionals is that, once the success is achieved, there is a drop. There is a low feeling that can cause emotional and psychological challenges. What causes this drop, and what can be done to help fix it?

Why Do Some of Us Feel Down After Success?

Every individual has their own reasons for feeling low after achieving work success, but typically it is related to some, or all, of the following issues:

  • No Next Step – Change is difficult. Achieving immense success can mean that you now feel lost, without direction, unsure what to do next with your time and energy. That’s hard, and can be especially difficult if you saw this success as the ultimate goal.
  • Other Areas Missing – What did the journey to achieve that success require? Did you sacrifice relationships, for example, and have no one to share it with? Do you feel like you have the friendships you need to enjoy it? Some people find that they become suddenly aware of the things that are missing in their lives.
  • All That’s Left is the Work – Imagine your goal is CEO. You become CEO. You have hit the pinnacle of your hard work. Now, even though you have achieved that success, you still have to do a lot of work with no future goal planned. That is a lot of stress and it can feel like it’s for “less” since there is no where else to go.
  • Good Feeling Neurotransmitters – Achieving success fuels the release of chemicals in the brain that cause good feelings. Then, like any high, those chemicals go away. If you’ve been working for something your whole life, that high is going to be very powerful, and then the subsequent drop can cause you to feel emptier than you do on a typical day.
  • The Downside of Success – Some people, like CEOs, influencers, models, and actors, receive more public scrutiny with their successes. For example, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company has to watch stock prices and stock analysts discuss their company and determine their success based on fluctuations. Lawyers are frequently judged by whether they won cases, and actors receive reviews of their movies, acting ability, and looks.
  • Fear of Losing It – Some successes can also be taken away at any moment. Achieving the success means suddenly being faced with the pressure of maintaining that success, as the role or position may not be something that is solely yours at the pleasure of other people in charge.
  • The Pressures Were Always There – Sometimes, our lives already are very stressful, but we do not necessarily notice because we’re so caught up in our goals. Once the goal is reached, we may feel the stress more than was already a bit part of our lives.

Achieving success can also lead you to feel emotional, cause you to question yourself and your goals, and – of course – feel more stressed as you have to continue to work day to day.

Therapy for Work Success

There are many different ways that work success can have drawbacks. Achieving your goals is great, but it is equally important to work on our mental health as well. If you are someone that feels like your work success has left you feeling issues emotionally or psychologically, contact the therapists at Flourish Psychology, today.