Norton: Complacency is success killer No. 1 |

Norton: Complacency is success killer No. 1

Over the next three weeks, I will cover three topics and things we do intentionally or unintentionally that create barriers to our success or kill the success we have already achieved. I will start this week with the impact of complacency, and this column will be followed up with discussions around the power of being authentic. I will end the series talking about the important role that gratitude plays in our personal and professional success.

Complacency. There is a huge difference between being comfortable and in cruise control mode versus being stuck in our comfort zones and becoming complacent. Complacency rarely if ever leads to success. As a matter of fact, complacency has been identified as an absolute killer of success.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “Even if we are on the right track, we will eventually get run over if we just stand there.”

When I speak with others about complacency, I hear words like settled, tolerant, and tired. Complacency has crept in because they feel like they have given up the fight or have lost their passion, settling for where they are and what they have instead of pushing through and pursuing their dreams.

Complacency grabs ahold of us as we become tolerant of the unacceptable actions and the underachievement of ourselves and others around us. When we tolerate mediocrity in others, pretty soon we begin to tolerate our own mediocrity. And lastly, as we fight the good fight, do everything right, getting caught up in the rush and crush of life, we get tired, lose our energy, and our passions and zest for life are replaced with complacent behaviors, or actually non-behaviors.

So, what’s the fix? How do we break through our comfort zones to get back in the game? First, we always need to keep our goals and dreams right in front of us and review them often. Create vision boards and visual reminders of what we are most passionate about directly in our line of sight. Second, follow the advice we see on t-shirts, coffee mugs, and plastered all over social media, “Never Settle.” We need to know what it is we want and why we want it. And then never ever settle for less.

Then its time to become intolerant of being tolerant. We need to define and establish our boundaries of what we will continue to tolerate in our lives that might be leading to our complacency and away from our biggest goals and dreams. We can make a list of the things we realize we are tolerating and then make a conscious decision to just stop. We can make the choice to not accept anything less than we expect of ourselves, and we will not make, accept, or tolerate excuses.

If the biggest contributor to our complacency is just being flat-out tired and exhausted, we need to do what is in our own best interest and get the rest we need. Proper rest and proper sleep can immediately reignite our fire and desire as we feel better and healthier. When we feel tired, we need to eliminate or minimize all the things we are doing that drain us of energy and focus our time on the tasks and projects and people that light us up, fire us up, and give us energy.

Show me a settled person, a person who accepts and tolerates mediocrity, and a tired person, and I will show you someone who is allowing complacency to kill their desire to succeed instead of working on their dreams.

So how about you? Before we jump ahead next week to the power of authenticity and the role of gratitude in relation to our success journey, how are you doing when it comes to being complacent in your own life? I would love to hear your story at and when we reignite our fires and desires and get out of our complacency funk, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is the Chief Revenue Officer for Eventus Solutions Group, a strategic consultant, business, and personal coach, and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.

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