The Deadly Side of Success


Success can be a deadly thing, waiting to pounce when your guard is down.

Success is not something to earn and then forget about.

Success is dangerous in that it can bring about complacency.

Take for example fictitious Joe. For three years, Joe has poured everything into Joe’s CrossFit. He’s spent every last dime, given every last minute, to catapult his business into success. And boy, it’s finally working.

Joe is sitting pretty. He’s been able to bring on two full-time Coaches. He has a front desk manager who doubles as the operations manager. Members can’t seem to say enough good things about his Box. People are lining up outside his door. His kids program is flourishing. And Joe, after three years of hard work, finally can sit back and relax. But then he does something he shouldn’t: He becomes complacent.

The word “complacent” is defined by as “pleased, especially with oneself or one’s merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied” (emphasis mine).

Joe is complacent. He has grown blind to problems. So, when Joe finally blinks, he finds everything is crumbling. One of his full-time Coaches is leaving for another job. His front desk manager has been shirking cleaning duties and has even been rude to guests. Members are grumbling about how they’re no longer seeing progress from Joe’s programming. The line outside the door has long gone. The kids program is nothing compared to a new Box’s that opened down the street. Joe relaxed in his success, had grown complacent and his business slipped away from him.

Now, I am not saying you should never relax, Affiliate. I will preach until I’m blue in the face that stress is not helpful. It needs to be alleviated in order for you to reach your full potential. What I am saying, however, is that when you reach success, you must not grow complacent. You must not stop training because you feel like you have arrived. You never know when you’ll have to get up and start running again.

A lot of this has to do with mentality. How are you looking at the future? Is it a destination, or simply part of your journey? Do you have a goal that is the final stop? Or is it a goal that will bring you one step closer to another achievement for which you are aiming?

Just because you accomplish your goal or finally break that ultimate revenue number doesn’t mean your job is done. We, Affiliate, are in an industry that is continually growing and thriving. CrossFit is different today than it was a year ago. There is a higher bar when it comes to coaching and facility cleanliness than in 2009. New companies and products are around, revolutionizing the fitness regimen. And a year from now, the industry will look different than it does today.

You may have arrived, Affiliate. You may have reached goals this year that you never thought possible. But, your arrival is merely at a point in the journey, not the destination itself. Do not grow complacent in your success. Instead, let it propel you toward success even greater than you thought possible.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at