Do we really need more ‘success’?

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

We’ve reached critical mass in the last few years. Now, it seems every other person is going out as a ‘success coach’ of sorts.

I won’t lie. I once thought I wanted to be a ‘success coach’. But then I realized that I wasn’t very successful at very many things (and the things I was successful at only brought me temporary happiness before my ego raised the bar again, so it didn’t seem like success). This was a frustrating conversation to have with people.

It’s an interesting phenomena. Many of these coaches seem to think that, if they get into coaching, they have to act like they’re wealthy so they can convince people they can make them wealthy. It’s a bit of a Ponzi scheme, is it not? I digress…

Now, before you think this is another coaching hit-piece, please know that it isn’t.

I follow several coaches who I consider to be guiding stars. They do incredible work. I’m a coach myself. So this is not me saying that coaching is a nonsense path.

Here’s what I AM saying (you knew this was coming, didn’t you?)...

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but as a society, out here in the western world especially, we’re extremely wealthy. (Maybe you don’t feel like it, but that’s probably because you’re just not living up to your ego’s version of wealthy — a daunting task, indeed. )

Most who are reading this have an income of some sort, good food (perhaps even delivered to your door), indoor plumbing, clean water, access to vehicular/locomotive transportation, a closet full of clothes, a fridge full of food, strong WiFi, plentiful relationships, and a nearby hospital.

Yes, things are messed up around here. Yes, we have peaks and valleys. Yes, we have poverty and hunger and sickness and dysfunction. We’re human. But largely, when it comes to the material world, this is as good as it’s ever been.

Yet, as a culture, we’re growing more and more depressed and anxious the wealthier we get.

Now, I love wealth. I love nice cars. I love business — even marketing. If I don’t have WiFi, I freak out. A swelling bank account is a nice thing to have. I’m an American. This is the culture I was raised in. I’m not fooling anyone here.

But this is a thing. We’re extremely wealthy (if you have a smartphone, you’re wealthier than much of the population on the planet), yet we’re also not very happy or fulfilled. Although we were raised to believe they should be congruent, after a certain point, it’s known that there’s a widening gap between fulfillment and wealth.

What we need isn’t more wealth. What we need is to feel more at home in ourselves and to connect with something bigger than our small fearful egos.

We’re societally programmed from a young age that we’re one purchase away from happiness. Or one degree/certificate, partner, job, payout, six pack (I’m talking both abs and beers), etc. This is an ego shill game that we’ve all bought into.

So we do it. We do the school thing. We do the job thing. We do the relationship thing. We do the nice clothes thing. We do the money thing. We do the FitBit thing.

But yet, something is still missing. We go home at night and we incessantly check our phones like little programmed crack bunnies looking for that next dopamine rush from those little hearts, thumbs, and snaps on the screen.

We keep shooting up the heroin of approval from others that never quite satiates the approval we yearn from ourselves.

The next Netflix series looks promising… So we marathon it.

Then we go to bed. We’re alone. 
Should we check emails again? Twitter?

Again, I love social media. The problem is with us, internally, not the social media/tech stuff.

When we get down to it, the question really is…

Am I loved?

The insane thing is, we place the responsibility of that hefty question on the outside world that is just as insane as we are. This is where the whole ‘bigger than ourselves’ thing comes into play. Because if we saw and connected to the universal presence behind our frantic personal thinking, we’d see that we are eternally loved and approved of from birth.

Maybe this is why Jesus came around. To personify this presence.

Anyhow, you either see it. Or you don’t. And a lot of us don’t. More and more are proclaiming this every day.

But if we DO see it, we can live from a new place. A place that says, I’m already good to go. How about you? This is a place that joyfully serves others. That is filled up so much that it can’t help but express and give and add to the world.

I’m one of the ones who can identify with this story, so I’ve been through it. I’m going through it. But all I’m trying to say is this…

This is why I’m not a success coach. And this is why success coaches need to chill and stop doing such a fantastic job making us so rich. Our spirituality needs to catch up with our wealth.

Else we start doing… well… the stuff we see in the headlines today. From our living rooms to our hometowns to our federal government, on a spiritual level, we can’t handle the tremendous wealth we’ve brought upon ourselves and the pressure it brings. We’ve put the cart before the horse. The wealth has been great. But we have some interior upkeep to do as humans.

So if you’re a success coach, take a vacation. You’re obviously wealthy beyond imagination, so you can afford it. Let us poor spiritual coaches do our thing. We’ll call you when we need you again.


Jonas Ellison is a spiritual counselor and blogging coach who writes shortish preachments in Higher Thoughts on the daily. To jump on his mailing list and get his free email course as a gift of his undying gratitude, do your thing below…