Success Trap: I'm Successful...Why Change?

30 Nov, 2016 / by Christina Bowser


Don't fall into the success trap. Being successful doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from change. However, changing behavior is difficult. It takes energy to change.


Senior Trainer, Christina Bowser and Markku Kauppinen, President of Extended DISC North America, Inc., discuss how to get out of your comfort zone. People who feel they have already achieved success often have an even bigger challenge: Why should I change??!! I am successful. I am comfortable. All DISC styles are successful, but if we don't make changes to our styles then we get stuck and in trouble.

Success trap

Success can push us into a trap. Changing behavior is difficult. If we feel that we are successful we don't have the motivation to change. Changing is a pain. It takes a energy to change. However, if you practice then it becomes easier. When you become even more successful then it can further decrease your desire to change.

Marshall Goldsmith, a well know coach, came up with the Superstition Trap. Are you successful because of your behaviors or in-spite of your behaviors? The flaws or negative impact of our behaviors can get in our way. We need to be more aware of the ones that get in our way. Sometimes we deny or fear change. We don't want to make changes that could alter our success. We need to move beyond our comfort zone. The goal of using DISC reports is to modify our behaviors.

Your Comfort Zone

The starting point to adjusting and moving away from your comfort zone is to be aware of our natural style. Look at where you show up on the DISC model then know that you will have to leave your comfort zone to other areas of the model. Know what behaviors are most comfortable to you. We have all four styles, but there will be a style that is more comfortable and one that is not comfortable. Ultimately, these changes we make throughout the day leads us to be more successful.

Key is Confident Self-Awareness

Where do you start to make the needed changes? First, the most successful people we meet and work with are those who are keenly aware of how they behave. They are comfortable in their own skin. These standout leaders, trainers, sales people, managers, etc are all different. They have diverse experiences, background, and even DISC styles. The main things they have in common are self-awareness and confidence. Their behaviors are genuine and have a self-awareness of their own strengths and not to overuse them. In addition, they know their areas of development, how to adjust them, and are even humorous about weaknesses.

We quickly look at our strengths and like what we read, but then we tend to focus on the areas we need to improve. The DISC report makes no value judgment. We add our own values. Instead of focusing on our weaknesses we need to look at our strengths and realize that it's the overuse of our style that gets us into trouble.

The "Two-Effect"

We all have stress, pressure, and other strong emotions. Different styles perceive stress differently. Strong emotions are the enemy of behavioral change. Look at the section in your DISC report that focuses on strength. Read it and know that you should be promoting your strengths. However, think of times where the over use of your style has gotten you into trouble. Your strengths can become your liability. Don't get too comfortable and go into your auto pilot mode. Your style starts to become over emphasized. However, if you have awareness of how you tend to react in settings and roles then you can be more proactive and focus on more appropriate behaviors.

Breaking out of your success trap

Here are a few tips that help successful people become more effective and move beyond the success trap. D-styles need to slow down, be more patient, and practice humility. D-styles move quicker than most people. That's good, but also slower pacing to accommodate others can actually get to goals faster. I-styles need to listen more, follow through, and practice discipline. S-styles need to practice confidence, being more decisive, and healthy selfishness. Give yourself permission to focus on your own goals. C-styles focus on getting things done correctly, but need to be less critical, understand that "good" is enough and "perfect" is not realistic. Lastly, C-styles need to be able to let go and move on.


Don't fall into the success trap. Being successful doesn't mean you don't need to change, but can make it harder to want to change. Know your style and think of ways to move outside of your comfort zone. These tactics may be uncomfortable and require energy, but practice makes it easier. Context is important. The changes may not apply to all roles, but do it where it will achieve results. The most successful people are self-aware and build change into their daily behaviors. Remember, success is not a destination, but a journey.

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Christina Bowser

Written by Christina Bowser