Most leaders have a false sense of success. People have a tendency to confuse arriving with success. We view what others have accomplished, or something they've built, or something they've acquired and we see it as success. But if you were to ask any of those people if they are satisfied with their success you would never hear that they feel like they have arrived. They feel successful in their work but they don't feel like they have arrived. The question is: Have you made success a place you are trying to arrive?
No one ever glorifies the hard work until the world looks at it in hindsight. No one was praising Steve Jobs in the garage days of Apple and declaring his success. Andre Agassi wasn't getting endorsement deals from camera companies when he was hitting a 1000 balls out of the monster (his name for the machine that shot tennis balls at him) on the court his father built as a kid. Mother Teresa held the hands of the dying and learned significant things about God in the process, she didn't show up in Calcutta spiritually perfect and she certainly wasn't noticed when she got there.
As a leader don't get consumed by thinking success is a landmark you can arrive at. Instead, do successful work. We are successful in work when we have fully committed ourselves to doing the hard things. Doing the things that few are willing to do. Doing these things over a long period of time will cause momentum and it creates a culture. We have to allow ourselves to do the hard work, the kind of work that may even change on us and the kind of work that can change us.
Can you think of someone who has demonstrated to you that success if found in work and not a landmark?