I’ve written before about the power curve — and how wealth, reputation, and marketing authority concentrates in the hands of a very small number of people. If you are fortunate enough to be at the higher levels of the power curve, you don’t really need to struggle to hard to find clients; they’ll compete to give you money. You can charge top dollar for your services, and (in part because you are at the leading edge and also have the money), can attract wonderfully talented associates and back-up people to help you propel even further to greater success.
Of course, it can’t be easy for most of us to reach this sweet spot — or it wouldn’t be so sweet for those who make it there. And it can be dangerous and even harmful if you let your success get to your head; you may believe your own stories too much, surround yourself with sycophants who don’t dare question whether you are staying on the right track, and then, crash, boom, everything goes to seed — and sometimes very quickly.
I’m also conscious that the effort and will (and sacrifices you need to make) to reach the top at a given activity or initiative may come at a very large cost and am reminded of the moment when I touched glory way back in 1980 as a foreign correspondent in Rhodesia turning to Zimbabwe. I attended a reception for the international news media in Salisbury turning to Harare, where the biggest of the big shots were attending to be on hand for Zimbabwe’s independence. And, with my eyes and ears tuned like laser beams, I quickly realized that the most successful journalists were, in many cases, truly damaged as individuals. They lacked healthy personal or family lives as they traveled from one place in the world to another. I vowed then that my priorities in life would be directed on personal balance and a healthy family life, and if that meant I would never achieve the international fame I had originally envisaged to be my goal, I would be a happier person.
Nevertheless, I think we can all find within our areas of knowledge and character areas of significant strength and leadership, and there are real advantages of developing these qualities and sharing them within your community and market’s “power curve” leadership.
How to do this? I think participation and contribution to relevant client-facing community and trade associations and groups may be a good way to take on the leadership roles. Ditto for genuine community service and charitable support.
Do you have any thoughts about scaling the power curve? Have you ever crossed into the top ranks? How did you get there, and what happened when you did? I welcome your comments by email or through the comment form below.