‘You cannot be serious!’: What happens when we reach our goals

Being often taken seriously is associated with expectations of achievement that are embodied in the saying “it’s a job for an adult”. To be taken seriously is to be seen as an adult. It’s scary, because it triggers our self-doubt about our skills and reliability. Fear of failure often trumps the desire for success, so we postpone, abstain, distract, delegate, and condemn ourselves in an attempt to alleviate our fear.


In our careers, we all too often live between the tragedies of failing to achieve our goals and achieving them. We feel frustrated that our careers have not reached the heights we wanted. For some, this is related to a shaky sense of self-worth, while for others it is closer to the truly comic self-deception of ability or greatness.

But for others, through a mixture of luck, judgment and talent, they are taken seriously and achieve their goals. Only then do they find out that what they had longed for and thought would give them satisfaction and happiness does not turn out to be what they bargained for.

Who knows what my legacy will be. Maybe, like Bob Monkhouse, it will be: Jim Bright, his career was a joke.

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