Success Brings Its Own Set of Problems

I used to think, If I can achieve success, my problems will go away. The reality is that success creates a whole new set of problems.

A Climber Hanging onto a Steep Cliff - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #16288715

Photo courtesy of ©

I have just been reminded of this with the launch of my new book. I don’t know how it will ultimately shake out, but the first three days have been very successful.

The book has been #4 or #5 on Amazon all week and as high as #5 on Barnes & Noble. The only thing tracking higher are the Shades of Grey novels. (Ugh.)

By almost any standard, the launch has been a success. It has certainly exceeded my expectations.

But it has also created some problems:

  • The special bonus offer has buried my assistant, Tricia, in e-mail from people who have problems or questions.
  • Thomas Nelson, my publisher, is running low on inventory, because they didn’t expect the book to do as well as it has. (Trust me, I sat on their side of the desk for years as a publisher, so I know how difficult it is to forecast demand.) Some retailers are showing it out of stock.
  • I have added so many people to my e-mail subscriber list that MailChimp shut me down yesterday. I had to pay several hundred dollars to upgrade my account to accommodate the additional volume.

Why am I sharing this? Because I don’t want you to become discouraged when you start succeeding.

Most of us accept the fact that failure brings problems. But sometimes we are surprised that success does too. As a result, it is easy for us to become ungrateful or cynical.

The truth is that problems are inevitable. They are good for us. They force us to stretch and grow.

Maybe we should welcome them … okay, maybe I’m going a little over-board.

Regardless, I much prefer the problems that come with success than the ones that come with failure—and I’ve had plenty of both! How about you?

Question: What success “problems” have you experienced? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Dale Melchin

    Oh, also had the that Grey’s book that you mentioned when I went into work.  I almost guffawed when I saw it.  Also, I’m stealing you’re question at the end routine. ;-)

  • Adam Rico

    This is such a wise post. Yes, success can bring us down as well as failure. 

    As Stephen Covey said (my paraphrase), 

    “You can only deal with change when you know what’s changeless about you.” 

    When we have a solid foundation in knowing our values the circumstances of life won’t be able to change us.

    Sounds like you are handling this with grace and kindness. 

  • Danna

    I wish I had a clone when I get asked to speak at amazing conferences and retreats, but I’m already booked!

  • Holly

    Amazing set of problems to have, Mr. Hyatt. Well done, by the way. I adore your podcast and leadership stories. You are an inspiration to the masses! ~Holly in South Korea 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Holly. I appreciate that.

  • pastorswife2020

    I’ve found problems with failure help keep one grounded and more humble. Successes can make you forget the struggles of others or even the struggles you faced to get there. I think a healthy balance of both and a recognition that all things comes from the hand of a loving God who has our best interests at heart. My vote is for recognizing that it’s not just your or my successes that count, but how it pleases God.

  • Freddie Daniells

    Used to have a mentor/colleague who used to describe the problems that you speak of as ‘high quality problems’. These were the problems that you want to have due to success, rather than the problems you might otherwise have. More recently someone described them to me as ‘champagne problems’ which is my now favourite term. We all want ‘champagne problems’!

  • Anna B

    Wow, what a great community here! My success problem is mostly with confidence. I’ve heard several writers describe it as ‘fraud syndrome’. It’s that fear that someday someone will realize you’re just winging it, that you’re not really qualified to do this, that you’re not really ‘a professional’. Of course, I am qualified, or I wouldn’t be getting paid for my work. But, there’s always that feeling of getting away with something…

    In addition, since I am building up my business while still keeping my full time job, I can get overwhelmed with the long days while I’m also building a relationship with a great boyfriend and trying to continue nurturing my relationships with God. :-) 

  • Forehomeremodeling

    Hello. My name is Robert Very. I own a full service home remodeling company. We are in our eighth year of business and have never been busier! Thank you, Lord. We have been so steadily busy since the year started that I needed to hire another person. My good ‘problem’ is that I am having to become more flexible in my own capacity as I have effectively replaced what I used to do on the job site. I now have others doing those tasks. I am still there full time on the jobs, but I now get to train them how I do things and duplicate myself since I have yet to find the time machine that would allow me to do just that with no additional help. Ha! Seriously though, learning to let go and let others help is big hurdle for me, speaking as an only child, but I highly recommend it. It is allowing me to still do what I love, train others better, help people, and more effectively walk in Gods plan for my life. God bless

  • Amber

    Great post! I haven’t read many resources on the trouble with success but it is something I’ve struggled with for the 13-year lifespan of my company. I stay slammed with work every day and respond to frustrated clients, it seems, continually. Ironically I usually feel like a failure. LOL. When people ask “how’s business,” I remark about having the best problem of all – more work than I could ever realistically accomplish but there is a very deep ache because I’m not satisfying customers. And the problems with this success are adding employees or subcontractors… Which seems to only exacerbate the issue. So today’s post reminded me to just relax and realize the source of the issue is success and to live as such. To let go of feelings of failure, walk in faith each day, looking to God for guidance about each next step. Today’s reading in “Jesus Calling” was about the mind leaping from problem to problem and causing us to become entangled in our worries – rendering us ineffective and anxious. But if we put on our blinders to the world and it’s traffic, we can step confidently into each next task and build or trust in God along the way. What a relief.

  • Jared Elmquist

    Problems are not the only thing that come with success or pursuing our gifts.  I call it “the burden of the gift”.  The thing(s) a person enjoys and finds pleasure in come with responsibilities and decisions at some point that are not always easy to make.

  • Malachi Dingis

    One of the things that annoyed me the most with the tiny success I’ve had, is that people then associate you with the talent or ability that made you successful. This means dealing with people who only want something from you, and that can be quite discouraging.

    Still, I’d take those success problems instead of the lazy and indifferent problems I now face.

  • Malachi Dingis

    The thing that annoyed me the most, with the very little success I’ve had, is that people know you only because of the talent or abilty that you have, and not the person you are. This was discouraging, especially for me, becasue the people you dealt with daily all of a sudden don’t really know who you are.

    Still, I’d take thos “success problems” instead of the lazy and indiferent problems I have now. Oh well…

  • Edi Balian

    Happy to hear that Success is bring GOOD CHALLENGES!

    Better to have these kinds of problems than the reverse.

    Best of luck with the book – I’m not surprised.


  • Andrew

    One success problem I’m currently experiencing has to do with having too many people ask for my services. For a long time it was like pulling teeth for someone to give me a chance to be their web developer. Now it seems like I turn down at least one project every week. I’m a people pleaser by nature so this doesn’t just come across as mere irony; it actually hurts to say no. Some of these project offered to me sound more promising than the ones I’ve already committed to pursuing, or they would put me in touch with influential people, but I already have a full plate. I’m not sure I would have ever seen this coming.

  • Elsa Arend

    Thank you for this post Michael. I heard your interview on Dave Ramsey’s podcast last night and I looked you up. I am the proud owner of your book and should soon receive the special bonus gift soon.

    Your post hit home for me because my recent success has created a lot of problems for me. I have never considered that problems are inevitable and I would rather them come from my success versus anything else. Wow, that is certainly an interesting way to look at things. Thank you for your willingness to pour into so many people you have never met. Its inspiring! All the best, Elsa Arend (Charlotte, NC)

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Elsa. I appreciate that.

  • brentmkelly

    Congrats on your success Michael.  I have been enjoying your book thoroughly.  Obviously, these are good problems to have, but are still problems.  I guess success just breeds a new set of challenges.  All the best.

  • Fokke

    I know firsthand that starting something new and getting success results in unforeseen problems. Best advice I ever got was not to focus too much on them. They tend to arise in areas you wouldn’t think if when you are before a change.

    Your book is going to create new things for people and help a lot of people.

  • Chip Dizard

    What a great question. Success can also breed jealousy from colleagues.  In your book Michael you talk about the “WOW” and how easy it is to mediocre, that is so true.  I find myself imagining what it would be like to have a launch like you had and then preparing myself mentally.  You never really know some things unless you have been through them, but I know by example you can learn some valuable lessons.

    1. I ordered my book at 2 a.m a few days ago. and was anxious to read it, but the autoresponder didn’t come. 
     2. I emailed your assistant and she replied promptly with a courteous reply.

    Lessons learned: without a team in  place it’s hard to manage a large amount of success. And follow up and follow through is as important as the product itself.

    Here’s to success! 

  • William Brust

    Frankly, I can’t wait to have those kinds of problems.

  • KirraAntrobus

    Excellent post. Thank you. Even though my blog isn’t highly trafficked yet, I’m realizing bit by not that having a popular blog will bring with it a lot of extra work, and, dare I say, problems. But like you, I’ll take those over not being successful.

  • Terry Morgan

    Michael, I sent in my Amazon receipt from my Platform purchase weeks ago, then re-sent the email two more times and have yet to get any confirmation, links, or response of any kind… is there something else I need to do?

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