Don’t Let Success Go to Your Head

Simply A Cappella

So you just won your first competition, or just got rave reviews on your new CD, or just got some high profile recognition in the local media. You’re feeling good, and your group should celebrate its victories.

Your group should not, however, let success go to its head.

Modest is a virtue, and particularly so in the performing arts, where the stereotype of the musician as diva is alive and well. Let your success speak for itself and focus on actually getting better, as opposed to making yourselves look better and you’re sure to be a stronger group for it. Furthermore, if you direct more attention to praising other groups than bragging about your own, it will make it much easier to form collaborative relationships, as opposed to being seen as elitist.

Keeping a level head also helps to moderate expectations. While every group should aim to rise as high as it can and set lofty goals, the group should also keep perspective on where it stands right now. One victory in an ICCA quarterfinal does not mean that you’re bound for the International Finals. A positive review on the RARB does not equate to a CARA award later in the year. I bring up these points because groups that grow too accustomed to success are often the ones most devastated or embittered when they confront disappointment down the road. By not letting success go to the group’s head, you are setting yourself up to appreciate your well-earned successes, but also able to take any pending disappointments in stride and not get down-trodden, but rather learn from your experiences and come back all the stronger the next time around.

Refusing to let success go to your head will make your group more likeable and better prepared to enjoy continued success. Be confident, rather than cocky, and the group will reap the benefits for years to come.