The Trap of Success — How to break free from your comfort zone and shift from success to significance is a book by Gene Hammett and gives insights about his life story. In his opinion, it was a gift to lose a business deal, and now he can’t measure success in money but rather in significance. Some valuable lessons for entrepreneurs and business owners to have the courage to innovate and be purposeful in building their businesses.

In an article in Success Magazine Gene Hammett described the tough time when he lost his business, his savings and his house after a wrong business decision. This business decision was the reason why he has to change and why he was forced to change. Steve Jobs made it very clear in his speech at Stanford University: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” So many things that happen to us that are hard to understand at the moment, but when we look backward to them, they often make sense. 
The same was true for Gene Hammett: he realized that even he was earning a lot of money it was not fulfilling his life, and he was trapped in his own success. So afterward this wrong business decision was an opportunity to live his own purpose.

Before writing this book, Gene started sharing this message on stages to entrepreneurs and corporate clients that want to innovate and change trajectory of growth. Then he decided to turn this into a book to share with others this message. With The Trap of Success, he explains that success is a trap because you can earn a lot of money but you can still live in your comfort zone. He wanted to create a new kind of business, but he didn’t have the courage to do it because he was stuck in the old way. In his book, he gives strategies how people can avoid this trap.

Here are two basic pieces of advice from his book:

1. Get uncomfortable

That sounds really strange because most people do the clear opposite. The constantly do things that they are comfortable with. But really successful people know that real growth is happening when we feel uncomfortable. Real success means being ok feeling uncomfortable with the things I do. Or to put it with the words of Gene Hammett: “Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is a growth habit.” So you must be ok with this feeling of stretching yourself and working on things you don`t feel good with. That doesn’t mean that you have to make a big leap on the first place; you can start small with small steps toward your goal. Gene explains in his book about a big deal with a partner from South Africa who wanted to sell him thousands of tickets and that was too uncomfortable for Gene, so he bought smaller amounts of tickets which he felt better with. With time he increased the number of tickets. So, you have to decide yourself how much you`re going to stretch yourself. Start small and make little steps towards your goal.

2. Play to win

Once you decided your area outside of your comfort zone make a game out of it. Play this game and train yourself to act outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis. It should be a mental game for you to act bold and stretch your limitations. Constantly work on expanding your comfort zone so that you learn new skills and new habits in your daily life. Think of it as a game, so it becomes easier to stretch your skills and make more mistakes. If you`re not ok making mistakes, you will not achieve your goals as fast as possible because failure is necessary to achieve significance.

3. It’s all about service for other people

One of Gene Hammett`s coaching clients is Jason Swenk, who also had a tough time as an entrepreneur. His biggest problem was that he was focused too broadly to establish him as an expert to anyone. Finally, with the coaching of Gene, Jason was able to narrow his focus and establish a higher degree of influence and authority to drive his business beyond success…Jason finally has a sense of significance with his work and life. Now Jason serves his clients in a more powerful way.

This is also something that Gene understood after his business deal flopped and it was a turning point in his life. He started following his own passion and now consults and coaches other entrepreneurs in their business. He says that he learned it the hard way, but not everybody must experience what he experienced, that`s the reason why he is helping other entrepreneurs.

For getting the first two chapters from The Trap of Success — How to break free from your comfort zone and shift from success to significance by Gene Hammett follow this link:

You can find more information about Gene Hammett and his speaking on his website

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  • Yakup Özkardes-Cheung

    Content Manager, Author

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