How Your Sense of Entitlement is Blocking Your Success

Once in a while a prospective client approaches me with frustration regarding the lack of results they may have seen achieved by their previous PR efforts, specifically regarding media relations. Sometimes it is simply a case that their strategic steps had not been executed effectively but sometimes that frustration may actually be a sense of entitlement and a feeling of being entitled to success. What is entitlement? According to Psychology today, “Entitlement is an enduring personality trait, characterized by the belief that one deserves preferences and resources that others do not”.

From my own perspective entitlement is very different from knowing what you deserve and knowing your worth and being confident with that. To me, entitlement really speaks to the fact that you feel that you should be in a certain place in your life or business and you believe that you have not received the acknowledgement or the success you think  you should have however you may not necessarily have actually done the work to get there. Some people blame their haters, some people blame the world at large for not being fair. I’ve been there myself; where I get frustrated with a lack of progress regarding one of my goals but before I allow a sense of entitlement to take root I undertake my own introspection. I know my worth and I understand my value but I am also self-aware enough to know that I am not entitled to my success.  I have to work for it and that work does not necessarily have to be strenuous or active labour, it really can mean looking at what I need to do to “level up” (move forward and achieve my own goals in a new or different way). 

Entitlement will make some of us believe that just because we have done the work to get to where we are the world somehow owes us the acknowledgment or rewards that we feel entitled to. But unfortunately life is not as straightforward as doing the work or turning up (unless you come from a privileged background),  doing the work isn’t enough.  There will be times when you have to show the world that you’re doing the work and there will be times when you have to take a step back and make moves in silence. Sometimes you have to actively make changes in your life to make room for a breakthrough even if you know that you deserve one and sometimes you have to rebuild your network so that you can re-position yourself for new connections who can help you to achieve the things that you want to achieve. There will be times when you have to be honest and take a step back and look at what needs to be restructured in your business or professional life and invest in training which you need to improve your visibility. There will be times when you can’t simply wait for people to recognise you or support you, you have to put yourself forward for that award, for example, as opposed to waiting for someone to nominate you and sometimes you’ll have to undertake self promotion.  Don’t just assumed that what you’re putting it out there is good enough, there are always ways that you can learn and improve if you ask yourself pertinent questions.

There are people who you think are moving ahead of you, and if you’re honest you might be jealous of their success, but rather then using their success as a framework you’re allowing that jealousy to block your vision.  That does not necessarily mean that you should be worrying about your competitors but what it does mean is that you should be looking towards those who are doing well in your field as inspiration or at least affirmation of what is possible for you.  Now I am not suggesting that you copy people but what I am asking you to do is to take the time to recognise why you’re blocked if you are feeling frustrated and what your own internal barriers are, a feeling of entitlement could be one of those barriers.

Entitlement could be the thing that is making you so stubborn that you nearly feel like giving up because you think that you’ve done the work that should be enough to achieve success and respect. But you have to keep doing the work, rest of course and take care of your health but keep taking the steps to achieve success, whatever that looks like to you. Success is a bit like happiness, it can feel like a never ending cycle to achieve it and when you get some success you want more or it’s never enough but success really should be more like joy, you acknowledge that you are worthy of it, keep doing the work to attain it and allow it to surround you so that you don’t lose sight of it.


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