What happens when pleasing others runs contrary to serving your own best interests? People all over the country have told me that they feel held back by the very people they believe should be helping them succeed. They secretly fear that their own family and friends work against their success…are they crazy? What is it about human nature that makes people a little bit jealous when they see us excel?

People are just like crabs in a bucket; family, can be like crabs in a tall bucket with a lid on it! If you ever have the chance to observe this behavior, do so…it’s fascinating. Imagine a bucket full of crabs…every so often, one will get ambitious and get its claw over the edge. It will start to pull itself up and get its second claw outside of the bucket. It can taste its freedom and its way back to the ocean. Right about this time, the other crabs notice his escape and, instead of cheering and pushing its fellow crab to freedom, the whole lot claws, grabs and pulls the nearly free crab back to the depths of their confinement. This repeats over and over, regardless of which crab tries to escape.

I don’t know exactly why crabs do it, but for people, it’s fear of success. They fear change. They fear the unknown. They fear that you’ll no longer be complicit in their complacency. Improving your own situation holds a mirror up to theirs and it’s easier for them to bring you back down to their level than to grow to yours.

One of the hardest choices you may have to make is to limit spending time with people who hinder your progress. Choose, instead, to surround yourself with like minded, success focused, proven winners. Better yet, spend time with those who are smarter, more driven, and more successful than you. When you abandon the negative thinkers, whiners, gossipers and the complacent, you’ll find yourself enjoying the freedom which lies just outside the bucket.

Author's Bio: 

James brings more than twenty years of seasoned, in depth, business building experience from a wide range of industries and markets.

Before joining buildingmycompany.com; he founded The MadKo Group, a business strategy , consulting and bookkeeping firm that specializes in small business and start-ups. He has tenured with the largest, fastest growing, private consulting firm in the U.S. as a Senior Business Analyst. This Chicago based firm focused specifically on small to medium sized business. James has made countless site visits, across the U.S. working with hundreds of owners, CEOs and Company Boards to help turn around business in every sector from architectural firms to manufacturers. He brings an intimate understanding of the challenges that small, medium and family owned businesses face.

James started his financial career shortly after graduating from Aquinas College (with honors) with Prudential Preferred Financial Corporation, where he carried various SEC broker licenses to serve Prudential High Wealth Core Clientele. James became involved in the ISO 9000 process with the Prince Corporation of Holland, MI (now Johnson Controls) where various process and improvements were made to complete their first ISO Certification.

After successive achievements, James took over a faltering territory in Michigan to transform it into a highly profitable, multi-million dollar territory as a Senior Representative for Michigan Caterpillar. As a distributor of Heavy road building and construction equipment, he worked closely with State, County and Local Governments, and with well over 300 contractors, week in and week out, helping them grow not only their own profits, but those of Caterpillar as well.

As Vice President of Business Development, Professional Uniforms Inc. (dba) Lydia's Uniforms, James specialized in the areas of Strategic Planning, Product Development, International Trade and Importing, In-bound and Outbound Telemarketing as well as various legal and financial roles. He put special emphasis on creating web- based affiliate programs for the companies' several websites complimenting the companies new multi-channel marketing approach including print. Professional Uniforms Inc, direct marketed a wide range of goods, under a number of brands, from medical tools to fashion and lifestyle branded goods and shoes. James is most proud of the establishment of their shoe related charity "Sole Samaritan" and the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of goods donated directly to Haiti through their partner charity and the creation and establishment of the companies' Nurses Scholarship in partnership with the AACN ( American Association of College's of Nursing).

James worked closely with the Michigan MMBDC. Fully understanding the minority and WBE certification process and vendor outreach programs, he sat on the Councils' "Project One" Board.

These deep and diverse accomplishments, garnered from markets and sectors across the globe, have given James a unique and invaluable perspective on the problems facing today's business. The true problems of business are often beyond the Financial Statements and dwell beneath the surface of the organization.