Recently, I heard a newscaster reference the term “VIP Syndrome,” which has its origin in healthcare. From what I gathered in my research of the topic, the term pertains to how a patient’s VIP status impacts the medical decisions being made for that individual. For example, if that person is rich and famous, the doctors may acquiesce to treatment demands from the VIP.
Given I’m not a medical professional, it’s probably best to stay out of the healthcare domain.
VIP Syndrome in Action
Many years ago, while traveling on a Southwest Airlines’ flight from San Antonio to Dallas, I witnessed an example of VIP status. When I say, “many years ago,” I mean like back in 1998 or so.
I still remember this scenario very clearly. This flight was scheduled around 6 a.m., and it was years before the 9/11 attacks, so flying was less restrictive.
As I boarded the Southwest jet, I observed a gentleman, who seemed to be in his 40s, receiving significant attention from the flight attendants. After finding my assigned seat, I overheard part of his conversation.
As it turns out, he was an attorney who flies this route often, and many of the flight attendants and airport personnel knew him well. On this flight, he received constant care from the attendants who offered him extra comforts such as a pre-flight drink and asked if he wanted a blanket.
Yes … there was a time when blankets were offered on domestic flights!
Just to make it clear … I’m not complaining about the treatment this attorney received. He is, after all, a frequent flyer on a low-cost airline, and he probably deserved the extra care.
However, this type of treatment and attention can affect a person over time.
When a person believes that they are at the top of their game, it’s possible they will stop looking for areas of improvement. In fact, many of these individuals are upset when others offer constructive criticism.
For example, let’s assume people think I’m the BEST instructor in the world … Do I stop focusing on professional development?
In other words, why change anything about what I’m already doing? I’m already good!
Not so fast …
When I first heard about the VIP Syndrome, I realized it applies to how we manage our careers. From my observations over many years, the people who are truly successful do not consider themselves as being better than others. Instead, the most successful people carry themselves with a quiet confidence, and they’re quick to admit when they lack sufficient knowledge regarding a topic or a decision that needs to be made.
To avoid reaching this “I know it all” stage, it’s probably better to think that there is always at least one more rung we need to climb. In fact, it’s probably smarter to take the approach that the ladder itself is taller than we originally perceived.
Does this mean we should put ourselves down and think success is not possible for us?
Nope! Absolutely not!
However, by taking the approach that there is always more to learn, we keep looking for innovative and creative ways to perform our work. This demeanor and mindset create the quiet confidence that others appreciate, attracting more and more opportunities for future success.
This doesn’t mean that we’ll qualify for a pre-flight drink or even a blanket … but that’s okay because acquiring the VIP Syndrome might be counterproductive to our career health.