Len Herstein on Why Complacency Kills Success | MP 84

On this marketing podcast, Len Herstein talk about why complacency kills success

Have you experienced complacency in your career? Has past success seemed to stop you from achieving new goals? What is the difference between laziness and complacency?

In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks with Len Herstein about why complacency kills success.

Podcast Sponsor: Brighter Vision

An image of Brighter Vision Web Solutions is featured as the sponsor on Faith in Practice Podcast, a therapist podcast. Brighter Vision builds all in one websites for therapists.

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Meet Len Herstein

A photo of Len Herstein is captured. Len is a business brand manager, speaker, and author. Len is featured on Marketing a Practice

Len Herstein has over 30 years of experience in business and brand marketing. Prior to founding his marketing and events company, Manage Camp Inc., Len innovated, managed, and grew brands for major consumer packaged goods marketers, including Campbell Soup Company, Coca-Cola, and Nabisco.

Len is also the author of Be Vigilant!, a book full of actionable insights and the leadership strategies you need to conquer complacency, improve performance, and safeguard success through business vigilance.

Visit Len Herstein’s website and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

FREEBIE: Read the first chapter of Be Vigilant!


In This Podcast

  • How complacency makes you vulnerable
  • Be vigilant – not paranoid
  • Len’s 3 strategies to overcome complacency
  • Len’s advice to private practitioners

How complacency makes you vulnerable

Complacency is not laziness. Complacency is over-confidence, self-satisfaction, even a smugness sometimes that comes from past success that makes us unaware of potential dangers. (Len Herstein)

Complacency is not laziness because laziness is a conscious choice: you can do something but you decide not to. In contrast, complacency is rarely a choice.

Human beings often become complacent because it allows a sense of comfort, and gives them an excuse not to keep growing.

The more successful you are, the more vulnerable [you] are to that complacency … [it] is always in the background, and if you are not doing things intentionally, not being aware, then [you’re] always going to be vulnerable to it. (Len Herstein)

Therefore, complacency makes you vulnerable to stagnation. You stop pursuing your goals because a false sense of comfort – complacency – encourages you not to.

Be vigilant – not paranoid

Paranoia is based on fear and vigilance is based on awareness. This is all about awareness, and building things into the processes of business and life to help us remain in the moment, [and] aware, so that we don’t lose sight of [potential threats]. (Len Herstein)

Practice being vigilant over your business, relationships, and personal life so that you are not becoming complacent and settling for mediocre.

Be aware of what you have achieved, celebrate it, and set your gaze upon the next goals that you have on your horizon.

Len’s 3 strategies to overcome complacency


Figure out how you are going to keep an eye on things that can threaten your growth and development.

They [can] sneak upon us, and the worst thing that happens when they sneak up on us is that we’re not prepared, and the worst time to be figuring out what you are going to do in a crisis is when you are in that crisis. (Len Herstein)

Practice crisis management and ask yourself, “if this happens, what are we doing to do?” Move through the different potential threats in your life, and ask this question.

Focus on being proactive instead of reactive.

Get off the X:

Be strategically unpredictable. Move around in your “OODA loop” where you Observe the situation, Orient yourself, Decide on a course of action, and Act.

By being unpredictable you make it more difficult for competition to beat you, and increase your chances of being at the forefront.


Debrief incidents after they have happened, regardless of the outcome.

This idea of implementing debriefs in our life regularly so that everybody involved knows that they’re going to happen, regardless of the outcome, has two effects: it makes us inherently more aware … and two, it helps us identify micro-failures that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. (Len Herstein)

Len’s advice to private practitioners

Success is not the end goal, sustaining it is. And complacency is a threat to sustainable success, so be vigilant.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

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Meet Sam Carvalho

A photo of Samantha Carvalho is captured. She is the Chief Marketing Officer and Designer at Practice of the Practice. She is the host of the Marketing A Practice Podcast and helps therapists successfully market and brand their private practices.Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.

She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!

Follow Sam on Instagram to see some of her work. To work with Sam, head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding.

Thanks For Listening!

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