Tough at the Top

Nothing spoils success like success. Just ask the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team (search).

For years they were unbeaten and thought to be unbeatable. That is, until they started getting beaten. Now everyone's beating a path to say that they're beat and that they're bums.

They're not, of course. It's our expectations that are.

It happens all the time. Vaulted favorites. Runaways best bets. When you set up high expectations, you had better deliver. Trip once and be blasted always.

I was chatting the other day with the CEO of a large Fortune 500 concern, suddenly fallen on hard times. It wasn't that long ago his company was a category killer. Now the press is killing him. He's missing estimates. Pretty soon, he fears, he could be missing his job. And it’s all because of the pressure of being on top.

"I miss the days when I took the company back from oblivion," he told me. "Now I fear I'm just heading back to oblivion."

He adds quietly, "How quickly they forget."

I know how he feels. I know how the U.S. basketball team feels. Or the 30-to-1 heavyweight boxing champ who cannot lose but does, feels. I feel it myself sometimes: Longing for the days when I could fit all this show's viewers in my office, with room to spare.

That was then. A No. 1 business show is now.

It's tougher when you're on top. People pay attention more. They want your head more. And relish seeing you fall more.

Oh, for the days when I worked in a vacuum!

Somewhere out there is the next up and coming CEO, or basketball team, or heavyweight contender whose exploits are not marked or noted or reported on… yet.

Their time will come. But like our basketball team, they just might regret it when it does.

Watch Neil Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on "Your World with Cavuto" and send your comments to