Overnight Success REALLY Doesn’t Happen Overnight

mocha momentsWith headlines like “From Zero to $1 Billion in Two Years” describing what happened to Instagram and “They did it! YouTube Bought by Google for $1.65 Billion in Less than Two Years” it’s no wonder that we’re seduced and romanced into thinking about what it would be like in our own lives to go from zero to billionaire hero in at least two years or less. If only we could come up with that one big idea.

Kim Mai Cutler, author of the Instagram story on Tech Crunch summarized beautifully “Even now, it’s still shocking how the remarkably low distribution costs of the web can change a founder’s fate overnight. Many startups are duds, and most grow at a clip that’s just not fast enough to justify an interesting valuation. But once in a while, a company comes along and just nails it. The right timing. The right market. The right place.”

It’s been said that the good things in life happen on purpose…the great things, bad and good, by accident. If you want to succeed in your life you have to be purposeful about it. Sure you may nail it like the guys involved in YouTube and Instagram nailed it, but if you want sustained success you need to build an unshakable foundation.

Success takes TIME, EFFORT, PERSEVERANCE and most of all PATIENCE. There may be times when you wonder: Why aren’t I getting results faster? What if I NEVER achieve this goal? Would I have wasted my time? Why am I not already rich? Will I ever achieve my goal weight?

Regardless of what you set out to do, you will meet obstacles, you will occasionally find yourself in a rut and you may find yourself on a plateau – not growing, not moving. Jack Canfield in his book The Success Principles says “It’s natural in the achievement of any goal to come upon obstacles, to feel temporarily stuck on a plateau. This is normal. Anyone who has ever played a musical instrument, participated in a sport or practiced a martial art knows that you hit plateaus where it seems as if you are making no progress whatsoever. That’s when the uninitiated often quit, give up, drop out, or take up another instrument or sport. But the wise have discovered if they just keep practicing their instrument, sport, or martial art or the success principles, eventually they make what feels like a sudden leap to a higher level of proficiency.”

In order for our lives to change, we have to change. If you’re not getting the results you want, then you have to make changes until you see those results. Quick fixes won’t get you there. Get rich quick schemes won’t get you rich. Instant weight loss programs won’t keep the weight off permanently. Your habits have to change. Your choices have to change. And most of all you have to be intentional and disciplined around those things you say you want. No one can do it for you. Renowned motivational speaker Jim Rohn said “You can’t hire someone else to do your push-ups for you.” It’s one thing to have the road map, but it takes discipline and perseverance to follow through until you start reaping the rewards.

John Maxwell, leadership guru says that it’s not about making the decision, it’s about managing it. The longer we intend to do something without taking action, the greater the odds that we will never do it. Time is the one resource we cannot recapture once it’s lost; there’s no way to make up for months and years of neglecting personal development.

I believe that in order to be truly successful, we all need to KNOW ourselves before contemplating GROWING ourselves. John’s Leadership Wired blog shares “Personal growth isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy for self-improvement. For personal growth to be beneficial, and not a waste of energy, it must be suited to your unique strengths and particular temperament. Not everyone shares the same learning style: what works for one person may be completely inappropriate for another. In addition, personal growth requires you to identify your purpose in life. Unless you’re clear where you’re headed, you won’t know which ways to grow. On the other hand, once you have a definite vision in mind, you can begin to develop the specific set of skills needed to accomplish it.”

In my own pursuit of success, here is where I’ve tripped myself up and in so doing delayed my progress. Motivation has always kept me going. I love to read and to be inspired by others. But I don’t always have the discipline and consistency required to follow through repeatedly, especially through the rough patches. At those times I want to start a fresh project, start something new. I’m bored. I don’t want to do it anymore. I’m ready to give up. I think a lot of people besides me struggle with being consistent and Maxwell gives us a greater understanding as to why so many of us fail at it.

Applying the law involves asking key questions—such as “Do you know what you need to improve?” and “Do you know how you are supposed to improve?”—to develop daily growth practices. This is why I now have a coach – to hold me accountable and to reflect those parts about myself that are wonderful that I tend to forget, especially when I’m journeying through a dark patch.

“Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time,” says John who recommends starting with small changes so as not to become overwhelmed and to be patient, as progress occurs over time. We need to value the process, as we grow and develop because it may take much longer than we think to achieve our own overnight success.


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