Years ago as I was really trying to become a great WordPress developer and thought leader. I worked hard and wrote about development a lot and tried to connect with others and share my knowledge. Then someone ‘new’ came along and seemingly overnight created a business that supported his family and a few employees. This all happened while I slaved away with a bunch of ideas that had a bit of traction but not enough money to really live on.
It felt like he had an overnight success, but what I didn’t know at the time was Pippin had at least 30 other projects under his belt. He had tried and not quite monetized a bunch of them. It was only after all that work that he finally hit on a winning formula. All that work I never saw. There is great danger in waiting and wishing for overnight success. Lets look at the stories of 12 successful people to see how desiring overnight success is really just setting yourself up for failure.
1. You missed the years of work
Gary Vanerchuk took his family wine business from $3 million to $60 million in 3 years and then used that success to build a great consulting company and write a few best selling books. Sure, his original success was in different areas than he’s currently focusing on but he still spent years working long days we didn’t see. Only after original success was he able to change fields and gain success.
2. First run success is often a trick
Looking at Dave Ramsey now you may be surprised to find that he went bankrupt before he built the business he has now. He tricked himself in to thinking his debt-ridden, leveraged life was a success. To many on the outside a 20-something millionaire does seem like a success. Only with that bankruptcy experience was he able to build the business he has today helping millions get out of debt and stay there.
3. They felt trapped just like you and that inspired them
John Lee Dumas spent years feeling trapped in a commute running on the same hamster wheel that never allowed him a break. All he wanted was to do work that inspired him and others. It was this trapped feeling without a podcast to listen to that inspired John to start his daily show interviewing amazing business owners.
4. It’s not about the ‘right’ person just discovering you
Before Kimanzi Constable became the successful speaker, writer, and coach he is today, he ran a bread truck delivery business that was just barely scraping by. He didn’t like it and didn’t just wait for someone to notice him. He worked hard and pitched publications and conferences. His actions brought about the success we see today. He learned that “don’t wait for anyone” attitude when he started his bread business.
5. Failing gets you a step closer to success
Thomas Edison never believed that an attempt at the light bulb was a failure, it was just a new way he learned not to make a light bulb. It was this view that each failure was just a step towards success that was getting him closer to his goal.
6. You’re experience bank account isn’t full yet
Mikael and Niklas, the founders of Angry Birds, have experience building games and not just the one they’re best know for. Before Angry Birds, they developed 52 other games that never quite hit the same level of appeal. They were only able to create Angry Birds because they had so much experience in the field to draw on as they built a hit.
7. Instant brilliance is not a trait they value
Sir James Dyson didn’t hit vacuum success 5,126 times before he finally found the iconic Dyson design we know today. During this process, he continued to remember that he didn’t value instant success. He knew that effortless success was a sham and that it was going to take significant hard work doing things the wrong way before he built what he wanted.
8. Success isn’t their measure for happiness
Dan Miller, the host of a popular podcast on doing work you love and former car salesman, regularly says that he could be happy on one of many careers, including going back to selling cars. He didn’t say ‘if only X then I’d be happy’ he set about doing something that made him happy and turned it in to a highly profitable business. All of this occured as he recovered from huge debt from a failed fitness facility.
9. When others throw bricks you build a foundation
When Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, he took that situation and built NeXT and Pixar. NeXT was bought by Apple when Jobs came back and we all know Pixar films are hugely successful. He took that rough situation and used it to build a foundation that brought him even bigger success when he came back to Apple.
10. You haven’t grown enough to wield succes yet
While it’s an amazing story that Amanda Lockwood (now Hegarty) gained instant fame by appearing on Ellen, a quick search for her now really just shows a Twitter profile. This quick jump to fame didn’t give her any of the skills that failure would in handling a large media following. Without the knowledge to leverage it all that reach is wasted.
11. You haven’t learned to avoid the pain
Despite already being a successful actress, Blake Lively’s latest fashion endeavor failed. In the midst of this “failure”, we get to watch someone gracefully close a company. She says that she didn’t want to build something that provided little value and is now more prepared to find that value in her next project.
12. Dreaming of it means you just don’t take action
The biggest problem with the myth of overnight success is that you think it actually exists. Sitting there waiting to be discovered by the “right person” takes you out of the driver’s seat in your life and business and you end up just waiting for something good to happen. Don’t just sit back and wait for that overnight success.
Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day. Jim Rohn
Get those disciplines in your life and practice them daily on your way to success. If you’re not sure where to start with your disciplines then check out these things that successful people do at the end of the day and pick a few up.
Featured photo credit: Andresr via shutterstock.com