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Why Truly Successful People Never Look For Overnight Success

Why Truly Successful People Never Look For Overnight Success
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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