Why You’ll Never Be An Overnight Success

Every month I write a pep talk to (hopefully) inspire, motivate, or pick you up if you’re feeling down. Think of it as both nurturing encouragement and your ‘kick up the butt’ to get going on your goals or dreams (or just help you feel good).

There is no such thing as an overnight success.

People do it all the time. Someone will just seemingly pop up, with all this charisma, and success, and all these amazing things they can do. They’ll become huge, possibly even a household name, whereas yesterday they were no one.

But think about it – an overnight success

Yesterday they were no one to you. Then, today, you heard about them – so obviously they seem like an overnight success. They entered your world overnight.

But their life has been going on for far longer than today. Their hustling and struggling has been their entire lifetime.

You just didn’t know about them then.

They weren’t born with it

An overnight success seems to have their innate ability to just be awesome. That’s why they’ve suddenly exploded, right?

No. They worked hard, then they worked hard some more, then they worked hard even more. And then there was probably some even more work.

They had to build their success.

Humans are great at comparisons though

It’s so easy to look at someone succeeding and then become discouraged because you’re no where near their level. I mean, what’s the point in even trying – they’re already killing it, so how could you ever be as good?

We’re great at looking at where we are in life and then looking at everyone else and assuming we’re all at exactly equal places. So then we beat ourselves up because we feel inadequate.

But we’re not at exactly equal points in life. You don’t know how long someone has been on their journey for. And, conversely, you don’t know what someone could see and feel “behind in” when they look at you.

I’ve put “behind” in quotation marks because there is no such thing as being “behind” in life. We are just living – there is no manual, or checklist, or timeframe to “complete” everything by. There’s not even anything TO complete, so how can we possibly mark it off?

Don’t compare your Step 1 with their Step 100

When you’re looking at someone who’s succeeding at something incredible, it can be inspiring, but it can also be soul crushing. Because then you look at what you’re doing compared to what they’re doing, and it can feel silly. Pointless. And it can put you off even trying.

But that person didn’t start where they are right now. They started where you are. They took similar steps, and climbed to where they are. You can’t jump right to the top (not if you want it to be meaningful and lasting). You have to walk, step by step.

Use an overnight success as inspiration

Look at an overnight success as what they really are: the reward for lots of hard work. And use that as fuel for your own struggle.

When you’re working late, or declining invitations, or struggling through a really trying time, look to those overnight successes as proof that it will all pay off if you keep going. Your moment in the spotlight will come.

Because real overnight successes are brought about through years of hard work. That’s what they’ll say if you ask them.

And it’s proof you can do it too.

So keep going. Stay to the path. Your overnight success is coming.

This pep talk is part of a series I write each month, to help motivate, inspire, and give you a boost, either in work or personally – if you like this and want more, find previous pep talks here.

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