by Jake Thompson

How to Be an Overnight Success

“We always see the glory, but we never know the grind that got them...

“We always see the glory, but we never know the grind that got them there.” – Steven Furtick

We live in a “quick fix” society that craves immediate gratification & everything on “our time.” DVRs allow us to skip commercials and watch any show at the touch of our fingers. Marketing leader Gary Vaynerchuk recently wrote how we’ve gotten to the point of being annoyed when we receive phone calls if it’s not on “our time.” That’s why text messaging is so good – you can answer when you want to. And success?

We want that shit right now. Every entrepreneur wants to build a million-dollar business in one day. Every athlete wants to win their sport’s championship their first year. And every single one of us wants to achieve each of goals with the greatest of ease in the shortest of time. 

As a society, we’ve begun to populate this idea of an “overnight success” when someone bursts on to the scene. An artist’s single hits iTunes and explodes onto radio waves. Most assume they’ve come out of nowhere and this is this first song. We see NBA rookie Mason Plumlee block LeBron James for the game-winner and most people wonder where this kid came from. Few knew his road from Indiana to Durham to Brooklyn. They saw the results of his work but not the grind that prepared him for that crucial moment.

Too often we focus on the tip of the iceberg above water (glory) instead of the gigantic block of ice underneath the water (grind).

But still you want to know the secret to overnight success? How can you crush your goals, build your business, and win your sport today? The magic formula to overnight success is this:

1. Work your ass off refining your chosen craft – as long as it takes. We use the word “overnight” casually, and it surely doesn’t mean the 12 hour period between 7pm and 7am. “Overnight” can sometimes take weeks, months, or years to fully come true. Regardless of the timing, you must grind through and continue on, each day refining your skills. One day, someone will notice your grind and success and to them, you’ll have “just shown up overnight.” But all along you’ve been relentlessly refining your craft.

2. Be persistent – no matter how much rejection you encounter. Famous children’s author Dr. Seuss was rejected by the first twenty three publishers he took his first book. The twenty fourth publisher sold SIX MILLION COPIES. Had Seuss quit after just one of those first 23 publishers said “no” he would never have become the overnight sensation he was thanks to the 24th publisher. Just think about the NBA today if Michael Jordan had given up basketball all together after being sent down to junior varsity as a sophomore. Compete Every Day.

3. Surround yourself with Iron. Not the rusty, dull kind you can cut yourself on & get tetanus. Sharp iron. Iron that is built to sharpen other iron. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” is one of the most famous biblical Proverbs. The company you keep can make you better if you choose said company carefully. Bad company can just as quickly dull you. The right group of people surrounding you – friends, advisors, teammates, and business partners – will be your rock during the most troubling of times. All are integral to achieving overnight success because it is with them that you will find strength during the darkest of the night.

4. Focus on building the goal, not proclaiming yourself. Many times people climb onto their (social media) mountain and yell “LOOK AT ME!” They want to remind you that they are indeed working, doing things, and to pay attention to them. The overnight success does not have time for this – they are too busy working & focusing on achieving their goals. For the overnight success, actions speak louder than words. I have a hard enough time going for a light jog and carrying on any type of conversation.

Your hustle should be harder, faster, and longer than a light jog. You should be too out of breath from doing great work that you don’t have time to yell “look at me” and instead focus on refining your craft. The results of your actions will speak volumes louder than any words from your tongue ever could. Four simple rules. It’s that easy to be one of America’s next “overnight success.” It’s a shame more people aren’t interested in the magic formula, but it’s an honor that those who Compete Every Day, already know the secret by heart.

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