Contrary to our hopes and wishes, success does not happen overnight. I repeat, success does not happen overnight. Now, when someone hits it big, when something successful happens for someone else, it might appear that they’re an “overnight” sensation. It might appear that they went to bed one day and woke up the next with fame and fortune. Disagree.
You weren’t with them in the days, weeks, months, and often times, years, that preceded that one moment where it appeared that success came for them all at once. You weren’t with them during the dozen times that they were ready to give up. Those times where it was just too hard and they wanted to pack it in. And you most certainly weren’t there when they decided, through their own will or encouragement from someone else, to remain steadfast. To keep going. To key in on their goal and maintain its course, regardless of how many times they get knocked down along the way.
No, success doesn’t happen overnight.
It happens from putting the work in everyday. It happens from persisting. It happens from dedication. How do you build a house? One brick at a time. How do you walk from Vancouver to Toronto? One step at a time. How do you write a book? One page at a time.
Today’s image and title really drive home this point. Success, and the act of being successful — it’s not always visible. In fact, often times, it’s not. It reminds me of a similar analogy I heard many years ago along these same lines.
Let’s say you want a beautiful organic garden. You want fruits and vegetables to flourish and give you a bounty. The idea of being able to stroll down to your garden and pick fresh raspberries or strawberries in the summer or harvest the delicious carrots or green beans in the fall — yum! For this lovely picture to come to life, you’ve got to plant the seeds when it’s time. Plant the seeds in the spring when the soil is ripe. In your excitement for the vision of fresh carrots, would you dig into the ground a week after planting to see how the carrots are doing? NO! You absolutely wouldn’t do that. You’d continue to tend to the garden in the way that you know — watering, weeding, etc. The “what” of what’s happening underneath the surface is the byproduct of the hardwork you put in at the beginning to get the garden started and all the hardwork that you’ve continued to do along the way.
Your “success” is in that initial push to start a new habit. Your success is in buying the gym membership and committing to go everyday for the next month and then following through on that commitment. Your success is the initial push to start a website and then committing to write something every workday. Your success is in downloading Duolingo and then committing to practice a new language everyday for the next month. And then committing to continue learning that same language the next month. And the next month. Until you’ve strung together 6 months and all of a sudden, you’re finding it easier and easier to come up with words in your new language.
Success only appears to happen overnight. Success truly happens in that initial burst of energy to start something — that initial burst to do something — followed by the perseverance to remain steadfast.