The Long Road to ‘Overnight Success’
January 5, 2015
By Dr. Mary C. McDonald
The label “Overnight Success” has been mistakenly used to describe someone whose achievement is actually the result of a lifetime of hard work, sacrifices and overcoming adversity.
Being an overnight success implies a sudden, surprise appearance of success, like an unexpected guest at the door. Actually, success travels on a well-constructed path and visits the prepared.
It’s true that the world may quickly become aware of someone’s success and never be aware of the hard work that led to it. Ask anyone who has won an Olympic medal, started a business, found a cure for a disease or celebrated a 50th anniversary if they just started their quest the day before.
Success at anything is never easy. Do you remember when you learned to ride a bike? Did you give up because it took time and practice, or did you just keep working at it until you succeeded?
Everyone is still working at something. The only difference is that the number and intensity of the things you struggle with now may require a lot more time, practice and patience, with yourself and others.
During a recent interview, my education consulting business, MCD Partners, was described as being an overnight success when after two years it has a national presence in 78 cities in 34 states. The truth is, that “overnight success” took almost 40 years.
It’s the unseen tolls that are paid along the road to success that makes the difference. Starting out just working to get on the ladder, even the bottom rung, is hard work. The commitment to building a career is more than just showing up for work. It’s showing up early, staying late and taking the time to prepare.
Success is an endless series of learning opportunities, continuous improvement, passion, confidence, optimism and the ability to live in the wisdom of uncertainty. Success is the support of others along the way. Success is the unwavering focus on the vision, not being distracted or discouraged by naysayers, but staying true to who you are and what you know you were born to do. The advice on success that made the difference in my life came from this writing of Mother Teresa.
"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway."
"If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway."
"If you are successful, you will win some false friends, and some true enemies; succeed anyway."
"If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway."
"What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway."
"If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway."
"The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway."
"Give the world the best you have, and it may never be good enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway."
"You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway."
Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a national education consultant, at 574-2956 or visit mcd-partners.com