She leans across the table and taps the voice recorder app on her phone. She asks me – in that way only a college sophomore who’s doing a class project can – “To what do you owe your success?”
I laaaaaugh and stare into my latte and give her an answer that will never,ever be embroidered on a pillow:
“I kept writing and working when lots of other people stopped.”
And then she laughs because when we first sat down, she told me she’d been reading my blog since middle school. She has seen, first hand, that I’ve been writing and working (and then writing and working some more) for literally a decade.
And if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve probably seen this, too. That the “success” I’ve experienced has mostly occurred through sheer force of will. 70% of bloggers quit blogging after three months. I just …didn’t.
Because here’s the thing: I think I’m a good writer and I think I have good ideas.
A huge, incredibly un-sexy ingredient in my success is that I’ve simply kept going. For almost 10 years, I’ve written blog posts, replied to comments, and promoted things I created. I’ve done this almost every blessed week day. For 10 years.
I think when we imagine ‘success,’ a lot of us imagine creating an amazing, break-through product. We think we’ll land a Fortune 500 client, win a high-profile case, write a New York Times best seller, or have our research published somewhere important.
And that might happen! And it’ll be super exciting if it does!
But sometimes you’re going to win the race because everybody else stops running.
Sometimes, you’re going to look around and realize that most of the people who started at the same time as you – the other podcasters, coaches, writers, designers – have thrown in the towel and moved on.
But you’re still there, with your years of experience and work, with your full portfolio and piles of testimonials, happy to take on the projects and clients that are waiting for you.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with moving on. With deciding that a path isn’t right for you and you’re ready to pursue something else.
But if you’re feeling tempted to give up because things aren’t progressing quite how you’d like, I think we could all use the reminder, that success often comes slowly and un-sexily. It comes one byline, one grant, one referral at a time.
Success isn’t always predicated on one, golden idea. In fact, it often comes from years of showing up, meeting deadlines, and doing what you said you were going to do while other people give up.
If you’re pressuring yourself to discover your One Perfect Thing, to become an overnight success, or make your first million – slow down.
If you keep showing up, success will probably show up for you. Eventually. 😉
I want to hear from you! Have you ever ‘won the race’ because everyone else dropped out? Have you ‘dropped out’ of any races you wish you’d stuck with?