8 Secrets to Achieving Overnight Success

Now that I’ve gotten your attention with that scintillating headline, please allow me to burst your bubble.

The first secret is that becoming an overnight success will require years of hard work, perhaps slugging away in the wee hours of the night while your spouse and kids are sound asleep.

That’s right: success is not what it’s made out to be in the blockbuster movies. The next superstar singer is no longer discovered while riding public transportation. Becoming an Internet sensation is a thousand times harder now that the rest of the world has caught on to the power of You Tube.

And if you think your blog or website will spread like wildfire because of your heart-wrenching bi-weekly posts, think again. There are now hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs cropping up on the Web every day, making it more and more difficult for your words to earn high rankings on Google.

I know there are people out there who will argue otherwise — they will insist that success can be had by those who want it the most. And, in part, they’re right. But that’s only part of the story. 

The truth is (and I aim to only tell you the truth) not everyone will achieve an illustrious career in just a matter of days, weeks or months.

As it is, it takes years of dedication, hard work, and personal and professional growth to achieve success.

Consider this:

Tiger Woods started playing golf at an age when most kids don’t even know how to tie their own shoes. Beyonce started performing publicly as a pre-teen. Oprah Winfrey didn’t achieve her acclaimed status until well into her career. And most blogging sensations who are making millions online like Darren Rowse said they got their start on the Internet long before the average Joe even thought about the World Wide Web as a “marketplace.”

That said, it doesn’t mean success is out of reach for regular folks like you and me. Like I mentioned earlier, if you’re willing to invest the time and money into the tools, knowledge, and expertise needed to reach your desired destination, then you will certainly get there.

And I should note that success for you might look very different from my idea of success. And, I would argue, that perhaps we could all benefit from a filter when it comes to defining success in our lives.

You see, professionals too often fall into the trap of comparing their careers and lives with that of others. That’s a problem. Because when you use other people’s lives as a yardstick, your accomplishments might always appear to fall short. And that’s not because they actually do, it’s because you don’t have the full picture of the other person’s life to compare with.

For instance, it might appear that your colleague or old college buddy has got it goin’ on with her flashy car and designer purse. But what you don’t see is that her home life is in disarray, and she’s racking her brain trying to fit in more work into an already cramped schedule — all in the name of climbing the corporate ladder.

That’s certainly no reason to turn your nose up to her situation. It’s only to remind you that comparisons can never truly be credited because they’re too often founded on what’s perceived rather than what’s real.

I did promise you eight secrets to achieve overnight success, and I intend to fulfill my promise. So, here goes …

8 Secrets to Achieving Overnight Success
  1. Redefine your definition of success – Consider completing that assignment, or leave your work at the office rather than taking it home as success.
  2. Be content with what you already have — While you may not have the big house on the hill or live in a gated community (at least not now), you can at least say you have a roof over your head and a hot meal to come home to. That, my friend, is success.
  3. Donate money, clothes, or food to someone in need – There’s no quicker way to realize you’re successful than to give a hand to a homeless person or to the family down the street whose spouse just lost their job.
  4. Audit your accomplishments – You earn a promotion or degree, or land a new job, and that warm feeling can quickly fade. Take some time to write down your major accomplishments in the past 5 years. You’d be surprised at how much you’ve accomplished in just a short amount of time.
  5. Learn something new — Read a chapter in a book that teaches you something new about your industry. Finish your homework for class the next day. Acquiring new knowledge is empowering and it trains your brain to think in new terms.
  6. Take a break — It’s easy to get so busy chasing success that you don’t have time to embrace the success you’ve already achieved. Take a step back and allow your joy to come from the journey, not in a distant destination.
  7. Reassess Your Values — Ask yourself what it means to achieve success. Why must you achieve success so quickly? If acquiring new things, more money, or recognition is the goal, then consider how you can redesign your life (and your thinking) to live fruitfully without having to acquire such things.
  8. Remember the first secret: Achieving success takes time. Don’t drive yourself into a grave trying to reach a goal. Life’s way too short. Persistent and consistent efforts over time will get you to where you want to be. Be patient with yourself.