The Day Before Overnight Success


A Critical Doer understands time; long and short view 

“The dictionary is the only place success comes before work.”

Vince Lombardi 


Did you ever wonder what happened the day before someone achieved overnight success?  It sounds intriguing and mysterious…but it’s not.

I learned the answer many years ago when country singer Lee Ann Womack first gained notoriety.  I was driving one day and listened to an interview she was giving on the radio when the moderator asked her how it felt now that she was an overnight success.  In one of the most profound answers I’ve ever heard, Ms. Womack said plainly “the better story is the 10 years of struggle that preceded my overnight success.”  Through her narrative, she showed clearly that she was not an overnight success…rather, her success was the product of 10 years of learning and along the way overcoming numerous challenges and failures.

Ms. Womack’s story highlights that there is really no such thing as overnight success.  Just because you didn’t see the struggle doesn’t/t mean it wasn’t happening.  Along the path to success, there are many challenges that will put you to the test.  Thomas Edison, another example of perseverance, even remarked that “many of life’s greatest failures occur when someone quit not knowing how close they were to success.”  Here are some points you should consider as you prepare yourself for the long, hard journey to overnight success.

  1. Spiritual preparation. Whether it’s through the practice of faith or some other system of thought that gives your life meaning and purpose, spiritual preparation is the key to looking struggle right in the eye and saying “I’ll go one more day”…and continuing to say “one more day” for as long as it takes to succeed.  Take this seriously Critical Doers…if you haven’t been tested and truly understand fighting back from setback, spend time preparing yourself for the inevitable before your response to challenge changes from :one more day” to “I quit.”
  2. Financial preparation. A key part of fighting on past challenge is being able to pay the bills.  If you haven’t thought through and planned for how you’re going to meet your obligations under a variety of contingencies, get a plan and get some cash so you’re financially able as well as spiritually willing.
  3. Physical preparation. The stress of a great undertaking can take a physical toll on your body.  If you’re not at a good state of wellness through a combination of fitness and nutrition, your body can convince you to quit when a little more stamina could fulfill a dream.
  4. Mental preparation. If you’re not open to learning from others and being a lifelong student, success may never come.  Learn what you can from others in
  5. similar endeavors, read, and most importantly accept that you’re starting a new venture because you have a dream…not all the answers.

Overnight success is for headlines, but to be a Critical Doer you must appreciate the reality that success is most likely a long hard journey.  Invest in the preparation…spiritual, financial, physical, mental…to ensure you can stay in the fight as long as it takes to achieve your moment of overnight success.  It’s what a Critical Doer would…do!


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Updated: June 11, 2015 — 1:00 pm

1 Comment

  1. A journey of a thousand miles is taken — one step at a time — never losing focus on where you are headed – all while overcoming a whole host of things that could (“could” not “will” and not “must”) convince you to quit before reaching the destination.

    Do you know or could you know all the challenges before you start? Probably not.

    But you could start with the vision that despite the obstacles you will reach the destination.

    And just so happens you will get closer and closer until you take that last step and “appear at your destination — overnight!”

    Keep focused and work through the setbacks. When you get there you will be well prepared and have earned it.

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