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Be Grateful Your Business Isn't an Overnight Success

How to become the person you need to be and see sustainable business growth.

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We have definitely become a microwave culture. We expect our online orders to show up within days or hours. We get news within minutes of an event happening. We can Google anything and get instant answers to our questions. And now some people even expect the success they desire to come in the time it takes to reheat a bagel! And when it doesn’t, they get cranky and wonder what’s wrong.

There’s nothing wrong. Success is not meant to be instant. 

I always laugh when I hear someone describe me as an "overnight success." When I tell them I’m not, they’ll say, “But you built a multi-million-dollar coaching business in under four years!” That’s true, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. I had to become the person who could successfully build that business first — and that took longer.

Related: 5 Inspiring Guys Who Prove Overnight Success Is BS

The cost of overnight success

What people don’t understand is that your outward success can’t come faster than your own personal and professional growth. If it does, it won’t be sustainable because you won’t be the kind of person who can deal with that success. In fact, instant success is more often a curse than a gift. Think of all those lottery winners who win billions of dollars by simply buying a ticket one day. According to the NY Daily News, 70% of those winners end up broke within seven years. Why? Because they hadn’t grown enough as an individual to be the kind of person who could handle the big windfall. 

For my “overnight” success, I spent years becoming the kind of person who could run the business I now have. I needed to build up the confidence that I had enough knowledge to share to be a great coach. I had to rub elbows with high-powered coaches until I felt worthy of doing what they were doing. I had to work on public speaking and training skills. I had to learn leadership skills to successfully mentor the team I needed for my business. I had to overcome my fears as I entered the business and started investing heavily in it.

If I hadn’t done all of that work, I might have stumbled into a few successes. But there’s no way my business would keep growing and be sustainable today. And I know I’d be stressed and totally out of balance in my life.

Instead, because I did that work, I can honestly say that I love my life. I work hard, but I rarely feel overwhelmed because I’ve grown along with my business. 

Related: The Myth of the 'Overnight Success' and How Brilliant Ideas Actually Emerge

Becoming the person you need to be

I love a quote from Henry David Thoreau that reads, "What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."

As I coach my students, I emphasize personal and professional growth as much as the nitty gritty of building their businesses because I know one cannot outpace the other. As I teach them how to do things like digital marketing, sales funnels and client retention, I also coach them on mindset, life balance and finding their purpose. In fact, many of them credit the personal growth work we do for much of the success they’re experiencing.

As an entrepreneur, you always want to be growing as an individual! If you aren’t, your business will either stagnate or fall apart. So, as you’re setting your business goals, set some goals for personal and professional growth as well. Find a coach or a mentor. Sign up for some seminars or trainings. Take some definite action toward your growth.

If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some areas of growth you might look into:

  • Interpersonal skills. This can include areas like basic communication, dealing with conflict or difficult situations or negotiation skills.
  • Leadership training. This could include things like better decision-making, learning how to effectively mentor and teach others, delegation skills, public speaking, learning how to assess risk or team-building skills.
  • Strengthening mindset. This might mean dealing with and releasing prior issues from a difficult childhood, building self-confidence, learning to meditate or releasing certain negative beliefs that hold you back.  
  • Life balance. This could be related to physical health and well-being (diet and exercise), building more positive relationships and friendships, exploring other interests that are beyond work and career and serving your community.

Be grateful if your business hasn’t become an overnight success. It’s giving you the time to grow into the person you need to be. And if your business has taken off like a rocket, now is the time to do what you need to do to become the person you need to be for it!

Related: Overnight Success Takes 10 Years

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