Moving Nevada Forward

in support of higher education


Become an Overnight Success


Do you really believe there is such a thing?

Personally, I like the saying…

It takes twenty years to become an overnight success.”

Eddie Cantor

We often hear about companies or individuals becoming an overnight success, but there is usually more to the story if you dig a little deeper.

Mozart started writing music at age six, however much of his masterwork was not composed until he was 21.

Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, but it didn’t join the Fortune 500 list until 2012.

Apple Inc., started in 1976 and spent many years with rocky sales and a low market share before Steve Jobs returned to the company and became CEO in 1997.  It wasn’t until the introduction of the iPod in 2001 that Apple really started to become what seemed like overnight success.  In 2012, it was the largest publicly traded corporation in the world.  It took 25 years to reach this level of success.

The lead developer of Gmail, Paul Buchheit notes that the success of Gmail was a long time coming.  They started working on it in 2001, and most everyone disliked it.  Even after it was launched insiders were predicting its doom.  Today there is over 400 million active Gmail users and growing.

Even Selena Gomez  had to start somewhere by making her debut on Barney and Friends in 2002.  She didn’t have her first top 10 hit until 2013.

The truth is it takes years to become an overnight success.

Most elite performers follow a process.  In John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership:

1. Success is like building wealth, it doesn’t happen overnight.  It is created by a steady, day-by-day long term effort.  It takes time to build momentum.

2. Great leaders continually invest in their own self-development.  It’s a life long process that helps you grow and develop.  Many of today’s great leaders have been working on becoming  leader for years.  Maxwell says at 51 he was still waiting, but had been working on it for 30 years.

3. Overnight success is the result of self-discipline, perseverance, and momentum built up over time.  Everyone has to start out as a beginner before they become an expert.  You may not have the knowledge, skills, or abilities in the beginning, but developing a consistent habit of preparation results in greatness overtime.

There really is no such thing as an overnight success.  It is rare.  The mere notion of an overnight success can be misleading,  discouraging and demotivating to most people.  If you are starting something new, you may be a lucky one hit wonder, but you should expect a long journey and hard work along the way.

Don’t give up the dream, just realize that time, preparation, perseverance, positivity are key to your long-term success.

What’s Your Story?  How long did it take you to become an overnight success?


Leave a comment

Welcome to the Century of Women

NBC News Anchor Tom Brokaw.

NBC News Anchor Tom Brokaw. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am on my way to the 2013 SHRM national conference.  Last summer Tom Brokaw presented at the closing session of the SHRM conference. He stunned the audience with his controversial statement about it being the Century of Women. He wrote for a blog called, Lean In based on a book written by Facebook CEO, Sheryl Sandberg.  She encourages women not to leave before you leave. Don’t lean back, rather lean in. She writes a truly equal world would be where women ran half of our country and men ran half of our homes. Currently there are only 21 women CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies.

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 28JAN11 - Sheryl Sandberg, ...

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 28JAN11 – Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook, USA; Young Global Leader are captured during the session ‘Handling Hyper-connectivity’ at the Annual Meeting 2011 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 28, 2011. Copyright by World Economic Forum by Jolanda Flubacher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brokaw writes, “as the challenges of the 21st century demand more from each of us shouldn’t we be thinking as much about how to free up more women for the common good as we do about immigration, entitlement reform, and debt reduction?” He appeared on the NBC today show as a father of three daughters, adding his voice to the debate about women in the workplace and the home, saying women have never made “as many gains in the history of mankind” as they are making now, but “we have a long way to go around the world.”

When I moved to Nevada ten years ago, I had a female boss warn me that Nevada is still a “good ol’ boy State”. While I think there might be some truth to this statement, I believe Nevada has made great strides just like the rest of the world. It is fair to say Nevada has exceeded my expectation in almost every way.

However I would say I agree with Tom, we have a long way to go, and Nevadans should listen closely and be thinking about how to free up women for the common good to help move Nevada forward.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?