No one gets to the top unscathed, it just doesn’t work that way. People are only an “Overnight Success” after years of toiling in anonymity.
That musician that has a hot song right now, yeah, they didn’t pick up a guitar a week ago.
The college baseball prospect that signed a multi-million dollar deal with a Pro team didn’t swing a bat for the first time a month ago.
The CEO of company that got acquired by a competitor didn’t start that company six weeks ago
You have to understand the process of success, regardless of the chosen field or endeavor in which it takes place. The process is to get your ass handed to you, over and over, until you figure things out. This happens at each level of the thing you are pursuing, it doesn’t stop. There are going to be failures and losses and absolute belly flops along the way. But the people who can withstand this and keep going are the ones who get to eventually be an “Overnight Success” by hitting the bigtime. It is not an easy path, that I can assure you. But in the famous words of Tim Grover:
“If you think the price of Winning is High, wait ’til you get the bill from REGRET.”
Man, that hits home. I have worked really hard to not have much regret in my life. There are a few things that jump to mind of course, but luckily I think my list is shorter than most. I had a dream early on in life of becoming a Pro Racquetball Player, and I went headlong into that pursuit until I made it into the Top 20 in the World. Next, I wanted to be the best Collegiate Coach in the US, and I think I accomplished enough to get my name in that conversation. I wanted to be the best salesperson I could be, and put my company in the mix on a national level. Check. The woman I married is exactly who I pictured in my mind, and she is an amazing asset to my life. I waited 42 years for her, and I certainly don’t regret that wait for one moment. I wasn’t ready sooner, and she was working her way through a “starter marriage” anyway. The next target is to become a respected, well paid Public Speaker, and I am working on that as I write this.
Every one of those achievements has their own set of mental, physical and emotional scars to accompany the story. I became a Public Speaker after surviving a head on collision with a wrong way drunk driver. While the scar on the back on my hand is very small and the only physical reminder of that fateful morning in the dark, trust me when I tell you that the mental and emotional scars run deep. I was close to quitting my job a bunch of times before I got things figured out and established the right relationships to find success. Nothing worthwhile is easy, and you have to enter into a new challenge with this in mind. Brace yourself for things that are in essence trying to get you to quit. Success has a way of testing you over and over, before seemingly any reward comes your way, to see if you are worthy of what it is you seek.
There is a cost for everything you do. Sometimes the cost is not taking action and living with regret from that point forward. Another form of cost is to start something and quit half way through; you got the pain and a few scars, but stopped before the payoff occurred. Only if you stick around long enough, accumulate enough scars and experience, and then finally get the win you were looking for does it seem like it was all worth it. But…and this is a tough one to swallow…it was all worth it, either way. I thought I was going to be a college wrestler, but an injury in high school ended that. However, I became a Pro racquetball player because that dream ended with an injury that took me out of the sport of wrestling. If that had not occurred, I may have gone on to fulfill that dream, or maybe I would have found out I wasn’t good enough the wrestle at the next level. Either way, I learned a lot from that brief stint in life, and I moved on to another pursuit that took me much farther down the path.
The best piece of advice I can share with you in regards to this topic would be two things:
Choose your pursuits wisely. Make sure it is something that motivates you enough to endure all that will come your way.
Stick it out. Fight like the 3rd monkey trying to get on Noah’s Ark, and its starting to rain. Only when ALL options are exhausted and there is truly nothing left, then you can walk away knowing you gave it everything you had. You can live with that; this is not what regret is made of. Regret comes from giving in too soon, walking away with bullets left in the gun. Or of course, never trying in the first place… All of those will haunt you for the rest of your life.
Prepare yourself, mentally, physically, and emotionally, for the fight of your life. Hopefully you do not need that level of commitment very often. But if you are prepared for that kind of fight, you CAN dig that deep if needed. Resiliency is a learned skill; we can all take way more than we think, but few of us ever really find what the limit of our true capabilities are. Those deep waters are scary, but if you navigate your way through them you now have a sense of what you can do. And you certainly will have earned the right to be successful…
I wish you luck in your endeavors. Buckle up sunshine, its gonna be a bumpy ride, but it will be worth it in the end. I can attest to that.