Episode 213: There’s no such thing as an overnight success, with Stephen Woessner.
Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.
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Good Morning Onward Nation — I’m Stephen Woessner. Have you ever noticed how most people only pay attention to the final product of a successful business owner.
They say things like…“I can never be like them.” or “They got lucky.”
What most people don’t see is what the business owner overcame on their path to becoming successful.
All of the struggles.
All of the daily rejections. The heartaches. The betrayals. The rumors. The criticism.
Even the empty bank accounts.
And all of those lonely nights while they worked hard to make their vision become a reality.
You see, Onward Nation, the only difference between the one who quits, and the one who doesn’t, is that the successful owner showed up every day.
The successful owner worked hard every day.
They hustled every day.
They learned from a proven mentor every day. They worked hard to improve every day.
They did all this even though they felt like quitting every day. And eventually, they became who they are today…a successful business owner, Onward Nation.
All of this is a very powerful lesson that I learned from Patrick Bet-David, founder of PHP Agency, an insurance marketing organization, and is the host of the popular YouTube channel, ValueTainment.
Onward Nation, if you haven’t already subscribed to Patrick’s YouTube channel, I highly recommend it. Patrick is exceptional at delivering impactful education, success principles, and business lessons any business owner can apply immediately in order to move onward to that next level.
And during this solocast, we are going to dig deep into one of the fundamental – yet underlying principles that I just shared from Patrick. The principle is fundamental to success — but Onward Nation — it is also easy to miss, overlook, or to take for granted.
The principle is that there is no such thing as an overnight success. There isn’t. No matter what industry — no matter what sector — the companies that have achieved sustainable success reached their pinnacle after years and years of perfecting their craft.
So I am going to share some examples with you over the next several minutes to illustrate this powerful principle.
Because I think it is important to realize that success takes time. That success requires your full attention. That success requires failure, making adjustments, repositioning, trying again, failing again, reintroducing products, and maybe even being on the brink of collapse as was the case with Apple, before you finally “make it”.
I want you to rest easy today — and to celebrate the challenges and obstacles that are in your way right now. They are a gift — they are making you stronger — if you let them — they are forcing you to think differently — they are testing your commitment to your vital priorities, vital function, and your wherewithal.
Will you push forward — or will you quit, Onward Nation? My hope is that you will always push forward and never quit.
Back when I was a sophomore in high school, I decided that I wanted to play football. Now, truth be told, I didn’t know the first thing about football…literally…I didn’t even know the positions on the field. I knew zero plays…nothing. And to make matters worse, I was 6 feet tall and about 150 pounds, slow, lanky, without any skill at all.
In fact, I was so bad — and I am honestly not exaggerating at all — I was so bad, Onward Nation, that I actually sat on the bench during practice. As a young kid in high school, I thought my coaches were disrespecting me by not letting me practice.
Now that I am older — I can only imagine the coaches meetings — they probably went something like this. “Ahem, okay gentlemen, we need to make some adjustments here in practice…has anyone seen that Woessner kid, yeah, he’s really bad. He has no talent on the field. Let’s let him stay on the team but we need to keep him busy on the sidelines because he is so bad that he will get destroyed even in practice.”
Which was likely followed by lots of agreement and laughing. I distinctly remember talking with my dad one night when I felt like quitting because I was frustrating with my lack of opportunity — again — I didn’t realize the coaches were helping me, they weren’t trying to hold me back — they were actually ensuring I could move up just not in football — and my dad told me it would be okay if I quit.
And that took me back a little bit. Quit?
After the call, I thought long and hard about what he said — and I later decided that it was not okay if I quit.
Quitting was not okay — and even if I never played another down on the team — I would not quit. I would attend every practice — every game — and root on the guys who were much better than me.
But I would never quit. I wasn’t going to be successful in football but quitting to me felt like I would be given up on a lot more than just 10th grade football. So I finished the season no matter how embarrassed I was to be riding the pine bench.
I think about those lessons often because they still fuel me today, Onward Nation, and my hope is that the lessons fuel you, too. Don’t ever give up. Remain committed to your vital priorities — and eventually — you will succeed.
There is no overnight success — it takes persistence and tenacity over the long haul.
To that point, I encourage you to go back and relisten to my interview with Verne Harnish in episode 205 and listen carefully to how Verne introduces himself to you, Onward Nation.
Verne says this is his 34th year of doing just one thing — helpful companies scale up. His organizations and companies are devoted to this “one thing”…his books are dedicated to this “one thing” and even his family and friends are dedicated to supporting him be successful with this “one thing.”
The discussion with Verne is so compelling because he takes some time to dispel the overnight success myth by sharing some interesting data points and stories. One of those data points is that there are over 11,000 new companies launched every hour all over the world today.
Just think of that, Onward Nation…11,000 new companies an hour.
However, the vast majority of those companies will not be successful — they will lack the fortitude — the staying power to effectively scale their business. For example, Verne went on to share that of the 28 million businesses in the United States, about 24 million of the total are solopreneurs and will never scale up.
Most lack the resources — and I don’t mean just financial. Often times, as Verne shared, it is not a question of “how much do I need to scale?” but typically a question of who do I need to be in association with in order to scale up over the long haul.
Verne cited Apple and how the company had slowly moved along with their 25 year timeline — nearly collapsed — until Steve Jobs came back. At the time Jobs returned, they had 9,800 employees and were nearly broke.
And likely all of us know what happened following the iPod’s release in 2001 — but it didn’t succeed right away…in fact…the iPod floundered a bit for a couple of years.
But in 2003, it got some traction and now Apple has scaled to over 110,000 employees during the last 13 years. It would be very easy to forget about those first 25 years of trial, error, struggle, losing millions of dollars, nearly going broke, and then focusing on just one thing and doing it with excellence in the iPod — and then traction takes hold.
Success requires a disciplined effort over a long period of time.
Some people look at Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of Vaynermedia in New York City, as this guy who came out of nowhere to leap in front of the social media space and is now super popular with a massive following. Couldn’t be further from the truth — and Gary would be the first one to tell you. His story is one of grit, tenacity, outworking the competition, and playing to win for the long term.
When Gary launched Wine Library TV — his daily show — for about the first year, his audience was really small…almost discouragingly small…but Gary didn’t quit. Then year two…then year three…then year four…then year five, and then year six.
Six years, Onward Nation! Six years of producing a high-quality show of 20 to 30-minutes of engaging video content — every day — that’s what it took for Gary Vee to win.
Just think about that for a minute. The magnitude of content he produced. It is really easy to look at Vaynermedia and get impressed with the success — heck — 500 employees on Park Avenue in NYC — and that is darn impressive.
But, to me, because I have had an opportunity to be Gary’s guest at Vaynermedia, to go behind the green curtain to interview him, and to learn from him, I know that one of the things he is most proud of — and he should be — is all of the hard work, the struggle, the determination to make something out of nothing — he truly enjoys the journey to success — and he would be another one to tell you there are no shortcuts to success.
And just because someone gets paid $50,000 to deliver a speech today — like Gary does — there is all kinds of back story there — and it’s the back story that is so interesting.
Let’s take a look at the late Peter Drucker, arguably the godfather of modern day management…Verne Harnish shared with me during our interview that of Peter’s 39 groundbreaking books, only 13 of them were written before Peter’s 65th birthday. Peter wrote twice the number of books after he turned 65. What?
It takes a long time, Onward Nation, to collect, curate, and share the wisdom that is deep and impactful enough to matter and add value to a lot of people, like Peter did.
Or, how about Picasso?
Of his top 10 paintings — six of them were painted after he had turned 50. And four of the of 10 paintings were completed when Picasso was 51.
Again…it’s the long term commitment to your vital priorities and vital functions…perfecting your craft with years, and years, and years of disciplined effort.
I have mentioned vital priorities and vital functions a couple of times this morning — so if you want a refresher on terminology — just go back and listen to episode 203. I dedicated an entire solocast to the topic of the vitals in your business and the lessons I learned from one of my mentors, Darren Hardy.
So let’s move onto another example of long term success. It would be very easy to look at James Patterson, one of the most successful novelists in history, and think — wow — here’s a guy who has it made. How amazing to be that lucky — to just write all day — what a joy. Again, let’s go behind the green curtain.
Last week, I had an opportunity to interview the incomparable Linda Kaplan Thaler — oh my word, Onward Nation — Linda is brilliant. She was the creator of the AFLAC duck and so many ad campaigns that I know you will recognize when you hear our interview.
Cannot wait to share our discussion — we will air it as episode 226 on Monday, May 2nd — so stay tuned for that.
But during our conversation, Linda told me about how she used to work for James Patterson when James was the creative director of the agency where Linda worked. James and Linda worked together for 17 years and became great friends. As Linda shared with me, James did not become a great novelist by accident or luck. Instead, to perfect his craft, James would get up every morning at 4:00 and would write for four hours until 8:00 when he would leave his home for the agency.
He would then put in a full day — go home — and be in bed by 8:30 every night. And he rinsed and repeated this process for 21 years, Onward Nation. Staggering. 21 years!
Just think about how many times during those 21 years that he would have second guessed himself, called himself bat crazy, how much criticism he received from friends and family encouraging him to just quit and to give up on his dream, and so much more.
But he didn’t.
He remained committed to his vital priority — and after 21 years — he became the successful James Patterson we know today.
Or how about Henry Ford…he was 40 years old when he founded the Ford Motor Company with the help of friends, family, and several investors who collectively helped him raise $28,000 in capital in 1903.
And if you look through Mr. Ford’s timeline…you will see trials, tribulations, blood, sweat, tears, heartache, success, followed by disappointment, followed by triumph, followed by obstacles.
So, let’s put all of these stories and principles into context by remembering the excellent lesson taught to me by Cody Foster, founder of Advisors Excel and my guest on episode 81 of Onward Nation. Cody said to me, “Stephen, don’t compare someone else’s front-of-stage with your back-of-stage.”
Meaning…if you only look at someone’s front of stage — what you see in the public eye — you miss all of the struggles, the obstacles, the pain, the suffering, the courage, and their zig-zagged journey to where they are are now.
And the last example I want to leave you with is Napoleon Hill. If you have been listening to Onward Nation for a while now — you know I love Napoleon’s book, “Think & Grow Rich.” I have such high regard for this book — it is, in my opinion — the ultimate guide to achieving success.
But, most people don’t know the story behind the book’s success — and how the first edition, per se, was a great book but not well-received by the American public. Why? Several factors. First, it was published in 1928 — just one year before the Great Depression.
The American public was not looking for — or ready for — a success manuscript at that time. And second, the book was huge and it was under a different title. It was the 612-page “Law of Success” — wow. I own the book — it is sitting on my desk right now — and it is amazing.
It is essentially a more comprehensive version of “Think & Grow Rich.”
Smartly, Napoleon decided to revise and repackage the Laws of Success by trimming it down — making it more concise — and then publishing it as “Think & Grow Rich” in 1937, nearly 10 years later, following the Depression.
“Think & Grow Rich” then went on to sell 70 million copies worldwide. Again, no such thing as an overnight success.
So don’t give up, Onward Nation!
I hope you realize that the struggles you are facing — perhaps the abyss you are staring into right now — is all part of the master plan. You are more talented, more wonderful, more gifted, more incredible than you can possibly imagine. You are a child of the highest God and were blessed with an abundance of talent — so don’t quit — don’t give in — don’t stop. Keeping moving forward — success is there for you — just not overnight.
So with that…I want to thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.
However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine — I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.
And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation…good or bad…I always want your feedback. My direct email address is firstname.lastname@example.org — and yes — that is my actual Inbox. No fancy filters or filing system and I read and reply to every single email.
So please let me know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.
We will be back tomorrow with an incredible interview with Jordan Goodman, America’s Money Answers Man. You will not want to miss this discussion, Onward Nation!
Until then, onward with gusto!