We’ve all heard of the term overnight success. It’s a saying that society loves to throw around whenever someone seems to rise to the top suddenly. The truth is, though, that being an overnight success is just a carefully crafted narrative. Behind every ‘big break’ is usually years of dedication and hard work. What most people call overnight success is really just the result of good marketing.
If you’re approaching success with the mindset that it will just fall into your lap, it might be time to reevaluate. If you are always looking for shortcuts on the road to prosperity, it’s safe to say you will always come up short. There is no ‘simple trick,’ and it doesn’t just happen immediately. One of the worst things you can do is just sit around and wait for an opportunity to arise.
So, what does it take actually to reach success?
Debunking the Myth
At 29, I was laid off from a dead-end job and had no idea where I wanted my life to go. Now, I work my dream job for a Silicon Valley payments company. On the surface, it may seem like I went from zero to sixty. What I’ve learned, though, is that typically what you see on the surface is really just the tip of the iceberg.
Before I got my first tech job, I applied to jobs for months with no prospects. I couldn’t even get an interview for a retail job paying minimum wage. I finally hired a career coach and started taking some career assessments that pointed towards employment in the tech field. I ended up enrolling myself in a Java course at a community college. Mind you; I had already graduated from a top college with a triple major and yet still ended up going back to school.
After some time, I finally landed an entry-level position in tech. I knew going in that this wasn’t a title I wanted to hold forever and that I’d have to consistently take action to get where I wanted. I started working on weekends, attended every event and hackathon possible, and networked like crazy. All of this was exhausting but worth it. Now I’m at a point in my career where I can work from home and have more than quintupled my base salary!
My point is, success is generally the result of consistent, forward action. Over time, these actions compound, and what may seem to others like a giant leap forward is really just a natural progression.
How YOU Can Achieve Real Success
The truth is, the line to success is not linear and will look different for everyone. Building anything of quality takes time. Don’t wait around for opportunities to arise; go out and start creating them for yourself. I repeatedly talk about the importance of putting in the work, staying consistent, and practicing patience. From my experience, these are some of the most critical steps to take to reach success.
Step 1: Put in the Work
My bias towards taking action is what has helped me to excel in my career. When I was laid off from my dead-end job, I felt so defeated. But I realized that lying around feeling sorry for myself wasn’t going to help me. To live the life I wanted, I had to go out and fight for it. You have to do the work; there is no other way around it. People always want to find ways to do less work and make more money, but to reach that level, you need to put in the hours.
Step 2: Stay Consistent
You can’t just take action for a day and expect to start seeing results. You have to show up every day and be willing to work hard to see your desired outcome. Consistency is key. What helps me stay consistent without getting burned out is setting micro-goals for myself that are achievable. I also make sure to take breaks when necessary and surround myself with a strong support system.
Step 3: Practice Patience
Success takes time. Regardless of what society tells us, it truly takes time to achieve something tangible. In today’s world of social media, it’s easy to get sucked into the idea that overnight successes are real. It’s so common to want instant gratification and then feel extreme disappointment when that doesn’t happen. Believe me, I understand how frustrating it can be to practice patience when it feels like everyone around you is succeeding, but I promise that you will start to see results if you stick with it.
Our society is obsessed with the concept of ‘getting rich quick,’ which is so disconnected from reality. Don’t hold yourself back by believing that you need to have overnight success to succeed in the tech world. In my best-selling book, The DevelopHer Playbook, I deep dive into the five steps I took to land my dream job and create my best life and career in tech. It’s not a simple journey, but rather one filled with hard work and perseverance.