Embracing the Struggles to Success

” Life’s a climb but the view is great “

– Unknown

Our definitions of success may be widely varied but I believe that all of us – in one way or other – desperately want it. Though most of us recognize that lasting success takes immense investment of time, effort, persistence and sacrifice, at a day and age where instant gratification and fame is constantly on the spotlight , we often find ourselves secretly wishing for to stumble upon success – or for success to magically fall into our lap.

The truth is though there are those few individuals who are the rare exceptions, most of the individuals who we come to believe as “overnight successes” are anything but. In case you’re thinking that most (financially) successful people were handed their wealth and success on a silver platter – you’d be interested to know that over 2/3 of the world’s current billionaires are actually self-made.

Though it doesn’t always seem that way, the road to success is a marathon, not a sprint. Those who have made it to the top of the heap – in any industry – spent years, if not decades, getting themselves there.  As Vince Lombardi, a famed American Football coach so eloquently said “The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there”.

Just to give you a great example – Jan Koum, who gained instant attention (and a billionaire status) in the media after selling the instant messaging service app WhatsApp he had co-created with his business partner, Brian Acton,  grew up as an immigrant teenager from Ukraine who lived on food stamps. Years prior to their $19 billion deal with Facebook,  Koum and Acton hustled and worked out of coffee shops and their homes to develop WhatsApp. Thanks to his humble beginnings, he had cultivated the strong work ethic that eventually lead him to success. 

The next time you’re tempted to give in to the iceberg illusion* and label someone as an ‘overnight’ success, why not take a look closer look?  Chances are, their path to success was not as nearly as easy and breezy as you’ve been lead to believe.

Whenever the level of success you dream of seems light years away remind yourself that successful people are often celebrated in public for what they’ve practiced for years in private. If our goal is to achieve lasting success, we must accept that there is no magic elevator that will instantly take us there. Whether we like it or not, we must take the stairs.

More importantly, remember to embrace the often long and winded journey because it’s what you learn while you struggle to climb your mountain that will develop your resilience, grit and tenacity (amongst others) – and these characters are truly priceless.

With that said, I’ll leave you with a beautiful excerpt from a leadership coach, Brad Gast, that will hopefully inspire you to keep your eye on the prize and step closer to your goal(s). No matter what life throws at you along the way, keep believing in yourself and keep moving forward!

No matter what happens, no matter how far you seem to be away from where you want to be, never stop believing that you will somehow make it. Have an unrelenting belief that things will work out, that long road has a purpose, that the things that you desire may not happen today, but they WILL happen. Continue to persist and persevere!“.

*The Iceberg Illusion – Success: what we often don’t see 

Iceberg Illusion

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