Yesterday two things happened that were unrelated and yet resonated with each other perfectly. I love it when things like that happen. Firstly, I heard the news about Beryl Renwick and Betty Smith, the wonderful radio presenters who have become the oldest winners of a prestigious Sony Award for Best Entertainment Programme at the ages of 86 and 90. And secondly, I interviewed Tom Butler-Bowdon, author of ‘Never Too Late To Be Great – The Power of Thinking Long’ for our ‘Way to Success’ CD of the month.
And I want to say HURRAY to Tom for pointing out the one thing that most other ‘success’ literature avoids – the passage of time and it’s relationship to success in business, in life. Of course it is now well documented that excellence is generally achieved after 10,000 hours which roughly equates to 10 years, but this is different. This is different because for those of us in our mid forties and up a slight panic hits us every now and then about what we ‘should’ have achieved by now, what our business ‘should’ be earning, what could be different if……
We are surrounded by marketing messages about speed, about how you can go from zero to £1 million in a year by doing seemingly not very much and it can make us feel inadequate, unable to do the same and what should be a motivating message ends up actually doing the opposite. We start thinking short term and wondering what we can do right now – can we do what they are doing? What should we stop doing? Perhaps we should do something completely different?
Don’t get me wrong; we are all for speed, we are completely in favour of studying success and taking lessons from whomever and wherever we can but we need to remember this: businesses are not built overnight – yes, not even Google or Facebook – and what we need to study is the path of the person on their way to success. Everyone starts small and it is useful to remember this on your way to building the business that you really want.
And what you can guarantee is that on the way to their success, they worked very very hard to get there; that they experienced set backs, failure and times when they wondered what they were doing. But what you can also guarantee is that every time they got knocked down, they got up and kept going, in the relentless pursuit of their goals even when they felt like progress was slow. Growth is exponential; at first it can seem SO slow that you think it will never happen – unfortunately, that is the time that most people give up. But keep going through it and then you will reap the rewards of the early years. So please, get clear on your long term dream and keep focused on it so that short term set backs don’t knock you off course. Anthony Robbins observes that people generally overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade. Does that resonate with you? Get in the long game, build a business that will last and you will reap the rewards in time. Just ask Jeff Bezos!