Overnight Success: Years in the Making

Are you in a hurry for success? Do you see others enjoying success and wonder why they have it so easy? Maybe even a bit jealous? It is time to change your mindset.

Comparing your present situation to someone else's “overnight” success, sets up a false comparison. The person you compare yourself to started their journey some time ago. They made it this far through hard work, good decisions and maybe just a bit of luck. Instead of envy, choose to cheer those enjoying success and follow their lead to your own.

Please Email Me the PDF “Overnight Success”!


A good friend of mine's daughter, Lauren, is in high school and is becoming a solid golfer. In another year, she will be deciding which scholarship offers to accept as she heads off to college. It would be easy to watch her golf and say something like “golf is so easy for her“.

“It is having the
purpose, the focus
and discipline to
the things that
really matter”

The truth, however, is the exact opposite. She has worked hard for years to get where she is today. She is not starting at this point and is not lucky to be a naturally good golfer. In fact, she started golfing with her dad several years ago, who shared his love of the game. Through his vision, patience, investment, guidance and support, Lauren's opportunity is to become a scratch golfer.

Her family's support is not all Lauren needed. She added into the mix her competitiveness, personal discipline to practice when friends were either asleep or having fun, and the dedication to hone the skills necessary to push herself well beyond “average”.

Golf is a game of elation and distress. You can be sure that along the way there have been terrible shots, questioned club choices, competitive disappointments and a host of other letdowns that ordinary people would have allowed to stand in their way or to become an excuse for not rising above average. Those were temporary setbacks and learning opportunities that contribute to Lauren's current level of success and provide the foundation for her continuing pursuit of golfing excellence.

Lauren Golf III


The picture above is of an early summer morning. Practicing alone, when your feet get soaked from the dew or when fog obscures the fairway, isn't something ordinary people do; it is what future champions do.

Lauren's early morning picture represents the drive, passion, and dedication it has taken Lauren to get where she is today. That same discipline will move her well beyond this point in the coming years. She is no overnight success. Instead, she is an early morning, all day, into the evening example of the effort it takes to start the journey, build competency and seek excellence.

Pursuing Success

I'll share two quotes on success that have resonated with me lately. Each embodies the journey, not the achievement, and so defines success in a way that Lauren realizes it one chip shot at a time and in a way we can all attain it.

Brick Wall“Success doesn't come overnight, it is really the accumulation of a lot of little things that happen over time. It will come out and surprise you. You tend to focus on the big definitions of success and you tend to lose sight of the little building blocks of success. And so, understand that success is a journey, not a destination. Embrace your successes along the way even though they may be little. Focus on the small accomplishments and build upon them.”

Troy Broussard, Entrepreneur on Fire podcast episode 291

Carey Lohrenz“It is having the purpose, the focus and discipline to the things that really matter. You start off with very, very small steps and stay committed when things get crappy. This is where people bail. It's too hard, too much work, or [you say] “I'm never going to make it.” It is failing and getting up, failing and getting up, failing and getting up. It's in those successes that you understand that when you shrink your fear of failure, that you increase your trust in your ability to handle anything that comes at you”

Carey Lohrenz, our nation's first female combat fighter pilot, Human Business Way podcast episode #97


Embracing Your Success

Next time you find yourself tempted to say “they have it easy“, stop making excuses and celebrate their hard work and success.

Instead of comparing yourself to others' overnight success, embrace what matters to you and your successes, building on your experiences to reach your goals. As Troy Broussard says, “Focus on the small accomplishments and build upon them.

Stay the course, especially when obstacles and challenges seem to be your norm. You will emerge on the other side of difficulty knowing, as Carey Lohrenz says, you can “trust in your ability to handle anything that comes at you.”

At that point, you will likely be someone else's overnight success and, like Lauren, you will know the dedication that success demands.

Rick Coplin







Please Email Me the PDF “Overnight Success”!


Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net. “Brick Wall” by Lavoview.
Image of Carey Lohrenz from http://careylohrenz.com/



I work alongside emerging companies on business formation, commercialization strategies, and capital planning. My passion is to find, support, mentor, coach, incubate, & fund start-ups engaged in innovative technology businesses.

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  • Jennifer Slater

    Rick, I can’t tell you the impact this article made on me this morning. I’m sitting here the day before Thanksgiving knowing I won’t see my kids tomorrow because I can’t afford the gas money to get to Boston, only because I’ve invested every dime to my name for the past couple years in my vision (even turned down a lucrative job offer to return to a 9-5 weekly-paycheck position) all because of my determination and belief in my dream. So, in a moment of feeling sorry for myself this morning and wondering if I made the right decision, I did a search for “she was an overnight success” and came across your article.

    After surviving a scary experience of my own, I wrote a book that teaches parents what to do if they experience an extremely fast labor and have to deliver their own baby before they can reach the hospital. To my surprise parents won’t buy the book because they don’t want to hear about anything bad that might happen, so I turned my expertise toward speaking. However many people won’t hire me as a speaker because they don’t appreciate how often these “en route” deliveries actually occur.

    Like Lauren and Cary’s stories, which I found so inspiring, I believe in what I’m doing, and I am determined to make parents aware of this important information if it kills me! In a recent middle-of-the-night brainstorm it dawned on me to partner with a huge company that shares the same audience and believe it or not might have finally opened the right door. Cross your fingers for me, but I am at the moment being considered as a spokesperson for an international stem cell banking organization because they like the idea of having their information shared by a published author of a parenting book, appreciate the fact that I can get my foot in the door of universities and other places they typically wouldn’t speak at, and appreciate their information being delivered by someone expectant parents can relate to: another mom.

    Whether this turns out to be the step that makes the difference or not, I can honestly look back and see that my first few goals would not have reached the number of people that this opportunity could, and had those earlier goals been successful, there’s a good chance I would have never continued pursuing a grander goal.

    You don’t have to print this, I guess it was cathartic just sharing this, but I also wanted to let you know that an article you apparently put a lot of time and research into really made a difference for someone who needed to hear what you had to say.

    Thanks for the inspiration, have a good Thanksgiving.

    Jennifer Slater
    Author, “En Route Baby: What To Do
    When Baby Arrives Before Help Does”

    • RickCoplin


      What a great story you have and are currently living! I love the picture on your site of your “en route baby” today (http://www.enroutebaby.com/About.html).

      You are right about parents not wanting to think about a less than perfect scenario. That could be a great opportunity to develop a series of short videos about what to do during an emergency delivery; something that could be found in that moment and be useful to frightened parents. I think you could own that space easily; you are already positioned as an expert with your book (it got you into the door at the stem cell banking organization & will open other doors too). Definitely something to consider.

      With your expertise, you should add a blog component to our site; it could become your next book.

      One of my mentors, Michael Hyatt http://michaelhyatt.com/welcome frequently says that people often give up when it seems darkest, but that success is really just around corner. Giving up cuts short the experience and potential of reaching your goals, so I say keep pursuing your passion and celebrate the smallest of successes along the way.

      Your story of your desire and struggle to help others is similar to the experiences of several entrepreneurs I met at the Launch Conference http://www.launchconference.tv in September. Know you are not alone, even though it may feel like it.

      I hope this next step with the stem cell organization works out; let me know!

      Thank you for your kind comments; you have made my day!