Monday, 16 June 2014

Overnight Success Can Take A Really Long Time



Overnight success-its rarely the case
We live in a society that is obsessed with youth. We love nothing more than to hear stories of novelists who have a best selling book and three movie deal by the age of twenty one, models who are squeezing in costume fittings in Paris along with their GCSE revision or entrepreneurs who have made their first million before they are thirty.
The problem with all this worshipping at the shrine of the unwrinkled is that if you haven't quite got your shit together or despite working really hard have yet to be recognised for your talent  it can make you feel like one big failure.
Our preoccupation with age can also make us feel embarrassed about trying new things and starting again because we are supposed to have all the answers once we have reached certain age milestones.
 The suggestion that you are a bit feckless or inconsistent can often be levelled and this can be incredibly discouraging.
Well stop right now. I'm here to tell you that its not only fine to keep plugging away at a dream even if the response so far has been luke warm its actually smart. Because most overnight success stories have been a really long time in the planning.
Don't let comparisons steal your joy
When you launch a business or start a career its only human to expect you will be at the top of the tree within a year or so.When this doesn't happen its easy to think you just haven't got what it takes but often perseverance and self belief are really all that's needed.
Its also really important not to endlessly compare your progress with others. Comparison really can be the thief of joy and its also pointless. Your measure of success and what you require to feel that you have "made it" should be very specific to you. For some its the big ticket, the two page spread in the Times magazine or winning the Booker prize, for others its being able to support yourself financially (however modestly) on the back of your enterprise. Set your own bar and goals and if possible don't put a time limit on them-and NEVER put an age limit on them.Its not flighty or inconsistent to not have made a success of yourself by  a certain age and its definitely not a sign of failure to only start embarking on a new career in your thirties, forties and so on. I read somewhere that our cells are gradually rejuvenated so every seven years we have totally new ones. This could be an urban myth (any doctors out there please let me know) but this idea tickles me and basically if our bodies are all new and shiny every seven years why shouldn't our dreams and ambitions change too.

And if you don't believe me here are some of my favourite  "overnight success stories" 


JK Rowling was 34 when she published Harry Potter



Mother Teresa set up her missionaries of charity at 40



Stan Lee, created  Spider-Man at  43 

Alan Rickman Got His First Movie Role at 46



Charles Darwin published origin of the species at 50




Frank McCourt wrote Angela Ashes at 66



And if you haven't even decided what your dream is here is  a quote from the amazing Everybody's free (to wear sunscreen) by Baz Lurmann

"Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life.
The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives
Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't"


  For more tips and advice visit my Work page





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5 comments:

  1. I LOVE this. Had a wobbly week last week with lots of self doubt regarding my new business and wondered if I was doing the right thing. Back on track now but being careful not to compare myself to others as I'd end up running a business that doesn't reflect me, my ethos etc as I'd be trying to emulate someone else. I'm being patient and I know it will take time to build. Like you say it's never overnight. Just what I needed thank you Betty. Ps shame I'm not in the area as you might have needed me to walk Mr Truffles! Would love him to be one of my clients!xx

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  2. Thank you for this! I definitely see the age factor even in the blogging world and it sorta gets on my nerves. I mean bc someone is older doesn't mean they aren't viable, knowledgeable, stylish, etc. And I also see that people assume bc you are a mother you couldn't know anything about anything aside from diapers and homework. NOT true at all. My journey in the vintage world has had a lot of ups and downs but I keep trucking along but it does take time to make dreams come and to find success. It is worth it though! xox

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  3. I loved this, I "lost" most of my 20's to disability and have been feeling like a failure due to reaching the age of 30 without accomplishing anything major. But you are totally right, it's far from over.

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  4. Thank you Thank you Thank you! You have a knack for writing an article exactly when I need it! Xxx

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  5. Thank you! I was feeling down about my so-far failed blogging attempt, you've encouraged me to keep trying. Bless you!

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