“It takes 20 years to become an overnight success.” ~Eddie Cantor
Last week, I had a conversation that I have had many times with many clients.
I was talking to one of my coaching clients during our coaching call, and she was telling me that she wants to quit her fulltime corporate job and work online in the fitness space. Awesome. I love it. This is what I help many clients do.
She started her blog and social media platforms about 5 months ago, has been semi-consistent with her content creation (would like to spend more time on it, of course). She asked me on our call, “When do you think I’ll be able to quit my job?” A great question and of course, when we want things to be different, we want to know the answers, we want to be able to see that light at the end of the tunnel. We want to control the journey every step of the way, and know what exactly is going to happen and when.
Unfortunately, that’s actually impossible because the short answer is … I don’t know when she’ll be able to quit her job. I could never know that for certain, and neither could she. Exact outcomes are unknowable. Results are never completely controllable.
The long answer? You’ll know when you can quit your job, you’ll “be there” depending on what you decide to do … TODAY.
I’m about to tell you something you already know. And I’m telling you this because we keep forgetting it. Ready?
Whether it’s building a business, building a stronger body, building a relationship, the answer to what to do is always the same. The secret sauce is always the same. The what-should-I-do is always the same: consistent effort TODAY. Show up TODAY.
You show up. Every day. You put in that bit of effort every single day.
This is what kills me about the health and fitness industry. The promise of easy. The perpetuation that there is some kind of shortcut or workaround that allows you to get instantaneous results with zero effort. That’s completely untrue (and we know it!), and yet so much of the marketing that goes on centers around quick fixes and magic gadgets and pills. In fact, I’m borderline angry about it because even though marketing has become sensational, we are still believing it! We still want something for nothing.
Here’s where I have to get a little tough love-y, because I feel so strongly about it. Managing expectations on all fronts—weight loss, physique gains, business success, networking, relationship building, whatever—is going on all the time. We are all doing it. But my experience is that the people who are in it mentally for the long haul are the ones who succeed. It’s those who realize it takes a long time to build anything worthwhile that are the ones making it look easy. It’s those people who persevere when everyone else is looking for shortcuts.
I’ve always been very transparent in the telling of my story from burntout cardio junkie to balanced body. It took me THREE years (and to be honest, Im still working on it!).
Same with my business. It took me years from the time I first moved to San Francisco to start my coaching practice to where my business is today.
Three years later, 5 years later, 2.5 years later … things are a bit easier for me now. Because easy is earned. They’re not easy because I was lucky or because I caught a break, but because I simply started on day 1. I got up and asked, “What are the couple things I need to do today?” And I did them. And then I woke up on day 2, and did them again. Day 3, same thing. Rinse and repeat. I made conscious choices along the way, doing a little bit at a time to get to the next level. It’s not a glamorous journey and there’s nothing sexy about it. One of the reasons I love the quote from Eddie Cantor at the top of this lecture:
I don’t know about you, but when I think about having to do a million things to be effective, I don’t do any of them! It’s completely overwhelming. There’s nothing less motivating than focusing on a potential outcome years from now. It makes us want to just give up.
But here’s the thing: we can never control outcomes, you can never know exactly what it’s all going to look like in a month, a year, 5 years. You’ll know what “in a month” will look like … in a month!
So wasting time and energy trying to pinpoint exactly what it’s all going to look like when we are done is futile. And I think it’s precisely the wish for ALL THE RESULTS RIGHT THIS SECOND that keeps us from making real progress. Progress, lessons, success don’t happen in leaps in bounds, they happen in the details.
And you’ll wake up 3 years from now with that business, that body, that mindset, that relationship, that thing you wanted way back when.
Results happen when you are doing your thing day in and day out. Grinding. You only ever have control over what you choose to do today. You don’t get defined results within a specific time period or because you deem it so.
Goals are all fine and well, but in my experience, the people who are the most successful in building anything are the ones whose only goal is to immerse themselves in the process. They do it because it’s just what they do. Every single day. And the idea of not doing it, regardless of outcomes, is way worse.
Successful people have grit. They persevere. They hone resiliency. They are tenacious. They don’t stress so much about the direction they’re going so long as they are moving. And that’s scary, right? Because what if we mess up? What if we do the wrong thing? What if we fail? What if we make a mistake?
But that’s exactly the point. When you are tenacious, you will mess up. You will do the wrong thing, you will fail and you make a lot of mistakes. But that’s the journey. That’s precisely why you will eventually be successful. Move forwards, backwards, sideways, do it all, so that eventually you’ll learn it all. You have the experience. You get the wins, you get the losses, you get the tough lessons and you get the good stuff.
I thought this an important lecture to include in our Strong Body Beautiful program because I see so many clients struggle with the desire to see results right away. To know the specific timeline of when they will achieve their outcomes. But growth, change, and progress doesn't work that way. Please remember this. Fall in love with the process and you will get there. And you’ll know you’ve really arrived when arrival is no longer the goal.