The Myth Of Overnight Success


Success Comes From Hard Work & Preparation

One of my favorite books when I began my journey to improve my personal leadership development was “Diamonds In The Rough”, by Barry J Farber. I recently reviewed my notes from this book and have decided to share them with you periodically. The following are my notes from chapter 2: “The Myth of Overnight Success”:


The Myth of Overnight Success

  1. Being successful is hard in many ways; if it wasn’t hard, everybody would do it. When we look at successful people, we see the result of their blood, sweat, and tears – we don’t usually see the tremendous effort that went on before.
  2. Ordinary people expending extra ordinary effort can be whatever they want to be.
  3. There is only one sure-fire antidote for depression and that is action – meet challenges head on!
  4. Hustle + Confidence + Consistency + Competence = Success
    1. Hustle: give that extra 10% to go beyond what is expected of you.
    2. Confidence: the closer you are to your goal, the better you feel about yourself; the stronger you get and more likely to repeat successes.
    3. Consistency: practiced and repeated performance — which produces consistency of performance.
    4. Competence: confidence and consistency often lead to the discovery of abilities that we didn’t know that we had.
  5. “The secret of success is constancy to purpose” – Ben Disraeli
  6. Preparation is one of the cornerstones of any successful endeavor. Lack of preparation causes a lack of confidence
  7. Tips for getting ahead:
    1. Learn to analyze well: do research!
    2. Don’t be afraid to act!!
    3. Be a team player: give your employer allegiance & support. If you are frustrated and dissatisfied, go somewhere else.
    5. Don’t let success go to your head.
  8. Come early, stay late, work hard, play by the rules, and stay physically fit.
  9. Have the courage to stick with your goals and ideas, even if they don’t always pan out.
  10. Most people who don’t achieve as much as they want in life don’t fall short because of lack of ability; but because they gave up too soon!
  11. Give 100% all the time. Ask yourself after every endeavor: “Did I give my best?” Remember William H Danforth’s motto: “To be our own selves; at our very best at all time. Knowing you put in your best at work allows you the guilt-free pleasure of enjoying your leisure time.


  1. Improve everyday: Be yourself & at your very best in everything you do. After every task, ask yourself: “Can I do better?” Do all the little extras you’d rather not do. There’s one thing that everyone has in common: “There’s always room for improvement….”
  2. THINK: Most people don’t succeed because they don’t think. Sit down with a notepad and write down your goals & ideas. Come up with ways that you can improve the things you’re doing now, and ways you can work more efficiently in the future.

Seek Positive Role Models

Coach O (L) & Coach K. I have studied his leadership for many years and had the honor to meet him and study up close during a weekend in 2003. Don't let anything stop you!

In his blog on December, 2008, Brian Tracy said, “When I began searching for the secrets of success many years ago, I discovered an interesting principle: success leaves tracks. A wise man who had studied success for more than 50 years concluded that the greatest success principle of all was, “learn from the experts.”


I recently reviewed a book I read years ago, “Diamonds In The Rough”, by Barry J. Farber. I suggest that you do that, by the way–review a book that  you’ve read before because you will be in a different place in your leadership development (or you SHOULD be) and you will “see” new things that you missed before!

Anyway, one of my favorite chapters in Farber’s book is chapter 4: “Seeking Out Positive Role Models.” It motivated me to reach out to certain leaders I admired and their response has greatly enhanced my pursuit to know the “Mindset Of A Leader”! Here is a summary of the chapter:


  1. Make careful choices about who you wish to follow and who you are associated with.
  2. A role model is not always someone that you meet. You can have what I call “distance role models” that you study by reading books and articles about them, or speaking to people who work for them. (this one added by Coach O 🙂 )
  3. Surround yourself with positive models of success. Positive thinking leads you in the direction of your goals.
  4. Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open. Many people around us are willing to teach — if we are willing to learn. Listen to all advice and carefully evaluate it!
  5. Expose yourself to a variety of situations. Network constantly. You never know who you will meet that will help you reach your goals.
  6. Look within YOURSELF. Make things happen. Find your own inner strength!! Ultimately, YOU have to motivate YOURSELF—roles models can only inspire you. (Know the difference)


These are the benefits you will gain from completing this action plan:

  • You will learn from the credible people in the world—they’ve already done what you are trying to accomplish.
  • You’ll flatter them by asking for their help and their advice is free.
  • You’ll make valuable inroads and connections.

Select ten people you admire and emulate, whom you would like to connect with in the next six months. 

Design a letter, customized to each individual, asking for a time to speak. Be creative and add your own personal flair.

Here are some sample questions that you might want to ask during a mentor interview. Add your own, or course. Ask open ended questions (ones that require more than yes or no answers). Before the interview, ask yourself what you would most like to know.

  1. What motivates you every day?
  2. When did you discover that this is what you wanted to do for a living?
  3. How did you get started?
  4. How can I learn what I need to know about this profession?
  5. Do you have any practical advice about getting started in this field?
  6. Do you set goals? If so, how?
  7. What are the three key attributes to being successful in this field?
  8. If you were going to start all over again and you were in my shoes, what specific steps would you take?
  9. What is your definition of success?
  10. Do you know anyone in this profession, or any other, that you’d recommend that I should speak to?

Final tip: Listen, serve, or move on. Listen to those people around you that are positive and successful. Serve people that are less successful than you by helping them move up. Move on when those around you are negative and pulling you down!!


Well, what are you waiting for? Got out there and take your success to the next level!!!