When I think of gardening, I’ll often tell people, “I did not get my dad’s green thumb.” I’ve pretty much killed every plant I’ve ever owned, that’s why. Not because I’m stupid. Not because I’m lazy. Not because I’m evil. Rather, because my priority and excitement was not in the garden.
As they say, you reap what you sow.
Ever wonder how those people you’ve never heard of got chosen for a TED Talk? Or how some people can impact big movements with one viral YouTube video or blog post?
It’s not dumb luck. I know exactly how overnight successes are made. It’s not rocket science. If you’re still in awe or disbelief that success is a choice, take a closer look inside your bucket.
What are you planting?
For over five years, I’ve been planting seeds as a shin kicking life spark after jumping off the bridge of corporate sales to launch my own solo practice as a coach. Year after year, I’ve endured major roadblocks. I’ve been met with a lot of resistance from family and friends. I’ve been rejected a ton. I’ve failed a lot. My garden of solopreneurship has looked a lot like trampled-upon muck. But I kept tending my garden despite the absence of full bloom.
I recently listened to an interview (I can’t remember who or where), it went something like, “Sir Richard Branson attributes his success to embracing an ‘I don’t see why I can’t have/do that’ mindset.”
It resonated with me so much because when I deconstruct my past and present, I realize I’ve had that mindset for a very long time. The more I was told I couldn’t, shouldn’t or wouldn’t succeed, the more hungry I got to prove those people wrong. Over time, I realized I had been defiant. Defiance isn’t necessarily a problem unless you’re doing it only to create shock value. True success is when your defiance supports a greater cause that can help bring people together without driving others apart. When I research all of the successful people I look to for inspiration and wisdom, they employ the same attitude and behavior.
Why are some gardens blooming while others reveal only buds?
Far too often we believe we need approval or permission to succeed. At a very young age, we’re taught to stay inside the box and not deviate from that. What if we went for it anyway and asked for forgiveness later?
After receiving criticism for having the most successful Kickstarter campaign in the music industry, Amanda Palmer so eloquently stated in her TED Talk, “you weren’t there on the streets with us, who are you to judge that what we’re doing is wrong?” She never forced anyone to give to her. She asked for help. Her community willingly embraced her with their expressions of love and gratitude.
Staying on the topic of music artists, people talk crap about Psy, the YouTube sensation that brought us Gangnam Style. Did you hear his back story? Did you know that he was a 30-something-year-old husband and dad of two girls? Did you know he has seen mediocre success in the music industry as an artist, but has been a well-respected mentor to emerging talent in Korea? Did you know he has been doing music for over 15 years? His overnight success was not an accident or dumb luck. It was calculated and strategic because Psy had been planting seeds for a very long time and had fun with the project that launched his individual career. I can say the same about Justin Bieber. You laugh now, but Bieber has been working on music since he was a toddler. He did not reach his overnight success until he was 14. His community embraced him because he already gave away so much to his fans before reaching his celebrity status.
Don’t hate ’cause you can’t relate
When people judge others, it’s because they are scared, envious, or ignorant. They believe success is evil. They fear the world isn’t abundant enough to serve everyone in it. The real issue they have is not with the successful artists. It’s with their own hangups about their own inability to succeed.
I may not be friends with Psy or Bieber, but I surround myself with stars in their own right. . Superheros. Connectors. Record-breakers. Fitness-ninjas. Sisters-from-another-mister. Nomadpreneurs. I’ve always found a common thread between those that impact big movements and those that go unnoticed. My rock star friends are all hungry. To make an impact. To make a difference. They care about people. They have been striving and persisting for nearly a decade or more. They won’t settle for the status quo. They aren’t chasing riches in the wallet. They have unrelenting faith and hope that all the little things they’re doing and all the love they’re giving will make a dent in the world. Then, and only then, the money will follow.
I’m smart. Not because I have an MBA. Rather, because I choose my circle of influence wisely. I create good habits. I always ask why. I lead with love and service. Applying what I learn in service of those I want to help and who actually want what I’m offering. Then, I rinse and repeat it if I’m driving impact.
The key to achieving overnight success is creating good habits over time. It’s about taking bite-sized steps and repeating a good habit until it becomes routine. It’s about trusting in the process. What you sow, you will reap. It’s really that simple of a concept though the practice is a long and winding road.
Become a gardener of your own brand
Here are simple daily tips I’m letting you steal from me to help you get started until you find your own rhythm or method to your own madness:
Listen to at least 1 podcast interview.
Read at least a few pages from 1 book.
Read at least 1 blog post.
Journal or write first thing in the morning.
Listen to your favorite music.
Do the dishes.
Organize or declutter your closet.
Engage with your community.
Send a random thank you note to somebody.
Pet your fur baby.
Be still for a few minutes.
Ask for help.
Say “no” more.
So again I ask, what are you planting?