Have you ever seen a story where someone comes out of nowhere and takes their sport, industry or profession by storm?

Yesterday they were buried on a roster somewhere, and then today they are on everyone’s radar and at the top of every headline!

An overnight success story!  They must be so lucky…


Well, something like that… if you define luck mentioned in last week’s post, then sure – they were “lucky”.

The truth is, these overnight success stories are years in the making and are full of early mornings, late nights, grueling training, and meticulous preparation – all waiting for the potential for one opportunity to break in, break through, and make a massive impact!

Do you have what it takes to become an overnight success?


Football season is officially off and running – the best time of year as far as I’m concerned!

And of course with the NFL season underway, millions of fans are paying close attention to their fantasy football teams.  Looking for the diamonds in the rough.  Looking for those ‘fantasy flyers’ to help take their fantasy team to the next level.

As I was thinking about the concept of the ‘Overnight Success‘, I couldn’t help but think about this fantasy football dynamic.

During one of my drafts, I heard a few of my friends talking about who would become the next breakout player.  Who is going to be the hot flavor of the week or season?

I get it… it makes perfect sense for the purposes of playing fantasy football.  It just helped me realize how important it is to appreciate what it takes to become a breakout player.

I never want to become numb to the incredible amount of work these players put in simply to put themselves in the position to break out if the opportunity presents itself.

What I keep reminding myself, is that while it might be a shock to the fans when a ‘no name player’ makes a game-changing play or gives a season altering performance, it is never a shock to the player who put in an incredible amount of work to make that moment a reality.

They know full well everything it took to get to that moment – the sacrifices, hard work, dedication and determination.

Can we say that we are doing the same for ourselves and our game?

Take the First Step to Becoming an Overnight Success

No matter where we sit in life – on the sidelines, in a cubicle farm, in the classroom, etc. we all have the choice and opportunity to dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of greatness.

To give ourselves to the pursuit of making a meaningful impact within our world; in our sphere of influence.

We can make a powerful impact within our sport, industry, organization, community and/or family.

We can do incredible things, if we are willing to commit ourselves to do the work to become truly great – to commit to the preparation, discipline and focus to put ourselves in the position to jump at those once in a lifetime opportunities that are aligned with our individual passions and purpose in life.

No matter what picture an ‘Overnight Success‘ story headline paints, it is my hope that we all can take a moment to remind ourselves that it takes an incredible investment of time and effort to create one of those moments, and tip our cap to the individual who is being highlighted – not for the moment in focus, but for the example of hard work when no one was watching and preparation that they’ve set for the rest of us – if we are willing to see it.

“I was an overnight success all right, but 30 years is a long, long night.” – Ray Kroc

Take the time to reflect on the questions below to see if you are ready to take your first step on the long road to becoming the next Overnight Success.

Are you committed?

There are no guarantees in life.  It may take years or decades to prepare yourself for an opportunity to break out, and that opportunity may never come.  How does that sit with you?

Are you still just as passionate and fired up to put in the work?  If so, I’d say you have the commitment.

Not knowing what the future holds, take this opportunity to commit to a path of greatness and enjoy the journey!  Even if we don’t reach the destination, committing to and enjoying the journey will make it all worth while.

What aspects of your game do you needs to improve to play at the highest level?

What are your strengths?  Where can you improve?  Preparing for the once in a lifetime opportunities in life requires that we identify our blind spots and get to work on making sure they don’t slow us down.

Take stock of what could prevent you from being ready to go full speed ahead on a big opportunity, and surround yourself with coaches or a team that can help point out and fill the gaps.

What does breaking into the big game look like for you?

We all come from different backgrounds, have different goals, and play our game across a wide range of sports, industries and crafts.  What does an overnight success story look like in your sport, industry or organization?  What are some of the attributes that would constitute success for you?

Make sure you know what you are looking for.

Where do you need to be / who do you need to be talking to in order to be top of mind when an opportunity arises?

In addition to the hard work and preparation we’ve touched on so far, sometimes it comes down to being in the right place at the right time.

Are you already in the right crowds and do you have the visibility that you need to be top of mind when a big opportunity comes around?  Start making those moves and connections now!

How will you handle being in the spotlight?

Let’s press the fast forward button for a moment…  You’ve arrived – the opportunity presented itself and you seized the moment!

So now what?  How will you handle this opportunity?

As much as we need to prepare ourselves for the moment, we also must prepare ourselves for the new future created after we made it all happen.

How can you embody the same level of humility and hard work that created the possibility to have this success in the first place?

How can you maintain or step up your work ethic and discipline to stay on top and excel?

It’s one thing to reach the top.

It’s a very different – and far more powerful – thing to reach the top and become a positive role model in the process.

Discussion Question: What does your breakthrough overnight success moment look like in your life?  What is the first step you can take this week to start down the path to make it happen?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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