“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 Best of You coaching gals 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 women 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?
Results take time.
Whether it’s building a business, building a 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.
One thing that I always remember is something Jade said a few years ago: “Easy is earned.”
Think about it. You don’t just launch a blog and automatically have people paying you for services. NO ONE KNOWS YOU YET. No one trusts you.
I remember when I started my very first Blogspot blog in 2007, I’d update it once every 6 months—because I was too mentally exhausted working 80 hours a week at the gym—and every single time I updated it, I’d start with, “So sorry I’ve been MIA!” As if anyone was reading it! Ha!
Of course they weren’t reading it. I wasn’t consistent, I had built zero good will or clout online, I was completely unreliable as an expert authority and no one even knew the blog existed except Jade and my mom.
But of course that’s how any blog starts … with only your friends and family reading it. That’s how I started, how Metabolic Effect started, how all my BOY gals start. But over time and with consistency, guess what happens? Eventually someone you don’t know reads it. And then, you stay consistent with it a little more, and a few other people you don’t know read it. And then you stay consistent even more, and then a whole bunch of people you don’t know start reading it. And they keep coming back to it, reading it regularly. Why? Because 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 journey from all-or-nothing dieter to automated eater. It took me THREE years.
Same with my business. It took me 5 years from the time I read ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ for the first time to go from fitness hustler at the gym (working 70-80 hours/week) to fulltime online business owner. It took me 2.5 years after launching JillFit.com (blogging practically daily!) to be able to finally quit my 9-to-5.
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 blog:
What looks like luck is simply a shitload of little action steps taken day after day after day.
To be totally honest, I have an advantage in that this kind of “rise and grind” has always been my strong suit. Just ask Jade. He’s always said that one of my struggles was not looking up and doing the visionary work enough. Not planning or looking at the big picture enough.
Fine, but in my experience, focusing on the end result, the big picture, and focusing on the are-we-there-yet does us a disservice. It takes the focus off what needs to get done today and puts it on some ideal picture that we have no control over. It belittles the importance of a singlular focus of creating something today and instead overwhelms us with the million things we need to do to get from here to “there.”
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.
The formula is always the same: show up today. Do the handful of things today. Put that bit of effort in today.
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.
There are over 500 blogs live on JillFit.com, a body of work that I could have never imagined when I started it in 2010. Why would I? If I set a goal to write 500 blogs, I probably would have stopped on day 1. My only goal has only ever been to do the very next thing. Because when you do the very next thing, the very next thing shows up, and you can then do that. You do have to do step 1 to get to step 2 (you don’t even have to know what step 2 is in order to do step 1!). Now, 500+ blogs later, I’ve kind of earned the right to easy.
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.
You get results with consistency of effort and attitude—two things you can always control.
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.
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.
Some tweetables for you: