The Myth of Overnight Business Success
There is no more mythical creature in the forest of accomplishment than that of the “overnight success.” To be clear, overnight success doesn’t exist, as there are always—and I mean always—months and years of toil leading up to any recognition. I’ve always loathed when the term “overnight success” has been applied to people, as it insinuates that any achievements they have realized or victories they have won are the simple result of being lucky.
From a very early age, I was taught the importance of showing up. To me, consistently “showing up” means that despite any roadblocks, challenges, inconveniences, disappointing results or outright defeats, I keep pushing forward. And, trust me, I’ve had my share of setbacks:
- Losing far more RFPs than I have won
- Being “asked to pursue career excellence elsewhere” by HALO Branded Solutions in 2008
- Downsized out of a job in 2013 after building a robust promotional division at the fifth largest office products company in the nation
- The horrific death of my brother-in-law in 2014
- Applying to speak at industry events only to be rejected
- Watching “great” marketing ideas fall flat
- Not making it as a finalist for a PPAI Pyramid Award for my blogging
- My wife’s “heart incident,” as we euphemistically call it, in 2016 (she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, and I had to administer CPR for over six minutes)
Regardless of all these stumbling blocks—and, trust me, I could fill five pages with my failures—I have continued to show up. Take blogging, for example. I have published a blog at least once a week since November 2014, which means that I have shared over 470 individual pieces of written content as of this writing.
To this day, I remember how much not winning that Pyramid Award stung me—more than I really should admit. I could have stopped writing, convinced myself that the world was against me, and given up. Alternatively, I used that private (until now) disappointment to fuel my desire to get better. Instead of writing less, I wrote more. Rather than publishing one blog a week, I pushed out two. In lieu of focusing on business, I began to share more raw, candid thoughts about all aspects of my life—personal and professional.
The results were incredible: The engagement on the social postings of the blogs skyrocketed. I began to receive messages from people thanking me for sharing my thoughts. And instead of asking to speak at events, organizers began to approach me. If I had stopped writing—stopped showing up—none of that would have happened.
Showing up means pushing forward, arriving early and leaving late, pushing away the lure of laziness to pursue growth, and being willing to keep a stiff upper lip in the face of failure.
The simple fact is life will hurl all manner of curveballs at you—that’s just the way it is. The real test is how you react when those disappointments happen: You can either give up or show up.
I’m here to tell you that showing up is the far better option of the two.
Bill has over 20 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products companies, always working collaboratively to achieve the “wow” desired by the target audience.
A Managing Partner at brandivate, a full-service marketing services and advertising agency, Bill is featured speaker at numerous national and international events, a serial creator of content marketing, and co-host of the industry-leading podcast, Promo UPFront. Bill has extensive experience defining brand strategy, creating successful marketing campaigns, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients.
A fierce advocate for the Promotional Products Industry, he is the Immediate Past President of the Regional Association Council (RAC) board, has worked closely with senior leadership at Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) on many committees and work groups. In appreciation of his years of service to the promotional products industry, Bill was named as an inaugural PPAI Fellow—a program designed to recognize influential individuals who have actively supported the industry through personal involvement.
Bill lives in Franklin, TN with his wife of 26 years, Sandy, and their 17-year-old twin boys, Drew and Mitch.