Thanks to the way our media portrays success stories, many people believe that overnight success is a common thing among the rich and famous. But if you read a few biographies, you will soon discover that, prodigies and heiresses aside, it is almost never the case. The purported rise in wealth, fame and prosperity of an individual took months, in many cases years, of careful cultivation not to mention the knock out blows of defeat, likely near losses of faith, before all the stars aligned and the world paused to notice and gasp in awe. As they say, the secret is to fall seven times and get up eight.
Recently I had the honor to cook a meal (consisting of Greek dishes, of course!) for a small group of friends, among which was a very successful owner of a restaurant chain. We huddled in a corner like two old buddies, exchanging nuggets of wisdom, though the fact was that I was mostly speaking from theory while he from experience. I shared with him my perturbations of the heart with respect to the near launch of my first novel Moonchild that took nearly five years and at least two dozen iterations before I deemed it ready to see the world. I told him how terrified I was about how the book will be received, but most of all, if it is received at all!
Having some corporate marketing experience, I have an idea how difficult it is to launch anything, be it a product or a buzzword, let alone a book in a growing sea of both self and traditionally published literature. But my new best friend with sage advice said something to me that calmed my nerves and slowed down my pulse. “When we were growing our business, we had many opportunities to advertise. I was firmly against that.” I asked him why that was, as some of the offers, such as being featured in a Stanford Football schedule booklet were a no-brainer. “The reason for that was because we weren’t ready. I thought to myself, what would happen if suddenly a hundred people showed up in our restaurant, one hundred hungry football fans? We would be under so much stress and probably make may mistakes. I prefer to grow slowly so that when more people come, I have the ready staff and resources to meet the demand.”
Success takes time and readiness. It is not does not come in an instant coffee mix package. It takes love and long-term commitment. “Greatness is about cultivation, not sensation,” writes Tama Kieves in Inspired and Unstoppable. “It’s about devotion, the freedom that comes when you’ve given up your clawing angst, and you know you’re going to give this ride everything you have, one way or another.” She urges to relax and “take the long view.” To give the dreams the time they need to unfold while tending to the garden with patience and faith.
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, said, “We knew that Google was going to get better every single day as we worked on it, and we knew that sooner or later, everyone was going to try it. So our feeling was that the later you tried it, the better it was for us because we’d made a better impression with better technology.”
My shoulders dropped. Suddenly, the task of launching my book was no task at all. I would do it the inspired way, the same way I wrote the book, taking one step at a time, having faith, believing in my dream, seeing it through every step of the way. Watering the seeds, tilling the ground and taking time to smell the roses along the way.
So, if you are struggling with the birth of your own dream, maybe rather than reading a hundred marketing books and consulting the experts, you ought to slow down and reconnect with the essence that is the dream. Maybe it is better to drop the juggling and let the hundred invisible hands of life catch the balls? I don’t have all the answers and this experience is as new to me as learning a new language, but one thing is for sure. Without the stress and expectations, it will be a much more enjoyable ride.