I enjoy reading about overnight success stories in business.  These are people or companies that have struck gold with new products or services.  Being in the right place at the right time seems to help as does having the right connections.  Clever marketing schemes have helped some brands.  Regardless of what is being offered, I’m actually more interested in the backstory of the people involved.

What was this individual or company doing before this?  Was this a miracle or just the next step?  How many times has this brand experienced failure before arriving at this point?  What was different about this time?  Were people looking for fame or did they stumble across it?

It is possible for a person to become an overnight success but it doesn’t happen often.  More likely is that they have been grinding for years working to perfect their craft and always working to get better.  For some, it may not be about making money.

Anyone that has spent time in an artist or architect’s studio knows what the aftermath of a project looks like:  it’s a mess.  The table, floor, and walls are often littered with old models, drawings, or sources of inspiration.  These are kept until the conclusion of a project so that you can see the progression that was made over time.  To the observer, it is usually clear when a concept shifts from an idea into something that could be successful.  It is rare to find a student or professional designer that has been able to create the right solution the first time.

It can become increasingly frustrating to not be succeeding when people around you seem to be moving faster.  When some people or ideas are picked over others.  The key for designers and people in business alike, particularly those looking for the next big idea–is to play the long game and stay true to yourself.  Overnight success should be a byproduct of your efforts over time and not a goal itself.

[Photo:  The sun rising in Washington, DC]

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