July 9. “When you clearly understand that success is a process, not an event, you are encouraged to follow the right process to create the success you are capable of having.” (Zig Ziglar)
One of the most misleading phrases in the common vernacular might be “overnight success story.” In today’s age of viral videos, giant lottery jackpots, and sudden fame, it might be easy to believe that success can strike like a thunderbolt, that someone can go from obscurity to prominence in a flash. The truth is that no one becomes successful, in any kind of meaningful way, overnight. As Ziglar points out in this quote, success is a process, and that process takes time and effort. The good news is that once I understand and embrace the notion that success is a process, I can lock into that process and begin to build toward success.
I have had many successes in my lie. I have been a good husband and father, built a good career, been successful in some hobbies, and so on. All of those things, and any others in my life, have become successful because I was willing to put the time and effort into learning and building the necessary skills.
The day my wife and I walked out of the church from our wedding, I knew nothing about how to be a husband. I’d seen examples, but hadn’t lived through the process myself. My wife and I didn’t become a successful married couple overnight. It took months and years of learning and growing to become successful. It took many missteps and adventures along the way before we reached anything that looked like long-term success. Even today, after 31 years, that process continues. The moment that either of us thinks we have it all figured out, life smacks us in the head and snaps us back to reality, and we continue back on the process together.
The day my oldest daughter was born I knew nothing about what it was to be a parent. Bringing home a tiny human being that was completely dependent on my wife and I for her very survival was an extremely humbling experience. We worked hard together to figure out what it was to be parents. Again, any time we thought we had it figured out, something came along to remind us of how little we really knew. Now that our 4 children are adults the relationship with them has changed. They are no longer dependent on us for survival. But that doesn’t mean we have reached a pinnacle of success, it just means that the challenges as parents have changed. We continue to learn and grow, to go through that process to stay on the path of success.
I could go on talking about my career successes, the hobbies I’ve undertaken, my weight loss, and so on. All of them would have the same theme. When I started out I had no real idea what it would to be successful. I may have had book learning, or some notion from observing others, but until I engaged in the process, until I was immersed in the experience, I had no real idea. In all cases, my success or failure was dependent on how well I bought into the process of success, and worked it.
Today my reflection is about the areas in my life where I have not yet found the success I seek. Today I am reminding myself that if I want to be successful at anything, I need to figure out what the right process is, what the right work will be, to be successful. Only once I find and follow that process will I reach the successes I seek.