I love this quote - it is a good reminder and motivator to me when I am tempted to take shortcuts in my career and health goals.  This quote applies to relationships, exercise, a healthy lifestyle, being an athlete, studying for school, giving a presentation and many other life circumstances. 

Sometimes I get discouraged when I'm working hard and don't see progress in my exercise routine, a presentation doesn't go so well or I don't handle something as smoothly as I would like to.  But I ask myself -  Am I making progress?  Am I going the right direction?  The small steps of progress add up to success and that is often the success that you see when you admire celebrities, CEO's and other figureheads.  There are no shortcuts on the ladder to success.  You have to put in the time and the work to be good at something. 

Overnight success is very rare.  Usually what you think of as overnight success is preceded by hours and hours of preparation that led someone to their moment.  And that preparation enabled them to excel when opportunity knocked.  For example, many musicians and entertainers seem to have risen to the spotlight quickly, but there are years and years of dance and music lessons and not so glamorous jobs behind those successful people.  Olympic athletes practice countless hours over year to prepare for their ten second performance.  

In the book "Outliers", Malcolm Gladwell talks about the "10,000 hours rule" which states that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at any competition.  This rule applies to a concert pianist, athlete, video gamer, and even Bill Gates!  Of course, other things may come into consideration - genes, physical abilities, etc.... - but in general, practice makes perfect.  

A lot of times, we have lofty goals but have no idea how to get there.  Here are a few tips on taking the next steps. 

Set your goal
You need to have a focused goal.  If your goal is too general, you will likely be sidetracked.
Training for a marathon is a good example of this.   The marathon date is set, the distance is set and usually there is a detailed schedule on how you will run every week (how many miles, what days your long runs are on, etc...)

Do the RIGHT work
I read an article about how Olympic runner Usain Bolt trained differently than one of his biggest competitors.  But they both trained for their body types and are both successful athletes.  One size doesn't fit all and you have to figure out what works for you.  

If you have set a goal and are not sure the steps to take, I usually follow one of three strategies:


  • Talk to a mentor or someone's career you are trying to pattern and learn the steps that they took

  • Work backwards from your goal and map out the steps

  • Take the next three steps towards your goal. Figure out the next steps that you need to take....they can be small...and usually the path will start to become clearer

Keep going
It is very easy to get discouraged and quit when you don't see yourself moving towards your goal as fast as you'd like. Remember, progress is progress. Many small steps will get you there. Add five minutes to your exercise routine, take extra time to listen in your relationships, and practice that presentation one more time. Study differently or an extra thirty minutes a day if you are having trouble getting the grade you want.

WellnessJoanna Simmon