The stark reality about overnight success stories

In Deon Sanders’ Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech, he recalled that when he went from Florida State to the NFL, people called him an overnight success. He replied that he had been playing football since he was seven — that his overnight success was 13 years in the making.

overnight success

There is no such thing as overnight success.

When I started hosting Weekend AllNight on ESPN Radio in 1999, some people said I was an overnight success. They said, “I’ve never heard of this guy. Where did he come from?”

What those people didn’t know about were the three years I put in doing news, calling play-by-play for high schools and small colleges, and hosting coaches shows at the Wendy’s restaurant on North Main Street in McPherson, KS. They didn’t know about the six years I invested doing talk shows and sports updates for $13 an hour at XTRA Sports 690 in San Diego. They also didn’t know that during that time, I coached basketball, worked as a fitness trainer, cleaned carpets, and washed cars so that I could pay the bills.

Everyone loves the “overnight” success story. Many of us would love to have the perks of success without slogging through the work. Folks don’t want to acknowledge the years of dedication you are now working through in order to become successful.

You may sometimes feel alone. You may have family or friends who are not supportive of your sportscasting career. Even if you don’t personally know someone with a parallel career, know that they’re out there. The struggles and sacrifices you are enduring in your effort to reach your goals are shared by others in sportscasting.

You are not walking alone. Many others have already navigated the path upon which you currently travel and have found their ultimate career success. Instead of dwelling on the negative and getting stuck in a downward spiral of complaining, use your hardships to drive you forward.

You are smart. You can do it. And when you do, you can sit back and smile when someone calls you an overnight success.