Does 5 years make an overnight success?
Success is a strange word, you could organise the most diverse group you could get your hands on right now and you may very well receive 10 different answers. For some people it means getting a degree and a job so they can provide for themselves, for others it simply means providing for their families, as a single man in my twenties with few responsibilities I can honestly tell you that I have no idea what the word means specifically to me.
I recently became employed for the first time in my adult life (which in my mind at least, began when I completed my studies in Tralee/Cork) as an Alpha Tester. This is something that has always been on my bucket list. For those of you who don’t know, this basically means I get to test games/updates before they are released and report back on issues/bugs in order to ensure the final product is market ready. It is a great job to have as a lifelong gamer but is not without its challenges.
My newly gained employment coupled with my day to day job of running a digital solutions agency I began planning when I was 21 sees me work a lot, often over 90 hours a week which I love 99% of the time. In a way, I am incredibly lucky to do what I do, I know that. Plenty of firms have come and gone in my short time, but I don’t believe in luck as a major factor, although my old man has always insisted if I lost €5 I would find €50, implying that I always seem to land on my feet.
Ask anyone who is “successful”, they will tell you the only secret is hard work, it is no quick fix. It is thousands of hours poured into their vision and countless more to keep it going. Loving what you do is a massive advantage here. You counter every problem with a simple question: Will this get me closer to what I want? The equation becomes a lot clearer after this.
You see a problem, you fix it and move on to the next problem, its simple math when you really break it down. That is all it is. In my opinion, this is why a lot of SME’s fail/give up, they simply get overwhelmed when faced by the amount of complications that arise almost daily.
Living in rural Ireland, I had the luxury of being the forgotten son of my parents (my future therapist will really be going to the middle child well) in the eyes of strangers, always referred to by my brother’s names. Unfortunately, being front page news in Kerry/national papers means pretty much everyone now knows who I am or at least my business. The majority of the time, I am happy about this, a part of me likes the attention. I work a lot on our social media advertising Avalanche so how can I complain when people ask me about it in the pub/socially? Of course, this does lend itself to an inflated ego which does need to be checked routinely (note to self, dial back the topless gym selfies on Instagram).
The only time I become frustrated is when people belittle any IT/Design work which usually goes something like “All you are doing is pushing buttons! How is that work?” Most of the time this question comes from a lad who spends his days using rocks to break other rocks or is a Post Office Warrior. As the title of this article suggests, it is also regularly put to me (mostly by the same eejits but sometimes by people who should really know better) that all of my “success” just landed in my lap. I simply woke up one day and I had everything I ever dreamed of. This is the one that really annoys me, particularly as the amount of hours I have personally put into this is beyond even my count, relationships have been sacrificed and I have worked myself to the point of exhaustion countless times all while the crippling fear my business could collapse any day is constantly in the back of my mind.
I have accepted that you will never be able to convince some people so now I have regressed back into my forgotten son routine, if anyone asks it is my brother who is “the computer fella” while I am happy to pass on his contact details (One girl was so committed she even rang my brother in Australia, she may even meet her knight in poorly dressed armour in December!). Typical Kerry divilment..
I hope this article makes you uncomfortable, I hope it makes you think before you belittle someone’s career choices in the future, I hope it makes you ask yourself what I am doing with my life. Am I moving forward, am I fooling myself with pointless excuses? Am I living the same week over and over again? It’s a very simple concept, if you want something, go and get it instead of questioning someone else.
I have made a million mistakes, I am in my mid-twenties running a business, I have the Mammy pressure of bringing something presentable through the front door for “a good day out”, I am an idiot, I drink (perhaps too much) with my friends most weekends, I spend far too much money on clothes I don’t need, I have never met a mirror I didn’t like, I’m childish, my favourite Pokemon is Charizard, I quote TV/Movie references in almost every sentence and if you don’t support Manchester United we cannot be friends, let alone anything else.
But I am also kind of a nice guy who is very sensitive to the term “overnight success”. Five years does not make you an overnight success, it lets you stay at the table and get to ten years. I am not interested in being an overnight success, I am interested in building a legacy so come talk to me in 10 years about pushing buttons. I pray I am still pushing them..
Nobody has to tell you when you’ve made it, you know when you’ve made it.
"Pixar is seen by a lot of folks as an overnight success, but if you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time." - Steve Jobs