How long does it take to be successful?

I hear this question time and time again when speaking at events or even I receive it in blog comments or replies to the emails I am sending to my subscribers. Well, I would say there is no universal answer here but I would like to add my point of view which is intended to help a lot of startup founders with their journey towards success.

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I would say that first, you need to define very clear what success means to you because this is crucial. Some people call themselves successful when they wake up every morning, others need to have 7 or 8 figures in the bank account to call themselves successful and others feel failures even when they hit the Billionaire status. So there is not just one answer to what success means so you need to dig deeper and define this first.

The life is full of ups and downs and the startup life is more like a big roller coaster. In the tech world you could dominate the market today and if you don’t look very closely at the market trends you can be left out as soon as next month. The depression is so common here that it is like a trademark of the startup world. At the end of the day, success is a process, it is the result of a lot of facts accumulated not merely a destination. And there is a tricky part here.

Any level of success in any field — life, relationships, business requires a certain level of effort, ‘aka’ work. In the personal development world, it is communicated that success is easy to be attained if you buy X or Y program. But this is as far as possible from the truth. Why? The ease of achieving success is just the selling point. If you tell your potential buyers that it will actually be hard to achieve an outcome, very few will purchase. And to have more than an average level of success in anything you have to pay the price. Nobody knows exactly how big this price will be and for how long you will have to pay it but it is something which can’t be avoided. And this is a fact. And after you pay the price, the success is there, waiting for you.

The startup world is seen as a big land of opportunity, which is true but the majority of the startups launched are either going bankrupt or become not more than a mom and pops type of business which will be better to be abandoned in exchange for a regular, less risky J.O.B.

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So I come back with this question: “ How long does it take to be successful?” or to rephrase it, how many failures do you need in order to become successful? The statistics said that the sweet spot for the age of the highly successful startup founder is around 45 years old. If you are in the ’20s does it mean that you have to wait +20 years? Or if you are in the ’60s does it mean that your time has passed? No way!

Don’t delay, start working, do your best and use the strategy of feeling successful in the process. So no matter how empty may seem your bank account, how big the challenges ahead of you, do yourself a favor and keep grinding and don’t give up. And find a way to be successful in the process as this is essential. Drink a good coffee, put some great music, go to work in a coworking space so you will not feel alone, but don’t give up.

Try to be surrounded by people who will lift you up not by the kind of people who will bring you down which all the time may seem to be you current friends and some of your family members. They surely love you but somehow they don’t want you to evolve so much. I know it is crazy but I see this all the time in my consulting activity. And don’t forget that your definition of success is not the same as theirs. Everybody has its definition of success.