Overnight Success And How to Achieve it in All Areas of Your Life
Written by: Elena Seranova
A lot of times when I discuss business, my scientific studies or my love life, people respond with "you must have been so lucky" or "sounds like an overnight success". I want to address the perspective of overnight success and how you can achieve it. I will talk about my first business, my interdisciplinary studies and my love life as an example.
First things first. I'm sorry to ruin your dream but overnight success doesn't exist. In order to become successful in any aspect of your life, you have to create a system that works in the long term. After some time of executing the same boring stuff over and over again, you start seeing results. This is what people call overnight success. There are very few exceptions in this rule , and betting that you'll be one of them is not smart. If you put the work in, your chances of overnight success are much higher. My first well-being business went from 0 to 6 figures within 18 months. I was 23. I didn't even know what to do with so much money coming in every day. But how did it all start? After graduating with a major in psychology, I was wondering what to do next. One thing I knew for sure: becoming an employee was not an option. As an undergrad, I used to work night shifts as a DJ to pay my rent while my family's small business got bankrupt in 2008 due to the Greek financial crisis. I knew that I'm not comfortable with taking orders so I was searching for a quick way to set up a profitable business.
That's why when I heard about a cool neurofeedback device that other health practitioners use for stress reduction I got interested. Why? Because there was no such device in the north Part of Greece, so I knew that if I import one I'd have a monopoly. I took a calculated risk (now that I look back at it, it resembles more of a leap of faith, but I'm so glad I took it), bought the device, took a few months' training and launched my well-being business. The first month, I only managed to land 2 customers. I went to my mom saying "I have to pay the office rent tomorrow and I didn't make enough money this month". She said she'll pay my rent tomorrow but I have one more month to figure out how to pay the next one. I had a printer at the office. I designed a brochure that would suffice in Word and printed some copies. Then, I went door to door in my building. And the next building. And the next one. I contacted a local radio station for a chance to be featured in one of the shows and they said yes. Customers and cash were rolling in every day and at the end of the month, I was so proud that I could pay my rent! Six months later I had a two weeks waiting list for an appointment because the product was great and I made sure to give my customers great experience each time they would come in.
After being involved with patients suffering from various conditions, I got curious about the symptoms I was observing in my customers. I have previously taken some cognitive neuroscience classes at uni and decided to study the human brain a bit more. Call me an information junkie but I get a kick out of learning cool facts about stuff that interest me, which is mostly science and business. Five years into my business, after growing it into two branches in 2 different cities, I decided to step up my game.
The financial situation in Greece was still not as prosperous as in the western European countries. I found a fascinating master's degree in neuroscience and genetics at an English university and ended up applying for it. And I got in! So I took another leap of faith, closed down my business and moved to the UK. I had enough savings from my business to not work for a year and be a self-funded student. This is where I got introduced to wet lab biology. To the actual research that scientists do wearing white lab coats and figuring out interactions between various proteins by setting up cool experiments. And my mind was completely blown.
"My life has a purpose, and my research plays a great part in it."
I fell in love with lab work and molecular biology. I loved it so much, I actually decided to pursue a PhD in this field as well. The master's degree' lab project was hard. It was harder for me than for most of my course mates because most of them had a biology background, while I was struggling to keep up with the course work and the novice lab nomenclature. In a new language! But I didn't care, it was so cool! I just kept going and applying for PhD positions. After about 20 rejections, it became clear that I'm not the ideal candidate for a wet lab biology PhD project. Or at least this is what my potential supervisors thought. Until one day, I got a positive reply. One positive reply was all I needed. And here we are, 3 years and 7 publications later, I am about to obtain my PhD in neurodegeneration, stem cell biology and drug discovery.
Some may wonder whether I have any time to be dating at all with such a hefty schedule.The little time left for personal use, becomes very precious, meaning you want to make the best out of it. You want the best, most fascinating experience out of it. So how do you find a partner that will be a great match and will make you have the time of your life? That will be considerate, fun to be with, romantic, adventurous, loving... Those are all the wrong questions. Because what we currently describe here, is the top of the dating pool. So why do you think the ideal partner that you would choose over millions of others, would choose you?
The answer is simple. Because you are one in a million. In other words, you need to make the offer so irresistible that any candidate you shortlist, will choose you over another woman, over and over again. And how do you do that? The answer to this question is slightly counter intuitive. You don't focus on dating. You focus on yourself. You improve yourself in every way possible. This is something that business taught me. If you have a mediocre product, there is no need to start advertising it before you hone it to the point that as soon as the customer will see the ad, the purchase will be a no-brainer.
And then, you do the second counter intuitive thing. You start going on dates, but you keep on rejecting. Instead of looking for reasons to see a guy for a second time, you look for reasons to never see him again. Why? As you improve yourself in every aspect of your life (charm, intelligence, physical and mental health etc), you don't want to settle for the first person you'll go on a date with. You want to wait until you find someone that will tick all the boxes. That will be as caring, loving, attractive and intelligent as you deserve. I was single for over 2 years before I met my partner. We've been together for a year and it's been the best year of my life.
Why? Because I kept on rejecting everyone else before I met him. There was always something missing and I was not willing to compromise. As a result, I found someone that has the same mindset and values with me, he is funny, smart, charming and we just admire each other. Lab members are jealous of my regular flower deliveries as I'm doing my experiments, weekends consist of surprise destination getaways and I never felt so emotionally safe and loved in my life. Was it all down to luck? Absolutely no. I just kept bettering myself and saying no until I found the One.
People tend to blame "bad luck" for their circumstances. And when they hear about other people's success, it hurts them less if they attribute it to "overnight success"; rather than to this individual's will power and consistency. That's what I implemented in business, in my studies and in my love life. There was no overnight success, I just kept on going until the results were achieved. I struggled a lot along the way, but I never gave up. I hope that from now on, you will do the same.
Elena has a BSc in Psychology. Run a 6-figure wellness business and was a co-founder of a biotech start-up. Currently a PhD candidate and is the founder of the Guild of Growth, a female exclusive self development community focusing on mindset of success. Visit her website!