There’s Only One Thing You Need for Success

There’s Only One Thing You Need for Success

I know, the catchy title has you rolling your eyes and saying to yourself obviously there’s not only one thing that leads to success, but hear me out.

After years of pursuing my career in music, I finally caught a break last year and my single played on over 100 radio stations worldwide, which led to hundreds of interviews in 2022 and closing out the second half of the year being offered my own television show on a new network which was quickly picked up by New Jersey Television.

Of course, this whirlwind of success led to the next logical question that no one has asked me over the last 10 years of struggle; How’d you do that

I’m reminded of the great Chinese proverb about the Chinese bamboo tree.

The story goes that the Chinese bamboo tree does not grow at all for the first 5 years after it is planted but on the sixth year the tree grows 80 feet in just 6 six, which leads to the age old question “did the tree grow in 6 weeks or 5 years and six weeks”?

You are educated and articulate enough that I don’t need to state the obvious that it took 5 years and 6 weeks for that tree to grow, even though it didn’t look like it was growing at all for the first 5 years.

So after meeting with a new student in my course for creatives and business owners and she asked “How’d you do that”? It led me to really dig in to what has now become the whole concept for my television show as well as my courses I teach and it really does come down to one thing.

The obvious and technical answer to her question is hours of research, cold calls, rejection from radio station after radio station, some interviews that were a hit and some interviews where I logged on and the host was smoking weed (true story lol). 

But that’s the obvious answer, and it’s not what she meant, and I knew it. Yea the technical day to day transactions spark curiosity but what she and many others after her really wanted to know was how’d you DO that. How’d you stay so committed? How’d you get through the times when you felt lost? How’d you grind it out when nobody believed in you. HOW did you do it?

I journeyed back through my experience and like so many of us reflecting on life, specific memories began to stand out to me. 

Like the time I went to a music conference, waited in the lobby for all 200 attendees to take a picture with the famous music composer who was the keynote speaker, and then when it got to my turn asked if I could buy him a cup of coffee and if he ever had interns. Then asked for a job and ended up working for him in Hollywood for 3 years. 

Or the time I got fired from 4 different jobs because “I loved music” more than I was dedicated to my job. Yes JCPenney, I do love building my own empire rather than trading my time for $8 an hour. (Minimum wage back then lol).

Or the time I got pulled onto the infamous stage at SOB’s in New York City by the former President of Haiti and after the show his manager pulled me aside and said “You weren’t ready for that”. And the formerly shy, uncomfortable, awkward wallflower inside of me smiled and said, “Yea, maybe not. But I did it. Good for me”.

“The biggest difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not.” – Darren Hardy

So what did all these things have in common. That was the answer.

It was the willingness

The willingness to ask for an opportunity when it was presented to me, and not let the paralyzing fear of asking overcome the paralyzing fear of wondering what if for the rest of my life. 

The willingness to do what I love and pursue a life I love, because why the hell not. Because I understood this precious and unpredictable thing we call life for what it is, just that; unpredictable. Here today and gone tomorrow. Not in a morbid way, but in a live in every moment, soak up every sunshine sort of way.

The willingness to go for it. To take a chance. To not wait “until I was ready” but to live in the moment, and be proud of myself for pushing past limiting beliefs, worry and fear of what people might say and just going for it. 

We all define success differently, but I would argue that whether success looks like a dream job, a fat bank account, a beautiful family or all of the above, the willingness to ask and live and love and overcome and learn and grow and so many other things all stem from one thing. 

You’re right, there are MANY things it takes to be successful, but they are all just a branch on the bamboo tree of willingness.