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20 Steps To Be An Overnight Success

My wife Monique has just released her third album and it’s hit the #2 spot on iTunes…

It’s #2 in Jazz and #85 on the whole of iTunes!

She comes in close behind one of her musical idols, Ella Fitzgerald.

And she leaves the incredible Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and John Coltrane in her wake!

For a jazz musician that’s an incredible feat.

Her family, her friends, her fellow members of 4PC (our private members club for high performers), and our boys and I are all so proud of Monique.

(In case you don’t know, I married Monique 11 years ago and we have 2 little boys).

If you would prefer, click here to watch a video I made about this.


Monique is not just a Creative, she’s a Creator.

Creatives use their imagination and ideas to make something original in this world.

But Creators use the power of generative language, they act without attachment, they set goals as a place to come from (not as a place to get to), and they do the work (no matter what).

That makes it sound easy. And it ain’t!


In less than a year, Monique has written and performed a one-woman show that has got rave reviews, won an award at The Hollywood Fringe Festival and sold-out at the prestigious New York Solo Theater Festival.

She’s written, performed, recorded and released her third album and it’s gone to the top of the charts in iTunes.

All this in a year.

An overnight success, right?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I Give You…


  1. Love music so much as a youngster that you roller skate in the backyard for hours at a time, to amazing musicians. But be too afraid to admit out loud that you want to be a performer.
  2. Do a degree in Mathematics at UC Berkeley because you’re afraid to study music.
  3. Start a corporate career because you’re afraid to be a professional musician.
  4. Quit your corporate career even though everyone around you thinks you’re crazy.
  5. Perform for years in coffee shops to people who barely notice you exist.
  6. Hire the best musicians you can find to help you record your first album.
  7. Be proud of your music but feel terrified about how to get it out in the world.
  8. Watch some of the musicians you recorded with go on to be super successful and feel frustrated or angry that you don’t know how to make that happen for yourself.
  9. Be confused by the overwhelming world of managers, publicists, social media experts and people in ‘the business’.
  10. Travel around the world to perform in India, China, Fiji, Holland and England.
  11. Record and release a second album but still feel overwhelmed by the business of music.
  12. Take 10 years away from your career because raising your children becomes your number one priority.
  13. Get a diagnosis of a Desmoid tumor and decide that it’s time to be done with hiding and playing small. It’s time to get your true art into the world no matter what.
  14. Write a one-person show that’s so deeply personal, it’s terrifying to put it out in the world.
  15. Write an album that mines the depth of your soul.

[The next 4 steps are very important…]

  1. Pay such close attention to the voices of self-doubt and negativity that scream so loud in your head, it can be hard to move.
  2. Feel a soul-sapping lack of confidence that makes it scary to even get out of bed in the morning.
  3. Be overwhelmed by crippling fear at the thought of having to show up once more, when you’ve failed again and again and again.
  4. Embrace the power of procrastination. (It’s really never so enticing to clean the entire house as the moment you want to sit down and create your art!)
  5. Oh, and become a Master of self-sabotage. Just when things are going great, allow fear and self-doubt to get in the way, slow you down, or completely stop you from doing what you know you need to do next.

Only 20 steps…

Easy, right?


This week alone, in my Facebook feed, I’ve seen an ad that reads:

“Do you want the exact blueprint to how I’ve built my Inc 5000 coaching business? For Free?!”

And another that starts:

“Get the Precise Formula for how I built my $20MM business…”

If it was that simple, save yourself time and buy Richard Branson’s autobiography – because then you, too, can be a billionaire!

The reason you often can’t simply follow someone else’s steps to success is due to a psychological concept called Survivorship bias.

Wikipedia defines it as follows:

“Survivorship bias or survival bias is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that made it past some selection process and overlooking those that did not, typically because of their lack of visibility.

This can lead to false conclusions in several different ways. It … can lead to overly optimistic beliefs … and the false belief that the successes in a group have some special property, rather than just coincidence.”

Listen, if you really want to be successful, there are a ton of different paths you could take.

But be aware that for every $20MM business owner there are thousands of others who took precisely the same steps – but because their timing was different, or because of an element of luck, or because they had different doubts, fears, or insecurities, or because they had a different dream, vision or mission, or because they had different mindsets or ways of thinking – their results turned out differently.

So it’s totally fine to learn from people who’ve been down the road ahead of you. And it’s totally fine to model the actions that they took.

And just like them, you’ll face roadblocks, challenges and criticism along your journey.

But here’s the secret… the biggest roadblocks, challenges and criticism you’ll ever face are the ones that are on your inside.

The writer Steven Pressfield calls all this ‘Resistance’:

“Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

And while I celebrate Monique today, I’ve witnessed her on her journey.

It’s been challenging. It’s been filled with ups and downs.

She’s faced self-doubt, self-sabotage, procrastination, fear and failure. It’s been overwhelming on many occasions.

But, as Steven Pressfield writes in his book, The War Of Art:

“The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work.

The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.”


The day after hitting #2 on iTunes, Monique heard that her application for Grammy membership hadn’t met their requirements, so she had to resubmit; we had to attend a parent teacher meeting for one of our kids; and there was a problem with our electricity bill payment!

Most people think that success is a destination. “Once I get there, I can finally relax…”

I’ve coached some of the highest performers on the planet – from Olympic athletes to Navy Seals to British Special Forces operatives to multi-million dollar business owners – and not one of them was every ready to stop and put their feet up.

Every one of them was a testament to the fact that success simply brings higher quality problems.

Every one of them continued to face struggles on their journey.

Every one of them carried inside a number of guilty secrets that they thought they could never share with anyone.

As Steven Pressfield says, the struggle with self-doubt, self-sabotage, procrastination, fear, failure and overwhelm is part of our journey.

And it will continue to be part of our journey, even after we’ve achieved the success we’ve been craving.

Pressfield continues:

“The problem is we’re thinking like amateurs. Amateurs don’t show up. Amateurs crap out. Amateurs let adversity defeat them.

The pro thinks differently. He shows up, he does his work, he keeps on truckin’, no matter what.”


Well, just be careful not to let yourself be seduced by the ‘stars’ on American Idol or the Facebook ads that promise you a blueprint for making millions.

Overnight successes are more often than not 10, 20 or even 46 years in the making…

I’ll let Steven Pressfield have the final word:

“Fear doesn’t go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.”

Love. Rich


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