• This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about stamina. As you know if you’ve been following me for very long, one of the most aggravating symptoms of my UC is a lack of stamina. A lack of energy or stamina is what stops me from doing a lot of things that I’d like to be doing. It’s very frustrating. Any plan I make can be foiled by the onset of this symptom, which seems to happen randomly. Sometimes it lasts a couple of hours. Sometimes it lasts all day. Sleeping more or eating right doesn’t affect it at all.

    My lack of stamina is one of the reasons I’ve decided to embark on an exercise program. For one thing, I had few bad stamina days when I was about 20 lbs lighter. Secondly, when I exercise on a regular basis, my stamina improves.

    This week, I’ve been really knocked down by stamina problems. And I’ve been frustrated because I have tons of things I wanted to do that I haven’t had the energy to do.

    The good news is that I worked out with my trainer for an hour on Monday, went to yoga on Wednesday, and walked with Shmi for 30 mins five times this week. I lacked stamina, but I did it anyhow. Sometimes very slowly. Sometimes with help. But I did it.

    Strangely, this got me thinking about starting a business. I’m currently helping a couple of friends whose businesses are about two years old. Both of them are frustrated that they don’t seem to be making any progress. As I was thinking about what to advise them to do, it occurred to me that stamina in business is really no different than stamina in fitness.

    Bottom line: it takes time.

    A couple weeks ago, I shared with you the fact that it takes about two years to build an audience and five years to build a reliable income.

    I’m going to add another number to that list:

    Overnight success takes on average about ten years.

    I’ve tested this over and over again, using both the timeline of my business and those of people I know and also those of quite famous people. It’s alarming how often there seems to be a decade between when they started and when we first heard of them.

    If you want to test this out for yourself, look up just about anyone you think about as an overnight success who have a Wikipedia page. Chances are that under “Years Active”, their start year will be at least ten years ago.

    Everyone starts somewhere. And typically a “meteoric rise” is a lie. Much like losing weight or getting fit, building things takes time.

    Building a business is not like running race. Even if it were, you don’t run a marathon by getting up from your couch and running as fast as you can. That’s how you fall down and don’t get up again. You need to build up your body. You need to train. You need to do things over and over and over again.

    Progress will be slow. The changes you see will be small. But eventually, you will have build something that gives you the results you wanted.

    So this week, as I remind myself that working on my stamina is going to take a long time and progress is going to be slow, I remind you that businesses don’t become productive entities overnight, no matter what you’ve heard.