How to Rise from Obscurity To Become an Overnight Success

By Doug Armey

Steve Cohen, “The Millionaire’s Magician,” became an overnight success.  Really?

As a child he was intrigued watching and performing magic tricks.  He had natural talent and unbounded interest.

He says, “While other kids went to soccer and football camp during the summer I went to geeky magic camp.”

No doubt growing up he probably wasn’t the big man on campus.

He performed through college, perfecting his skills and earning a living.  After graduation he married a Japanese woman and they moved to Tokyo.  There he connected with the general manager of a large hotel.  After a private showing he gained a contract to put on magic shows.

He eventually returned to the US and set out to be a career magician.  But how do you break into the big time?  The field was already crowded with headline performers.  And how do you make contact with the people you need to?

He would do small preview shows for agents to get contracts.  Then start all over when it ran out.

Finally, he came on the idea of doing small parlor shows.  At least he could have more than one agent there at a time.  He used a friend’s apartment to host them.

Then, he turned these parlor shows into their own venue.  Performing for small groups of guests in the line of some of greatest magicians in history.

The audiences grew.  So where to hold these exclusive events?  Eventually through some additional connections he was able to land a contract to use one of the salons in the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York.  One of the most exclusive hotels in the world thought it would be a unique offering for their affluent guests.

His shows sold-out and he became “The Millionaire’s Magician.”  He’s been written about and appeared on TV becoming an overnight success.

He writes about this, “I want to address the incoming emails I receive from magicians around the world who ask me to teach them how to replicate my career. They come visit my show, which is sold-out weeks in advance, and say, ‘I want that.’ The problem is that they only see the final result. They do not see the years of struggle and creative thought that went into creating that result.”

The result is fantastic.  How many want to pay the price though?

It’s easy to look at someone who suddenly bursts into fame and think, “Why not me?  Why can’t I have that?

Yet, we fritter away in obscurity hoping to get discovered.  Waiting for our big break to sweep us into the spotlight.

But the break never comes because we never do the work.  Not the real work.  And it seems others are finding the success we only dream of.  Often we give up on our dreams in despair and think, “Well, they’re just lucky.”

How do the superstars get lucky?  What makes the difference?

Proverbs says, “The one who is lazy becomes poor, but the one who works diligently becomes wealthy.” (Proverbs 10:4, NET)

We all want some quick easy five-step plan for becoming an overnight success.  Sorry it doesn’t exist. That “overnight success” only comes from years of diligently working in one direction every day.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers he talks about the “10,000 hour rule”.  He chronicles musicians, sports stars, innovators, inventors, and writers who suddenly burst into the spotlight of success. Yet, they’ve worked away in obscurity perfecting their knowledge and skill for 10,000 hours before it sees the brightness of fame.

That time is spent studying, practicing, experimenting, failing, trying again, refining, perfecting.  That’s real life.  And of the truly successful it is their life.

“But how can I even commit to something like that?”

It’s not easy.  And that success won’t come short of those hours.  So we need to make sure what we commit to is really what we’re passionate about.

Another verse in Proverbs says, “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3, NLT)

It comes down to searching out what is in your heart to do and what God is leading you into. It means asking God to guide you in discovering your passion, your compassion, your calling.  And then listening to your heart and sensing God’s answers to that question.  Seeing what brings you joy.  Understanding what drives your excitement.  Recognizing what fills you with fulfillment.  It’s only in discovering that calling and passion that we’ll devote the hours necessary to become incredibly successful.

Yet even out of that passion, when the road grows long and difficult, we can get discouraged. It’s in those times our focus needs to stay on the one who has the power.  It’s in those times we need to stay convinced that God is guiding us and leading us into his promised success.

Another passage in Proverbs that encourages me.  ”When God approves of your life, even your enemies will end up shaking your hand.” (Proverbs 16:7, The Message)

Wow!  I love that thought. When you’re walking in ways pleasing to God even those who oppose you will eventually encourage you.  Even some of them will be won over.  In God’s grace he has promised us that abundant success and nothing and no one can keep us from it.

Are you laboring in obscurity?  Do you want to rise to overnight success?

Work at your passion and you will.  See you in the spotlights!

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Categories : Success, Wealth

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