Success And The Reverse Frog Pot Theory

That question creeps into my head once a day, when I steal a moment to take a look past my several dozen apps and open tabs. When taking an inventory of the room around me, I am always surprised to find 23 hardworking and talented people who help me fulfill my dreams. They bring energy, life and results to my vision every day.

I guess it wouldn’t be so amazing if I wasn’t on the verge of total failure just a few years ago.

And no, this is not another post about the failures of another entrepreneur. On the contrary, it is about the ways in which success approaches us stealthily. It seems that the failure and monotony of everyday work depends on each other — and in that complicated relationship, success often builds steam silently.

Failure is a series of slow and small mistakes

I realized this last year while attending a business coaching event, hoping to hear the same things as always. What I didn’t expect to hear was how to humanly boil frogs. My inner survivorman was immediately intrigued by the presentation.

According to the speaker, it seemed that frogs were unaware that they were slowly burning to death. In fact, if you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, the Frog will do what is expected-get the heck out of Dodge. But if you put that same frog in a pot of cold water and slowly increase the heat to a boil, the Frog will peacefully boil to death.

The speaker used this notion to convey something important about business: that failure is often a series of slow, small, unnoticed mistakes that eventually end up cooking you alive.

Although I subscribe to this theory, I believe that there is equal power in reversing it. I think cooking Frogs can also be a powerful metaphor for how success happens.

Don’t believe overnight success stories

Success takes time to boil too, doesn’t it? For seven years of building my business, I’ve made thousands of decisions. Sometimes, I made the right decision. More times than I like to admit, I did the wrong ones. Regardless of their right or wrong, each decision heated the water.

My success today is not due to a single event, acquisition, sale or decision. It is due to a combination of all small victories, minor setbacks and uneventful hours of hard work. During the peaks and falls, I didn’t realize I was moving forward. I was heating the water throughout the process.

Without my knowledge, the routine was slowly boiling my fear.

Boil Your Fears Slowly

Fear makes a fat, ugly frog. It’s a vicious-looking thing, covered with warts with a strong enough Squawk to awaken the dead. The only way to shut it up is to boil it slowly with hard, unglamorous work. I would have saved myself a lot of headaches if I had noticed that in my moments of fall.

We types of entrepreneurs often get bogged down in uneventful hours. If we don’t see immediate results and great displays of appreciation, we begin to worry our attention tends to diminish. If we’re not careful, we’ll let a little backhand kill our tenacity.

Success doesn’t really work the way we desperately want it to. I have found success to be discreet and stealthy.

Success is unearthed, not stumbled upon. Build your dream business your dream decision one well-informed decision at a time. Bend over, focus on doing even small tasks well, and let the water warm up.

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