Focus on these 2 things and you will always get great results

One of the launching pads to success is leveraging the goodwill and network of influential people. Most people are infinitely familiar with the age-old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” As with all clichés, there is a degree of truth to this adage.

While the whole truth is much more a combination of the two, the fact remains, getting a little help along the journey is often vital to one’s career or dream taking off. What’s less certain, is timing.

The problem — or benefit — of relying on others is this: you do not call the shots. You’re in control to the extent that you can focus on what you can control and influence through persuasion and persistence. But, your connections are the ones working behind the scenes to “grease the skids” and create opportunities for you. In that way, they’re the ones who have control.

Control is one thing. Fate is another.

While’s it’s easy to think that our fate rests in the mind, words or hands of the “network,” I believe our fate rests more in our control than we may think at first blush. Opportunities tend to arrive at our doorstep because we attract them with a fertile, positive state of mind. I believe opportunities are born from the seed of faith.

Everything begins with an idea, yet positive outcomes and golden opportunities come to those who back their idea with faith. From there, it’s about unwavering confidence, persistence and determination.

“I believe there’s an inner power that makes winners… And the winners are the ones who really listen to the truth of their hearts.” — Sylvester Stallone

The Story of Rocky

The real-life story of Sylvester Stallone seems almost as fictional as the screenplay he wrote for the movie, Rocky, which catapulted him to stardom and came to define his career — even 40 years later. At the time he was writing the screenplay for the movie, Stallone was so poor, he sold his own dog.

To call that desperate would be an understatement. Imagine having to sell your dog?

Keeping in mind his destitute situation, it’s easy to think Stallone was looking for- and perhaps even willing to settle on- the hope of a break, much less a deal for something bigger.

Ah, the confidence. The resolve. The belief. The willingness to keep going. A thing of beauty.

In the end, Sylvester Stallone sold his script and was rewarded with far less money to star in his own movie. At least in the short-term. You see, he would have received several hundreds of thousands of dollars more, had he simply sold his script, with no promise of acting. He wanted to be an actor and he knew that believing in himself would pay off.

It seemed that the timing was right on point when he received a gigantic offer of $300K at the time. But he knew his time was yet to come. It would simply take some persistence and unrelenting willpower to continue pushing himself and his idea into the minds of the Hollywood producers.

“Rocky won the Academy Award for best picture in 1976. At the awards ceremony, he read out all the rejection slips from those who said the film would be sappy, predictable and a film that no one would want to watch.” via-

“On a slim $1,075,000 production budget, “Rocky” went on to earn more than $117 million in the U.S. alone. The six-part “Rocky” franchise has since brought in more than a billion dollars worldwide.” via-

The Timing of Success

Stallone’s is one of the millions of stories that are strewn across the landscape of success, from those who have risked something- or even everything– to get their big opportunity. I’ve written previously how I subscribe wholeheartedly to legendary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden’s definition of success:

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”

If you believe in Coach Wooden’s definition- Stallone was already a success. He grinded, staying up late hours and never quitting in his belief that he would find success on his terms. I can only imagine how he felt in those moments, where it would have been so easy to give up his hope of acting, in order to pitch his screenplay and find a new fortune.

The man was pawning his wife’s jewelry for goodness sake! And yet, somehow, someway, the timing wasn’t yet right. He wanted more, and he wouldn’t be denied.

What’s so hard about this process of success for so many of us is the not-knowing. Tom Petty, if I may be so bold, was wrong. The waiting isn’t the hardest part. It’s the not-knowing that is the hardest part. Our generation has lost its faith as we’ve grown. We believe that things should always happen on our time. When they don’t, many of us lose hope.

That’s a horrible, defeating and destructive way to live.

While I’m a huge proponent of living life on your terms, I draw a distinction between getting life to bow to your advantage and, believing that time will always work in your favor. When we develop a values-based approach of success, predicated on time-tested qualities, we live life more and more on our terms.

All You Need is Faith, Perseverance, and Patience

We still need to have faith, perseverance, and patience that our journey will find its successful end, as long as we’ve done all that we can to ensure victory. Yes, the timing is largely out of our control, but it’s up to us to capitalize and focus on the things that are in our control. You must have faith that the timing of things for your future is in good hands.

One of the most powerful, lasting quotes of my young lifetime was spoken by a true innovator and genius, Steve Jobs. The words need no introduction. So in keeping to that promise, here you go:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” — Steve Jobs

The timing of things will work out when they are supposed to. Be patient and realize that instant gratification is best left for saccharine Hollywood scripts. Success simply will not always happen on your time. The secret is not to worry or despair that your reality hasn’t aligned perfectly with your dreams. Remain calm.

Connections and fortuitous alliances will happen not when you think they should but often when we least expect it. Have faith. Focus on the things that require your attention and go out there and get what’s yours!

This article first appeared on Medium.