A Super Bowl Win Does Not An Overnight Success Make

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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American Football Goalpost Buy at Art.com

Overnight success is a lie.

To be good at anything we need practice, and practice takes time.

The idea of an overnight success is ludicrous, even if the press lives to tell us differently.

Those who have made it through to grab the brass ring say,

“You’ll think you are on the verge of death early and often, but you aren’t— and you can make it through if you start with an idea that people want and keep working on building something people want.”

I believe people want – and need support in understanding what it takes to achieve their dreams.  It’s why I started 8 Women Dream.  I want the women here to serve as an example of the thoughts and actions which move us closer to our dreams, or how we sometimes allow life to get in the way.

Both tell the whole story.  And judging by the dates of the posts on this blog – which stretch back into 2009 . . .

Dreams are not made overnight.

They are hard work, often marred by set-backs and sometimes even boredom.

Yes, boredom.

Dreams require hard work, and that work can be tedious.  It’s the dieter who continues to eat raw vegetables, even when she thinks she can’t take one more bite.  It’s the student who continues to work the minimum wage job, while he puts himself through college – living off of Top Ramon and popcorn until he graduates years down the road. It’s that band that plays at 2nd hand club after club for ten years, while working odd jobs, until someone gives them a chance to be heard by the masses.

Dreams are accomplished by never taking ourselves out of the game – even if that game takes years to complete.

Which brings me to thoughts of the New Orleans Saints playing in Super Bowl XLIV.

It’s quite the come-back story which has all the markings of a dreams-come-true heroic tale. Only four years ago the New Orleans Saints faced an uncertain future after Hurricane Katrina. They were forced to play their home games away, while New Orleans rebuilt itself  – along with their coliseum, which housed so many after the storm. (An image I will never forget).

Many weren’t sure if New Orleans could come back from such devastation. Rebuilding takes time.

5 years time and they still aren’t done.

The New Orleans quarterback, Drew Brees once suffered an almost career ending shoulder injury with San Diego in 2005.  There’s 5 years of comeback work in his story too.

Could you stay with your dream for 5 long years?

Could you stay with it when others tell you to quit?

It’s a question often pondered by the members of this group, along with:  Is this going anywhere? Am I wasting my time?  What if I can’t do this?  Am I doing enough?  Will people laugh at me if I fail?  What if I am the only one who doesn’t make it?  Am I holding the group back?  Do I really feel like doing this anymore?  This is harder than I thought.

The New Orleans Saints franchise was formed in 1966 with players who did not play in today’s Super Bowl win.

The dream was set in motion by people who believed New Orleans should have a championship team.  Each person who worked for, played for, coached and supported the New Orleans Saints over the years helped make today’s dream a reality.

Do we even know who those people are?

There is years of work, sweat and tears behind today’s win. Toiling away behind closed doors, without fame or admiration, coaches and players have trained, fought and perfected their skills.  They did not give-up through injuries, divorces, failed relationships and illness.  They stayed in the game.

And by staying in the game, they set in motion the wonderful super bowl win for a city who needed an impossible dream-come-true story.

Seth Godin, who’s views on success I admire, says, “The goal, I think, is to be an overnight failure, but one that persists. Keeping costs low, building a foundation that leads to the right kind of story, the right kind of organic growth. Kathleen McGowan, wrote a book that she believes in, one that was worth investing years of her life into. And then she painstakingly made progress until she became the next big thing.”

Just like New Orleans is now the next big thing.

The Ultimate Super Bowl Book: A Complete Reference to the Stats, Stars, and Stories Behind Football's Biggest Game - and Why the Best Team Won

I myself anticipate 8 Women Dream being called an overnight success too, but all of you will really know that it has taken me 45+ of pre-work years to get here — just like the Saints.

Congratulations New Orleans on your 46-year, overnight success.


  • Veronica

    everytime I read one of your blogs, I continue to think, damn what a great job she does.

    Great job, sister.


    • Catherine, Site Admin

      Thank you Veronica and thank you for my book.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Thanks Wendy! She (Oprah) is the queen of media too.

    Well, as the online stars begin to take over, we will probably see the face of media change.

    Thanks Lisa – missed your input on Friday.

    Thank you Rachel – your input is the best.

  • Wendy

    Great post Catherine and I hope your knees are feeling better. Those overnight success stories are either very rare flukes or nonexistent. And it is difficult not to get caught up in the media hype. I believe our commercial society has left behind our middle age generation. I was watching the Grammies and it felt like it had become more about a model singing then about the quality of music. Thank goodness for people like Oprah that remind us there is still hope beyond all the media.

  • Great post Cath and a great reminder for ALL of us to keep pushing through the doubts and obstacles… I think there really is a “myth” out there sometimes that success can happen instantaneously and that just isn’t reality. Besides, isn’t it nicer in the end to feel like we’ve earned it through our intention, work and creation?

    I’m with Rachel too – FEEL BETTER dear fearless leader! We need you healthy at the helm! :)


  • Rachel

    Mmmm. Sean Payton was a reserve quarterback with the Bears back in 1987. He wasn’t very good then (not for a quarterback in the pros, anyway.) Since then, he’s found his place and has arguably become the best in the world at it.

    Feel better, Cath. I sure hope they get the issues worked out with your meds!

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Rem your support is amazing and I am so glad you decided to be a part of this.

    This week I need to buy some knee pads and new running shoes.


  • Remy G

    Cath, what a timely post! When my clients get to a breaking point, and they want change NOW, I often say “you need to be patient, cause this issue didn’t happen over night, it took 10 years to get this way – so give it some time to start changing.” Thanks for all of your support to all of us and for keeping us on track – Rem