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This CEO Debunks the Myth of the Overnight Success (and What it Really Takes to Succeed)

Robert Glazer

Robert Glazer

Founder and CEO at Acceleration Partners
Robert Glazer is the founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, a global partner marketing agency and the recipient of numerous industry and company culture awards, including Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards two years in a row. He is the author of the inspirational newsletter, Friday Forward, and the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and international bestselling author of four books: "Elevate," "Friday Forward," "How To Make Virtual Teams Work" and "Performance Partnerships." He is a sought-after speaker by companies and organizations around the world and is the host of The Elevate Podcast.
Robert Glazer

In 2015, CEO and bestselling author Robert Glazer started sending a weekly note of inspiration to his team of 40 people at Acceleration Partners. Five years later, that simple note has evolved into an inspirational newsletter that reaches 200,000 people in over 60 countries each week.

Robert’s new book, “Friday Forward: Inspiration and Motivation to End Your Week Stronger Than It Started” is the story of how any person can build their capacity, lead others to do the same, and inspire thousands of people without even meeting them.

Robert was especially motivated to write this book when he saw how Friday Forward became a defining part of the company culture at his company, Acceleration Partners. The principles and lessons of Friday Forward—consistent improvement, self-driven accountability, and cultivating relationships with others—can serve as the backbone of any startup team or organization.

Too many of us are flooded with negative, conflict-driven news, and the 52 uplifting stories included in “Friday Forward” will give you the motivation to reach higher heights and elevate others along with you.

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The following is excerpted from “Friday Forward by Robert Glazer, a collection of 52 inspirational stories about leadership and personal growth, which is available for purchase today.

Years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Uri Levine, co-founder of Waze, speak to a small group. The popular social navigation app had just been sold to Google for $1.15 billion. At the time, the rumor on the street was that Google had bought Waze a year into their existence. I’ll admit that when I first heard that rumor, my initial thought was, “What a lucky ba**ard.” But I should have known better.

From Uri’s story, it became evident that Waze was not an overnight success. In fact, it was more of a decade long struggle with several near-death experiences that left the management team with very little equity. Fortunately, the company was driven by a founder (Uri) who has an incredible passion for solving logistical issues—so much so that he usually wears a T-shirt that says, “Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.”

Since hearing Uri speak, I’ve read several similar stories that continue to debunk the myth of the “overnight success,” including that of Ben Silbermann. Ben stuck with his pet project after a year of failures, declining traffic, and a lack of understanding about his product from friends and family. What kept him going was a genuine passion for his idea combined with a fear of failure and embarrassment. His grit paid off and now most of us are familiar with or use what became of his pet project: Pinterest.

Related: Former Airbnb Chief Ethics Officer Says Integrity is a Superpower in Business

So, why does the myth of the overnight success seem to perpetuate?

Perhaps because it’s often easier for us to ascribe success to luck or timing as opposed to passion, dogged determination, or thousands of hours of hard work and grit. It’s similar to when someone tries to excuse laziness or underachievement by remarking in their defense that the person is “smart,” as if that entitles them to success. It’s far better to recognize someone’s work ethic, rather than their intelligence. The truth is, nothing worth doing is easy.

We should stop permitting excuses and stories that mask what it really takes to achieve success, simply because we may be too afraid to make that investment ourselves.

The next time you hear about an “overnight success” story, dig a little deeper. Most are decades in the making.

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“Friday Forward” is available now wherever books are sold and can be purchased via

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