stapletonI’ve admitted on this blog before that I have a not-so-secret love of country music. The town I grew up in was next to a town called “Tobaccoville”. There was always going to be a little inherent redneck in me no matter how hard I tried to fight it.

Last night was the highlight of the year for country music: the CMAs. In my judgment, the CMAs are the best award show of the year, including the Grammys. It’s always a good time.

At the beginning of the show, there was a guy up for an award I’d never heard of:

Chris Stapleton.

I didn’t know his music but I knew from looking at him for one second that he was country music in its purest form. When he won new artist of the year, I was happy for him.

Then he won Album of the Year.

Then he performed with Justin Timberlake. (Before we go any further, go watch that video. It’s incredible).

Then he won Male Vocalist of the Year.

And I’d never heard of the guy!

So I looked him up.

Apparently the “New Artist of the Year” wasn’t so new.

Let me give you a quick hit bio of Chris Stapleton from Wikipedia:

  • He’s 37-years-old.
  • His first single was so poorly received they didn’t release his album.
  • He’d been in two other bands that had moderate success.
  • He was a song writer.

As I read about his journey from songwriter to band leader to solo artist, I saw how much unnoticed work had to happen before people paid attention to him.

It didn’t happen overnight.

He failed.

A lot.

He made other people famous when they sang songs he wrote.

If I told you right now that you would have to fight and claw with everything you had for 15 years before finally reaching a place that was “successful”, you’d probably say okay. You’d be willing to put your head down and work if you knew there was a payoff at the end of the tunnel.

Instead, what happens with a lot of us (myself included) is we don’t see the success right away and we want to give up. Without the guarantee of making it big, we want to move on to the next thing. We chase success and notoriety everywhere but we’re not willing to do the actual work.

We’re not willing to grind for 15 years before people know our name.

Overnight sensations are sexy. They’re fun stories to listen and to watch on tv.

But they’re not realistic.

Overnight sensations are sexy. But they're not realistic. Click To Tweet

For every overnight success story, there are thousands of people grinding away hoping to create their big break.

Are you willing to grind away or are you going to continue to chase the flash in a pan success story?

My favorite part of Chris Stapleton’s night at the CMAs came when Luke Bryan won entertainer of the year. In his acceptance speech, he mentioned how happy he was for Stapleton to win the awards he won. He said, “Watching Chris Stapleton have this night is so uplighting.”

The reason it was so uplifting to the biggest stars in the industry is because by all accounts, Chris Stapleton did it the right way. He worked his butt off, treated people well, and didn’t quit when things got hard.

Whatever your dream is: keep chasing it.

Whatever your goals in life are: keep working for them.

Don’t give up yet.

It may take 15 more years until people know your name or you feel you’ve arrived, but when you get there, it’ll be worth it.

The smile on Chris Stapleton’s face proved it.

Say your prayers and take your vitamins.

Have a nice day.