The 2 Factors That Determine Your Potential for Success

UPDATED: September 28, 2016
PUBLISHED: September 28, 2016

I truly believe, 100 percent, that for every person reading this article, I can go one by one and determine your potential for success by looking at only two basic principles.  

Related: 4 Ways to Turn Your Potential Into Success

The first factor is your work ethic. I can bet on the fact that you probably don’t know any “successful” people who have built themselves up and didn’t put in the hard work. The second factor, and the one that most people struggle with, is having patience.

Let me explain.

Success doesn’t happen to you; you make it happen.

Sure, you can attribute a lot of my success to my skill and talent as an entrepreneur, but I think it really just boils down to one thing: I win because I work my face off.

Success is hardly ever about accidentally “being in the right place at the right time.” It’s about working hard to position yourself there. Hustle is the most controllable thing that can affect your outcome.

In high school, while my friends went to Jersey Shore on weekends, I was working at my parents’ liquor store. I wanted to learn the business and hone my craft as an entrepreneur. By 2006, I was hosting Wine Library TV, my web show to provide value to the wine community and build awareness for the store. I made videos about wine every day, five days a week.

When Wine Library TV finally took off, I received a ton of emails from people who would say things like, “Gary, you’re so lucky the show’s so successful.” I replied to every one of those emails that my “success” wasn’t from luck. What they didn’t understand was that I had been working every weekend and holiday since I was 14 years old. I was building Wine Library’s business for 16 years before I started even started Wine Library TV. I was putting in the work for more than a decade before I even showed up on camera. None of this is an accident.

The bottom line is that you have to put in the work. It’s as simple as that.

Hustle is important, but it’s only part of the equation.

Related: First Work Smart, Then Work Hard. (And Hustle 24/7/365.)

There’s no such thing as an “overnight success.”

The other part of determining success is patience. Lacking patience is the variable that usually prevents people from reaching their goal. People think that only working hard for a specific amount of time guarantees huge results. That’s rarely the case.

One of my favorite stories comes from the beginning of this year. In January someone wrote to me that they read my first big article about Snapchat and got pumped to start using the platform. He said he was “really going at it hard, but just wasn’t getting the results yet.” You know what the problem was? He was emailing me in February—only a month later. That’s just not long enough to see real results.

Most of the time, you have to play the long game. For example, when I started Wine Library TV, hardly anyone watched it for the first 19 months. Going in, I understood that my videos weren’t going to instantly go viral. I had to work up a cadence and build my brand first.

There is no such thing as an “overnight success”—you can’t hustle for a day and think you’ll achieve your goal the next day. Not only do you have to work hard, but you have to keep putting in the work. There’s no avoiding it.

If you have the audacity to want to win big and live your life on your terms, then you have to be willing to put in the time. If your goal is something that you truly want, you can’t give up on it if you don’t see results in the first (or 19th) month.

You have to be honest with yourself that it’s going to take both hard work and patience to get there. Look yourself in the mirror and ask if the time and work you’re putting into your goals realistically supports what you want. Even after you decide what your goals are, the hard part is maintaining the hustle afterwards. If you can maintain your hustle and understand that patience will give you the power to make your goals happen, you have a far better chance at succeeding.

Related: 5 Qualities You Need to Reach Your Biggest Goals

Gary Vaynerchuk builds businesses. Fresh out of college he took his family wine business and grew it from a $3 million to a $60 million business in just five years. Now he runs VaynerMedia, one of the world's hottest digital agencies. Along the way he became a prolific angel investor and venture capitalist, investing in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber and Birchbox, before eventually co-founding VaynerRSE, a $25 million angel fund.

Gary also currently hosts The #AskGaryVee Show, a way of providing as much value as possible by taking questions about social media, entrepreneurship and family businesses, and giving his answers based on a lifetime of building successful, multimillion-dollar companies.