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The Secret Is…There Is No Secret

If I had a dime for every business article that promised to reveal some “secret” to success?

Well, if I did, I wouldn’t be writing this column, I can assure you.

The original click bait was the huge headline on the magazine cover promising to reveal how you, too, could reach some magical economic Elysium–simply by reading an article inside!

Business is dirty. And by that I don’t mean metaphysically bad (although a lot of theorists and pundits indeed DO believe that); I mean messy, erratic, frustrating. Nothing comes clean or easy unless you were born with a silver spoon (and knife and fork these days) in your mouth or have good lobbyists and political connections.

You sweat it out hourly, you lose sleep if you sleep at all, you grind and pound and consume extra coffee during the day and maybe a sip or two more of something stronger at night.

Most of us who call ourselves entrepreneurs do so as a badge of honor, but a badge nonetheless, in a few ways similar to what a law officer wears. It’s a fight and others are out to get you, some honorably and some not, but unless you’re the U.S. Post Office, you’ve got competition. And you have to battle and be on guard also.

Sure, the entreprenurial life can be fun, challenging, bring out your best and instill pride–but, understatement of the year here–it’s hard.

Very hard.

There are no shortcuts or mystical insights if you want to succeed today. In an economy that still has not really recovered since 2008, most of us have to do three times as much with twice as less.

There’s your “secret”–except most everybody in business today knows it. That includes your competition and your customer and it can often be used as leverage in a deal, unfortunately.

The other part of the equation is that so much of society sees the business world and those in it as necessary evils, that “greedy” capitalist out to make a buck leaving ruined and gullible customers in his or her wake. Rodney Dangerfield had nothing on the entrepreneur.

In a recent television interview I caught, Nike founder Phil Knight said he believed that today’s entrepreneur had lost a lot of the respect that the term carried only a few years ago. I agree.

So, yes, as you know it’s easy to be negative. It’s almost an acceptance of reality.


When you do see someone succeed on the sports field, in a singing competition–or in business–it can and does inspire. It can lift you up from the negativity that the person who did well had no doubt felt at one time, too.

At the end of every single day you have to look in the mirror. Hopefully, win or lose, you still can respect the image.

By the same token, when you look out among your peers and respect them, celebrate their success and use that as fuel for your own business.

Every single time I get turned down for a sale it’s like a blow. If I remember, though, that when a sale comes through, it should be considered as a gift, a vote of confidence and an affirmation of your vision.

It’s only human nature to dwell on the negatives and let them fester and set in as self-doubt.Build, though, on the successes–however few and far between they may be–and move forward. Just keep moving.

It’s all about motion and progress. Every step ahead may be followed by a push two steps back–but you have to keep going.

That’s the “secret.”

In conclusion, my favorite quote of all time is applicable to what I’m trying to convey. I’ll leave it with you to ponder and hopefully use. Good luck–and keep moving forward.



Jack Criss

Jack Criss

Publisher and Executive Editor at BAMSouth.com
Jack Criss is the Publisher and Executive Editor of BAMSouth.com and owner of Criss Public Relations. He is a 30 year veteran of the business publishing industry as well as a former talk radio host, lecturer and author of "Ready, Aim, Right!" (Quail Ridge Press, 2004) and the forthcoming "The Great Greek Philosopher: Aristotle For Young People" (DagKat Press, 2017) as well as a work of teen fiction, "Book Island" and the non-fiction title "SuperfloUS: When Mediocrity Is Enshrined And Civility Fades." He was born, raised and currently lives in Ridgeland, MS and is the proud father of Katie and Dagny.
Jack Criss
Jack Criss
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