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The Quietly Successful: Redefining Entrepreneurial Success in the Age of Media

In a world where success is often defined by media appearances, awards, and social media presence, it’s easy to overlook the quietly successful entrepreneurs who are too busy creating value and serving clients to bother with the limelight.

I am one of those individuals. I am so booked up and sought after that I see spending time on ‘’showing up’’ in the public eye as a waste of time and getting more attention as a potential distraction and even a threat to my work-life balance. What provoked me to write this article is yet another invite to go for an award — an award that I’d only consider investing the time in because the institution that runs it sits very close to my heart.

And I’m writing this because I believe it’s time to redefine entrepreneurial success in the age of media and talk about those who thrive away from the spotlight.

The Hidden Canyons of Success

As a serial entrepreneur, I have a lot going on. I am a psychologist specializing in sex and relationships running my private practice, I also run a business community, create courses, co-host a podcast that is continuously high in the charts, and I am running an animal welfare project and business consulting on another one and have some other projects I won’t even bother mentioning.

Despite my successes and achievements, I have somewhat accidentally chosen to remain invisible in the wider media, not appearing on awards lists, or in sites and magazines like Insider, Forbes, Entrepreneur, or elsewhere. My decision is down to the fact that I am so busy doing what I love, I just don’t want to risk my current success and balance by attracting more attention.

In my experience, success is not always loud, explosive, and visible. Success can be like a river — long, persistent, and quietly creating canyons others won’t see unless they search for or stumble upon by chance. These quiet canyons of success are created by business owners like myself who focus on our work, rather than seeking external recognition, visibility and/or validation.

Workaholism hit me hard

The truth is, I didn’t know about ‘’quiet success’’. In the beginning of my entrepreneur journey I thought I had to show up everywhere, be recognised etc. And I worked myself stupid to build my businesses to the point where they’re worthy of that public recognition.

I was a workaholic and worked 80h weeks to build my businesses, and then I had to heal from burnout, and repair my relationship with work and life as a whole — but that’s another story that I write and share more about here.

And as I read all the books on workaholism, on working smart not hard and walked on my healing journey — I learnt to say No to distractions. And somehow along that journey, something happened quietly… unexpectedly.

As I cared better for myself and built my businesses more mindfully, as more clients came through the door, as more seeking people found me, as my income grew day after day — I found myself too busy to even promote myself actively. My businesses were ‘’worthy’’ now, but I had no time for awards, big media and so forth. I was too busy doing what I loved, none of it involved paying for PR or pitching media and pushing for their attention myself.

The Power of Saying No

The thing is, as success built on I had to become a “NO” person, declining invitations to amazing events, sponsorships, projects and directorships, as well as offers to guest on podcasts or be interviewed for articles. I’ve declined partnerships and easy money. I’ve declined invites for speaking engagements and awards applications. I do this not out of disinterest, but because I am already overwhelmed and too busy — busy doing what I love. My online presence is minimal, consisting mainly of scheduled posts promoting my work and brands, all managed by my assistants.

This decision to say No allows me to maintain my work-life balance, dedicating time to family, friends, and personal interests without slipping into workaholism again. It’s a conscious choice to prioritize my current equilibrium over the risk and threat, to my peace and quiet success, an increased media attention can bring.

The Unsung Heroes of Entrepreneurship

The truth is that I now know many successful business owners who choose not to promote themselves, staying away from mass media and awards, simply because their work and careers don’t need it. These unsung heroes of entrepreneurship are quietly building empires, creating value, and contributing to their communities in meaningful ways. Their success is not defined by public recognition nor is it dependent on it. The satisfaction they derive from their work and the impact they have on their clients and customers is where their true focus is and that’s what brings them the peace of mind, the great financial stability and quiet success.

Let’s be honest. Success as an entrepreneur has many faces, and it’s time to recognize and celebrate the quietly successful souls like myself and many others who are thriving without the need for public attention, recognition or validation.

In the age of media, where success is often equated with visibility, let’s redefine what it means to be successful by acknowledging there are many entrepreneurs who are making a difference quietly.

After all, success is not always loud and visible; sometimes, it’s like the quiet persistence of a river, shaping the landscape in ways that only those who take the time to search will discover.

To my fellow business owners — quiet success is amazing, I sit on the bank of the river and see you reshaping the landscape. Keep going, Forbes doesn't need to know.


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