Success Is Not a Sprint: 3 Tips for Workin’ Like a #ninjatortoise

Success is not a sprint.


I’m gonna be really honest here.

I’ve thought about quitting my business on more than one occasion this year.

The thoughts don’t last long…but they’ve been there.

Should I shut down ACAC?
What on earth am I doing with Naptime Empires?
Do I really want to put myself (+ my family) through the unpredictability of entrepreneurship?

Answer key: nope, not sure (+ that’s okay), YES.

I had a really extraordinary first year in business.

I had a great SECOND year in business.

Third year was pretty impressive too (especially considering deployments + pregnancy).

Fourth year is off to a….character-building…. start.

Lower lows, lower highs, and a big realization:

Success is not a sprint.

And while breaks are important + necessary at times, quitting is not an option for me.

I will POWER WALK my way to the hypothetical finish line if I need to.

If you’re feeling frustrated that you’re not getting “there” fast enough, this video is for you.

In it I share three tips to embrace your inner (#ninja)tortoise and feel good about making slow(er) but steady progress.

Click below to watch (or take a listen):

Click here to watch directly on YouTube.


#spoileralert – The tortoise wins.

Here are three ways you can embrace your inner tortoise and start making slow, but steady, progress in your business:


When you’re tackling a big project, like creating a course or a new website, it can feel overwhelming.

Don’t let “there’s just SO much to do” be an excuse that keeps you from moving forward.

As long as you know that project supports your goals (if you’re not sure, I know a guy who can help you with that ;)), break it down into baby steps.

If …nay…WHEN you’re feeling stuck, embrace your inner What About Bob? and map out the baby steps.

(Master the micro-hustle, as I discussed here with T-Herm.)


After you’ve got your list of baby steps, it’s time to set deadlines.

Realistic ones that light a spark under your buns but don’t suck the fun out of the journey.

(We don’t want you passing out as you cross the finish line. That just won’t do.)

Someday ain’t a day of the week.

Add the baby steps to your calendar and make them REAL.

NOTE: You don’t have to attempt #allthethings today (read The One Thing if you need help narrowing down which things matter most),  but DO slap a timeline on your to-dos so you can rest easily knowing their day will come. Literally.


Throughout this year I’ve made slow but steady progress bringing Naptime Empires to life by enlisting the help of other people.

For legal stuff. For photography. For development. For podcast setup.

Even though I’m STILL not sure where I’m going with this new project, I know I’m goin’ somewhere with it and these are all pieces of the puzzle that I will want and need in place eventually.

And so I babystep.

When other people are involved and waiting on ME to do my part so they can do THEIRS, I get ish done.

You will too.

Whether you’re accountable to people you’ve hired, or to your mama, you need to enlist people who will meet you at the metaphorical marathon checkpoints and throw a “woohoo!” and some Gatorade your way.


When you’re feeling frustrated that things aren’t moving as fast as you want – that you’re not getting the results you want right outta the gate – that it’s working so well for so-and-so but not you…

Snap out of it, dude.

Zoom out for a minute.

Just because things aren’t EASY and quick, are you seriously willing to quit?

Pack up your toys and go home?

NOPE. You are NOT goin’ out like that.

You’re gonna hit the reset button, lace up your shoes, and start walkin’.

Doesn’t have to be a sprint.

It can be a TOTALLY AWKWARD-looking power walk, in fact.

You could cartwheel. Take a break and sit on the curb.

Get a mysterious second wind and sprint for a few.

Feel a little nauseous and call your mom for a pep talk.

Skip out for a potty break.

But then you get back on course, start the clock, put one foot in front of the other, and keep movin’ to the next checkpoint so your support team has the opportunity to cheer you across the finish line.

This entrepreneurial stuff isn’t easy or EVE-RY-ONE would do it.

Remember that you CHOSE this path. Every day you can choose this.



In the comments below, tell me:

What’s ONE meaningful baby step you’ll take to move forward TODAY?

Do the darn thing, friend. #likeaninjatortoise.


P.S. Speaking of baby steps….almost two months ago I created a FB group called “The Naptime Empires Playground,” and I’ve just now worked up the nerve + energy to share the link with folks. #takethatResistance! If you’d like behind-the-scenes scoop, ideas, and inspiration as I create the first season of the Naptime Empires™ podcast (+ whatever comes after that), sign up here + I’ll send the link right over:

P.P.S. If you liked this post, I’d GREATLY appreciate it if you’d use the buttons below to share it with your buddies! You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel if you’d like to see new videos before I’ve had time to turn them into blog posts ;)



  1. Casey

    Thanks so much for sharing Nikki. Giving up is not an option for me either, although I question it often! I’ll keep plugging away and taking those baby steps. Can’t wait to see Naptime Empires unfold.

  2. Samantha Lee Wright

    Yes Yes and YES! I soooo needed this this morning. Been feeling like success will never happen for me, been though I work my tushy off! But working hard and working smart are NOT THE SAME, and so I’m taking all of my “failures” and turning them into big lessons.
    But honestly…I. Am. So. Tired.
    So today I dropped the kids off for their half-day of daycare and instead of going home to work, I am parking myself at the local bagelry so I can’t crawl in bed and take a nap.

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      I highly recommend napping when you can, dude. There’s only so much we can give / expect of ourselves when we don’t have that basic need handled! zzzzz

  3. Alejandra

    I love how real you are. My business has grown slowly but steadily for three years. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into comparing with others and telling myself I should push harder and run faster, but the truth is that slow and steady works for me. I look forward to following along with your new adventures.

  4. Alicia

    Thank you Nikki! This entrepreneur life is a challenge at times and life can get us off course. But today I’m going to a local networking event. I typically dislike these meetings but I have a group for mamas that I am trying to get off the ground, one that I know is needed, and if people don’t know I’m there, they can’t use the resource. (How’s that for a pep talk?? Lol)

  5. Tamara

    Yes! I so needed to hear this today. Thank you for expressing when so many of us maintain as secret fears.

    The step I’m going to take today is to write the blog post I have scheduled for Monday. Then, over the weekend, I’m going to break down my new website design into baby steps and slot them into the time I have free next week.

    Thanks for your encouragement and inspiring example, Nikki! Your authenticity makes all of us feel less alone.

    Big hugs all around!

  6. Arielle

    This was just the little nudge I needed to stay accountable and create my content piece for this week! #teamtortoise

  7. Ricki

    Me, too, mee, toooo! Today’s message really hit home today for me as well. I’ve often fallen into the “woe is me, maybe I’ll just quit” mindset, but then inevitably, I come back to exactly what you said: quitting isn’t an option. Because, really? Nope. Channeling my inner tortoise! :)

  8. Candice

    Thanks Nikki, I needed that. You’re right. I’m Not going out like that!

  9. Jane

    I had honestly just been thinking this last week about how instant amazing results as a new entrepreneur (i.e. you!) would affect someone (i.e. you!) down the track. And I see that you’re gonna be fine. That you’re gonna continue to excel and rock. If anyone can survive that shock of instant success, it’s you!
    Thank you for the “embrace your inner tortoise”. It’s so helpful. And you’re so supportive.

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Thank you so much, Jane. This year has been a doozie in some ways, and I’m finally sorting through the lessons, diving deep to figure out how I can share them in service and truth. #onit

  10. Tameka

    Thank you for sharing your heart, Nikki! This post was right on time for me. I’ve been
    feeling similar as I’ve just re- launched my business after re-branding.

    Today, my baby step will be to add my new opt-in as a pop-up to my website.

    Cheers! <3

  11. Abigail Jackson

    This is exactly what I needed today! Thank you so much, Nikki! I’ve been feeling lately that I need to do MORE. (More…what…I wasn’t sure.) I just needed the encouragement that taking small steps is still taking it. :) And #ninjatortoise is exactly the mental picture to keep me going. :) Thank you! My baby step is going to be engaging with my email list on a more regular basis.

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Deal, Abigail! How do you define “more regular”? Weekly? Biweekly? MOST weekly? ;)

  12. Lauren @ Rustic Honey

    Always love your videos! This one made me laugh when you were doing the whining voice… “Oh I have so much to do”… “maybe I should just quit”… I can relate so much to that inner voice as I’m sure many women can. Yes, we have a lot to do but it can be manageable and no, we won’t just quit! I don’t know why but we all fall into those feelings from time to time. I appreciate your video! So uplifting and motivating! Thank you so much! :)

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      So glad (my whiney voice) resonated, Lauren! Now you’re uplifting ME :)

  13. Hannah

    This was just what I needed to hear! Thank you.

    Sometimes it seems as if housework and taking-care-of-baby-work are all consuming and there is just not time to work towards my business goals. This gave me just the boost forward that I needed to actually make time (even just a couple hours!) to work on my next book.

    Knowing that you, as a mother and military mom, can reach for your goals and actually make your dreams come true is greatly encouraging to me. Keep up the wonderful work!


    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Thanks for the love, Hannah!

      I totally hear you. Enlisting part-time support with the little ones and the house has been HUGE for me this year. Like seriously not optional any more.

      Also: Are you connected in my Naptime Empires FB group yet? If not, join us via the link in the welcome email from!

  14. Elyse

    Oh gosh! I desperately needed to hear this pep talk AND get reassured that other people go through this as well. Thanks for sharing Nikki!

    The baby step I took today was adding voiceover to a few videos to start batch content, so I’m not scrambling (or doing nothing) all the time. Also huge because I decided I was going to use some video content, even though it wasn’t *perfect*. Imagine that. ;)


    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Scrambling or doing nothing…Elyse, we are workflow soulmates. #progressnotperfection

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