Want to know how to FAIL at your career and business?
You can take two different approaches to learning how to be successful.
One is you can focus on all the things you need to do right to succeed.
The other is you can look at all the reasons people fail, and avoid them. Especially the mindsets and principles they’ve adopted that will leave them perpetually in a state of failure.
Today’s Mailbox Monday didn’t come from a question someone posed.
Rather, it came from a comment someone sent in, regarding why they unsubscribed from one of the follow-up lists regarding my BTMSinsiders training.
Before I totally rant, let me tell you where I’m coming from…
You don’t have to give me money.
You don’t have to invest in my training.
I’m not trying to make you buy by telling you that you’re an idiot for not investing in MY training.
This is about being willing to invest in YOURSELF.
Invest in your learning. Invest in your development. Invest in your future.
Invest in your drive. Invest in your ambition. Invest in your impact.
Invest in what you want to achieve. Invest in your dreams. Invest in the path you need to take to achieve them, and the vehicle or vessel that will take you there.
Invest in YOU.
Okay, now for the email from my mailbox.
And this didn’t come in through the traditional channels, so I’ll explain.
When you unsubscribe from one of my lists, you’re taken to a small Aweber form that asks you why you’re unsubscribing. You choose an option to let Aweber track who is getting unsubscribes for what reasons (so they can kick out bad actors and keep legit delivery rates high for legit emailers). Then you can add a note if you’d like, that’s sent to the list owner, giving comments on why you unsubscribed.
I pretty much never reply — if we’re not a fit, that’s okay — but I always read these to know why people are leaving. Usually it’s “moving on in my career,” or “I can’t handle all the free value you’re giving!” Or something like that.
But today I got an unsubscribe from the registrants list on BTMSinsiders. This is the list you’re added to when you sign up to BTMSinsiders, but haven’t activated your membership yet. Usually people are on this list for only a minute or two, but if you don’t complete your transaction you’ll get a couple helpful emails over a couple days to make sure you’re able to get started if you’d still like to.
(By the way, this is pretty standard stuff, but a very powerful marketing strategy. If you have a step in your order process where someone enters their email address before placing the order, this can trigger a follow-up sequence that can add a few percent to your email list. We’re all busy, easily distracted, and don’t always complete orders we intend to. Having this email sequence can be a quick and easy way to bring those shoppers back. Just make sure your automation removes them from this list as soon as they order.)
Back to our main message…
Here’s the comment I got from this un-subscriber, verbatim…
its not for free
Again, this is not for me. I don’t need this person’s money.
But I’m recognizing a thought pattern — a heuristic, a filter — this person uses in their life. It’s NOT a helpful filter, either, even though I’m sure it was meant to be when it was installed.
And recently I’ve been trying to get radically honest with myself about this kind of thought pattern. Where I think something automatically, or respond to a situation automatically, and that thought or response actually creates the opposite effect of what I want.
And so you get the same radical honesty.
(By the way, aside from this side comment, I’m going to ignore the grammar completely and focus on the underlying meaning. In a list full of writers, I’m sure at least one reader is really bugged by that, even though it’s really the least of the issues here.)
What’s not for free?
In short, success.
You will invest money. You will invest time. You will invest blood, sweat, and tears.
You will invest a ton of emotional pain and agony. You will invest honesty in yourself, about all the ways you fail.
Success, by any measure, is an investment.
Including, but not limited to, the monetary kind — which will be most of our focus for the rest of this essay.
And if you doubt me, let me give you a quote from another Nebraskan who is at least slightly more successful than me, in terms of net worth…
Here’s Warren Buffett, quoted from a Forbes interview (and often repeated):
“Ultimately, there’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself. Nobody can take away what you’ve got in yourself, and everybody has potential they haven’t used yet.”
If you don’t listen to me or to Warren Buffett, you will fail…
You can give a million reasons you’re unwilling to invest in specific training.
Financially, maybe you don’t have the money right now, so have to look at something more within your budget. Okay, do that. But your budget can’t be free.
You can decide you don’t want something in particular, and that’s great that you’re figuring out what will likely work for you.
You can choose not to invest in something because you don’t like the person behind it, for whatever rational or totally irrational reason you want. Fine!
This list could be as long as all the decisions made by all the people in the world.
But there’s one reason people give to not invest that really should be abolished. And that’s that they simply don’t invest any money. That they only want what’s free.
I’m calling BS…
Back to what I opened with.
I’ve met a ton of people who’ve been remarkably successful.
Some have been huge students of success, like me. Who look to the giants who’ve already climbed the ladders, and find a way to stand on their shoulders.
Others have been students of failure. Focused on how they and others have messed up, and diligently tried to avoid making the same mistakes.
(Of course, any serious student of life will constantly be witnessing success and failure, and hopefully learning from both — most of us prefer to focus on one side or the other though.)
Here’s something that pretty much every successful person you’ll ever meet will agree on…
Invest in yourself is a success strategy.
Not investing in yourself will lead to failure.
If your filter for whether or not to do something is whether or not it’s free, you’re pretty much always guaranteed to stay in the camp of people who fail, and who continue to provide excellent examples of what not to do.
When I discovered copywriting in 2005, I was definitely NOT ready to be a full-time freelancer.
So I got a full-time marketing job instead, and through constant small investments in myself, I made constant small improvements in my career.
I was probably ready to become a full-time freelance copywriter by 2007 or 2008.
But it didn’t happen.
Then in late 2009, I made a BIG investment in myself, and committed myself to making it pay off.
3 months and 3 days later, I walked out of my J-O-B for the last time.
This might seem like some “Law of Attraction” stuff, or maybe it’s just a way to increase conviction in your intention, but I find that investing in yourself can be made to pay off in far bigger ways than you ever expect.
Eliminating this one decision-making filter from your habitual thought patterns could be one of the biggest breakthroughs of your life.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,