I thought it would be my brightest hour — but it was one of my darkest…
A few months prior, I’d landed a gig writing promos for what is still one of the best financial copywriting teams on the planet.
There was tremendous upside potential in the job. Getting my promotions sent to MILLIONS of investors. Generating obscene amounts of cash, for the client, and for me.
I’d been excited about it.
And I was busting my butt to make the best of the opportunity.
But I was also doing some really stupid things.
For one, the person I was reporting to has what you might think of as questionable ethics. Basically, he believes his prospects are stupid. And he’s happy to say whatever he needs to say, to exploit them and get them to voluntarily give up their money.
He justifies it, in his mind, by saying they’re too stupid to know any better, so they deserve it.
That was the first red flag. And I was being stupid by not running the other way.
But I was greedy, and I saw the financial opportunity in success. So I played along.
The next stupid thing had to do with ADHD medicine.
I’d been diagnosed with ADHD a few years prior. The Inattentive subtype. Which means that even though you don’t see my body bouncing off the walls, my mind is. Which sometimes is a challenge, and sometimes is a super power.
Well, tied to this opportunity, I decided to try ADHD medicine for the first time.
Just in case you don’t know, most ADHD meds are legal meth. They’re amphetamines, in the same chemical family.
(There’s actually one brand of ADHD meds that IS methamphetamine. Seriously. It’s called Desoxyn. And it’s the same chemical as the street drug. Manufactured cleanly enough to make Walter White proud.)
Well, I stuck to my prescribed doses, but I quickly became dependent. It’s really easy to addicted to the stuff. That’s why it’s so dangerous.
Before long, I was hooked…
And the third big stupid thing I did was to let my decision-making turn South. Basically, because of the ADHD drugs, I got good at focusing on little things. But I forgot the big picture.
So I’d obsess over little details in my copy. Tweaking, and tweaking, and tweaking. But never finishing anything.
And because my deal was per-project, taking longer on the project was impacting my finances.
Sure, there was the possibility of a big windfall when the promo launched. But in the meantime, we had bills to pay. And since I was waiting on client fees, I started eating into our family savings.
It was a huge stress…
I strongly believe our minds and bodies are tied together in ways modern medicine doesn’t really understand or appreciate.
And what happened next is what fully convinced me of that fact.
I was stressed because of the gig, that wasn’t nearly as ideal as I’d thought. Being addicted to the ADHD meds was also a huge stress, mentally and physically. And I’d managed to layer financial stress on top of all of it.
It was stress, on top of stress, on top of stress.
Then, it all blew up.
My wife and I had a painful conversation about the fact I was pulling out of savings. And my immune system just broke.
Within a few days of each other, I had a MASSIVE infection, PLUS something called labyrinthitis.
The infection was in my elbow, in the fluid-filled sac called a bursa. It was swollen as big as a golf ball, and made moving my arm hard. When I got to the doctor, they ended up giving me a huge antibiotic shot, straight to the butt-cheek. “The biggest needle they keep in the office,” they told me. Fortunately it didn’t rupture, and they didn’t have to drain it. But I got totally wiped out by an intense treatment of antibiotics.
Next up, I got dizzy. Not, “sit down for a few minutes and it will go away” dizzy. So dizzy I threw up every time I got off the couch. Turns out it was labyrinthitis, or inflammation in the inner ear. I was stuck in our TV room for days. In a fit of desperation, I drove to the pharmacy. By the time I got there, I was so dizzy I had to sit in the car for 15 minutes before even walking in. I questioned my decision to drive in the first place.
Eventually, motion-sickness medicine reduced the dizziness enough I could move around. It would take weeks for it to go away. (Fortunately it did, for me — others get labyrinthitis and are always dizzy.)
It may have been my darkest hour…
In that state, I knew the stress was too much. I knew I was a total mess.
I knew something had to change. That it was on me. And that it needed to be RIGHT AWAY.
I had a few more ADHD pills in the bottle. I poured them into the toilet.
I had one more months’ prescription. I tore it up.
And I decided I needed to step down from what seemed like it was the perfect financial copywriting opportunity.
Looking back, it took hitting rock bottom to make all the right decisions.
It took facing my darkest hour, to begin to make better decisions.
I learned that pursuing the most financially rewarding opportunity isn’t always the best choice for me.
I learned that I shouldn’t take ADHD drugs.
I learned that I’m not happy unless I’m persuading ethically.
I also learned a lot about how strong negative emotions can be, in terms of getting you to make a decision. (Which is an important part of my Emotional Direct Response Copywriting training.)
I also went on to learn that nearly every great copywriter has their own version of this story, as does almost every successful entrepreneur.
Often times it takes hitting rock bottom and seeing ourselves do really stupid things to wake up and realize that’s not who we want to be.
And then we use our better decisions to create the success we truly wanted in the first place.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,