Let’s talk about success.
Specifically, starting from wherever you are — even if it’s at square one — and becoming successful.
I was recently on a copywriting forum where a new copywriter was asking for advice.
He railed off the long lists of all the advantages he DIDN’T have…
No real advantage that would suggest he could make it in this biz, much less be successful.
(And if you’re in some other business, replace “copywriting” with whatever business you’re in.)
And he wanted to know how realistic it was to expect success for himself.
I’ll tell you what…
The first thing I thought was…
“With that attitude, you shouldn’t expect success at all.”
In short, how much success you achieve is largely a result of how much discipline and dedication you put into it.
If you’re sitting around wondering if you can even make it, in light of all the roadblocks standing in your way, you’re doing the single-biggest thing that will stop success in its tracks…
You’re making excuses.
Successful people don’t make excuses.
Why? Because excuses give control away. They give control to your environment. Your circle of friends. Your enemies. Your current boss. Society. The list goes on. For every excuse, there’s somebody or something outside of you who YOU are letting control you.
Do those things matter?
Somewhat. I’m not going to lie to you. At 5’11”, if my goal were to play in the NBA, I’d have a HUGE disadvantage to someone who was 7’. I’d have to do something extraordinary to overcome that disadvantage.
And yet, in 99.9% of all we wish to do, it’s not real, but IMAGINED barriers standing in our way.
Taking responsibility is the opposite of making excuses.
If you want to be successful, you have to take responsibility for changing even those things that seem difficult to change.
For example, if you don’t have experience, find a way to get some, fast. Do work free, pro-bono, or using an irresistible offer letter.
If you don’t have connections, make them. Go where your industry goes, meet them, introduce yourself, provide value or at least be nice, and stay connected through follow-up.
If you don’t have the skills, get them. Invest in improving yourself. I sell investment newsletters all day long, and yet I’ll tell you that the stock market (or any similar investment market) is a stupid place to invest if you want to get rich. The most powerful investment you can make is in yourself, your knowledge, and your abilities. $1,000 invested today can become $100,000 or more, if it’s in building a skill that will generate income and equity for you going forward. Invest in yourself.
Here’s a little truth to remember…
We’re all born naked.
Yes, there are real advantages and disadvantages in life. But rich kids screw up, get addicted to drugs, do something stupid, and rot in a prison cell. While kids from the projects make it their personal mission to get ahead in life, and build multi-million-dollar businesses.
I’m continuously amazed at the dedication, discipline, and do-anything mentality of so many immigrant families I know and have met.
Most of my American-middle-class-born peers are going through their 30s just scraping by, trying to do as little as possible to get through. Sure, they have hobbies that they spend time doing, but they’re not dedicated to growing themselves or building anything to provide lasting value to the world.
While those immigrant families are living 3, 4 generations or 3, 4 families to a household… Working long hours at jobs my peers wouldn’t touch, building businesses, saving relentlessly, supporting their extended families and friends, and becoming huge successes in life. Oftentimes, they came to this country with nothing more than the clothes on their back, and simply took responsibility for creating the life they wanted.
We could all do with a little more of that attitude.
Want the results nobody else is getting? You better do the things nobody else is willing to do.
When I started as a copywriter, I knew nothing about it. My writing was thick and academic. I had a bunch of experience in sales, and did okay, but was never great. I definitely had ZERO connections in the industry, or reason to believe I’d succeed.
In fact, at the time I was working at the local gas company’s customer service call center. Answering the phone when some jerk hadn’t paid their bill all winter, and now on the first warm spring day we shut off their gas service and wanted our money. Listening, as they screamed in my ear.
While other “lifers” in that job (yes, it’s sad, but there are people that have made that their lifetime occupation) were reading People Magazine and telling jokes between calls, I was digging into books and discovering copywriting.
I decided I needed to work in marketing if I was going to make this happen, so I wrote a letter to a company basically telling them I was willing to work harder than anyone else. And when I got the job, I did. And we were hugely successful as a result.
Then, when everybody else would have been sleeping in until it was time to go to work, I woke up at 5 or 6 in the morning to write copy, before I went to my real job.
On my commute to work, when others would listen to the radio or their music, I was listening to marketing recordings. When I mow or work around the house, I’m also listening and learning. Every spare second, I’m improving myself.
And as I grew in skills and abilities, I aggressively reached out to connect with others in the industry.
It wasn’t easy for me.
I’ve been accused of being an extrovert. That’s not true. I’m definitely an introvert. I get recharged in quiet time by myself, not in speaking with others. But I made it a priority to break that for the sake of building a network in the industry.
These are the things you need to do if you want to rise to the top of any field.
Rules are made to be broken, and advantages are given to be squandered.
Doing what it takes, having the discipline and willingness to invest in yourself (time, money, energy, etc.), is what’s going to propel you to greatness and success.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,