I've been wanting to write you this email.
I consider a lot of you folks to be my friends,
and I've been thinking about this email for a long time.
There is this perception of me that I live this amazing
lifestyle, traveling whenever I want and doing awesome
And heck... I just opened a restaurant (pictures to come later!).
All of that is true, but it wasn't always like that.
Some of you know that just 18 months ago, I lost pretty
much everything (or at least it felt like it).
One of my businesses went belly-up... a web designer
stole $20,000 from me and killed one of my other
businesses... then my brother got hit by a
My income went south... I lost my free time... and what's
worse... I felt like a ZERO.
Like everybody was succeeding but me. Like everyone
was *happy* but me.
(I was letting my "life circumstances" determine how
I felt about myself... not a good thing.)
I began to resent other people... and I shut myself up in
my room and didn't talk to hardly anyone.
I became so unhappy and so "not myself" that... to top it
all off... I drove away the girl that I loved, and she broke
things off just before I had planned to propose.
It was the worst.
And I worried... ALL THE TIME.
For a good three months I woke up in the morning and
felt sick to my stomach.
Bored... unhappy... stressed... anxious... depressed...
My doctor said that my adrenals were shot because of all
of the stress.
And then I developed heart palpitations because of it, too...
I was not well.
It took a good six months to get back on my feet... and
that was a process of getting myself back into shape,
building relationships, and reformatting my business.
It wasn't easy.
Through it all, I'll tell you that I could NOT have gotten
through it if it hadn't been for other people...
People I wanted to learn from, and people who just reached
out because I was going through a tough time...
(In the process, I learned that people are all that matter.)
Like my friend Brendon, who was my Bible study teacher...
My friend Mark, who mentored me about business and
became my dearest friend.
And Travis Sago, who you probably know as the "bum marketer."
Through all of that, I came out a much stronger person, and
I felt like I *had* to go through all of that in order to learn some
very difficult lessons about life.
In fact, when you go through a tough time, you come out on
the other end feeling almost indestructible... because if you can
go through Hell and come out with more knowledge and a stronger
sense of self... then nothing can stop you except yourself.
If I may, I'd like to give you some of the lessons that I learned
during that hard time, now that I'm on the other side of it 100%:
1) You are NOT what you do. You are NOT what you earn. And
You are NOT what people perceive you to be.
All of that is an illusion. Who you are is constant - it never changes,
and it's as valuable as any other person on this planet. What you
DO does not define you, and what you've DONE does not define
you. And most importantly, what you EARN is not what defines you.
That last one was hard for me. Especially in this "make money online"
world where people say money is everything.
2) Keep Your Business SIMPLE - if you are confused by
business, you are probably making it too hard. The simplest
solution is almost always the best solution.
3) Take Care Of YOURSELF First - I realized that I wasn't
being there for my mom by staying miserable. I couldn't support
my family if I felt bad all the time. So I got into shape and shored
up my income streams... and THEN I could really help people.
4) Never do what other people can do for you. If you want to have
a business, then we have to get comfortable letting other
people do the less important tasks. This not only increased
my productivity, but it kept me sane, too.
5) Get Off The Computer. Gosh, this one took me awhile.
After years of spending 15 hours a day at the computer, I
realized that I was driving myself crazy. I was WAY more
productive and creative when I went out with friends, went
to the beach, even just got in my car and DROVE for awhile.
When I got back from being out, my mind was much clearer
and more creative to get things done. It was amazing. The more
time I spent at the computer, the less I got done. If I worked in
chunks with real breaks, things got done. Crazy.
And one last tip... and this one is so simple but profound...
6) SURROUND yourself with the people that you want to BECOME.
You become the people that you hang around with. So I literally
immersed myself with people that I wanted to be like.
People like my friend Vinnie, who had a family and several
businesses while being a leader at his church, yet still had time
to talk me through life issues whenever I needed a friend.
(Wow, I just welled up even thinking about him.)
My friend Mark Anthony, who simply believed in me.
My best friend Mark, who I literally followed around everywhere
just to pick up on his habits and mindset and became my best
friend in the process.
Kevin Wilke, Jason Drohn, and the others who listened to me
whine on the phone and coach me through tough times.
And of course...
My buddy Travis Sago... who not only taught me about business,
but about life and peace and being a good husband and friend.
It was from him that I realized that you can be yourself
and still be successful.
And that money wasn't an end goal, just a means to whatever
other goals you have.
And how important it was to keep my body healthy in order
for my mind and my business to be healthy.
And a bunch of super specific, "aha" moment tips about
how to run my business with less stress and more freedom.
He's probably the wisest man that I know.
This email is getting super long...
But I hope that the lessons that I've learned along my bumps
and bruises are helpful to you in any small way.
At the very least, if you're going through a tough time,
I wonder if life is not giving you the opportunity to learn
valuable lessons that you can't learn anything else?
And if you don't learn them now, when?
Each of us are given a choice every day, to either see
the negative or to appreciate our blessings...
And how we "feel" about it doesn't determine that.
My rough patch 18 months ago was the darkest time
in my life... but it has opened up more light than ever.
I appreciate ya, all of ya. Even the negative nancies. Cuz
for awhile, I was too, until I went through a tough time that
made me stronger and happier.
I'll tell you more later, if you guys wanna know.
For now, I'm off to the opening of my new restaurant,
which I will tell you about another time.
P.S. Thanks for listening. And for being awesome.