Today, I’m going to give you the advice I wish I could’ve gotten earlier in life. These are the hard-won lessons I’ve learned over 43 years of life and business. I’ve eaten out of dumpsters, I’ve been homeless, and I’ve had near-fatal anxiety attacks when I thought my business was about to collapse.
You don’t need to go through those hardships to learn these lessons. In fact, I’m sharing this with you today in the hopes that you can skip past the suffering and heartache and go straight to success, wealth, and fulfillment.
This advice will work at any point in your life, so keep reading even if you’re past age 25.
Age 14: Pick One Thing, Go All In
To become successful in anything, absolutely anything, takes about 6 to 10 years of experience. If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you need to spend the next decade creating and selling products.
If you want to become a successful athlete, you need to spend the next decade practicing and hitting the gym. If you want to become a successful artist, you need to spend the next decade creating your art and putting it in front of people.
And I’m giving you permission right now to pick that one thing and ONLY care about that one thing. Be focused, be relentless, and don’t let the fake entrepreneurs on Instagram distract with promises of “overnight success.”
On the flip side, don’t let the average or mediocre people tell you that you’re “too intense” or that you’re wasting your time on this thing. Stay focused, do the work, and the rewards will come.
Age 20: Learn to Sell
Whatever you are most passionate about, the key to success is to learn how to sell it. When I was at age 20, I was a personal trainer because I was passionate about fitness.
All I cared about back then was where all the muscles insert and originate, the posterior chain, all this knowledge about the human body that trainers need to deliver a good workout.
Now don’t get me wrong: you do need to learn the fundamentals of your craft. You have to know what you’re selling before you can sell it. What I’m saying is: don’t stop there.
Whatever your passion is, learn what motivates people to spend money on it. Learn the difference between a feature and a benefit. Figure out the emotional reasons that trigger people in your market to buy—not the logical reasons they talk about after the fact.
For example, I eventually learned that most personal training clients don’t give a crap about human anatomy. They care about getting their confidence back and looking good in the mirror. So that’s what I learned to sell them.
Age 25: Stick to it
At age 25, I was homeless for three months in San Diego because I didn’t stick to it. I had been working as a personal trainer and struggling to make money. What I should’ve done was learn how to sell my training better and make more money (like I just said here!)
Instead, I pivoted to trying to sell supplements online because I thought that would be easier. Turns out, I was way too early to the Internet (Google wasn’t a thing yet) so I ended up wasting time and money and putting myself in an even worse situation.
The path to success is not a straight line. You will face hardships and disappointments. You will the limits of your current skill set. No matter what happens, remember this:
You have the power to improve your skills, change your habits, and upgrade your thinking at any point in your life. When you run into a new challenge, you always have to power to find or invent a new solution for it.
Stick to it, because that’s the only way to become the best in your industry. Those challenges are there to weed out the people who are weaker and less committed than you are.
And if you want to hear more advice for my younger self (and Craig Ballantyne’s advice to his younger self) click here to listen to our podcast.