I proposed to my wife 10 days after I met her.
A few months later, her father arranged for me to ‘meet’ several of his friends at a party.
They were big men and they towered over me.
I felt like I was surrounded by giants.
They looked me in the eyes and they gave me a speech.
They literally promised me that they’d hunt me down if I ever did anything to hurt Monique.
It was scary.
Although I could secretly hear Robert De Niro’s voice in my head, from the movie Meet The Parents! “I will be watching you and if I find that you are trying to corrupt my first born child, I will bring you down, baby. I will bring you down to Chinatown.”
Many years of marriage and two children later—one of those giants came up to me at her dad’s retirement party.
Towering over me once again, he asked, “Remember that moment when we surrounded you all those years ago?”
“Oh, yes,” I replied, “I never forgot.”
“You passed our test!” he said, with a smile.
3 awkward secrets
That little story contains within it 3 awkward secrets to success that I rarely hear people discuss:
- A network of support
I’m hard-working, driven and ambitious. Always have been.
You too, most likely. That’s why you’re here, right?
But—despite what Robbins, Vaynerchuck and Cardone will tell you—massive action, constant hustle and an obsession with being first are not the secrets to success.
Sometimes taking action is key but sometimes tiny steps are essential.
Sometimes it’s great to be in hustle mode but sometimes you need to slow down, to speed up.
Sometimes it’s useful to be obsessed with being first but sometimes you win by coming second. Or third or fifth, if you don’t compromise your values.
I have an insatiable desire for what’s next. I have a low threshold for boredom. I like to break the rules—when most people are doing it one way, I’m pretty certain to do it the other way. I’m always learning—I believe in coaching so much that I’ve invested over a million dollars and thousands of hours in my own personal growth and professional development.
But above all, I’ve been lucky.
I was lucky to be born when and where I was.
I was lucky to have supportive parents who also pushed me.
I was lucky to have been fired from my job as a teacher. It pushed me out beyond where my courage would ever have naturally led me.
And I was lucky to meet Monique fifteen years ago. Because it was at a time that I was pushing at the very limits of my courage.
If you are reading this, I know one thing for certain.
You’ve been lucky at times in your life, too.
And if you want more luck in your life, gratitude is key. Take a moment, at least once a day, to give thanks for the life that you lead and the opportunities you’ve had.
Gratitude for what you have creates the space for more of what you don’t have.
(Here are 50 ways to create more luck in your life).
If you really want to get to the next level of success, commit to the long-haul.
Stop looking for shortcuts. Look for longcuts instead.
Do your reps.
Rest. Eat well. Sleep well.
Then do more reps.
One of my most read articles ever is called, How To Become An Overnight Success As A Coach—in Just 46 Years.
The tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) is: If you want to be great, keep going. There are no shortcuts.
Be in it for the long haul. Choose a mission to commit to for the next 25 years.
Your secret weapon is the patient execution of what everyone else knows they should be doing.
A couple of weeks ago, I spent 6 hours filming new videos.
By the end of the day, we had only filmed 11 of the 16 videos I had planned to make. So I apologized to the videographer.
He replied, “Are you kidding? 11 videos is amazing. Most of my people only get through 6 in a day…”
I laughed. It’s the quintessential challenge of being a high performer. You continually set the bar high. Then you forget how high you set the bar and judge yourself for not hitting it!
If you haven’t yet seen it, here’s the excruciating video of my audition for The Amazing Race. I was literally terrified of being on video.
I used to be so nervous in front of a camera. Fifteen years after that audition, I now really enjoy it. You know why? Because I committed to the long haul.
3. A network of support
Leadership is lonely. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Which means that your job is three-fold: (1) Only hire people who are far more extraordinary than you. (2) Join—or build—communities of talented, ambitious, driven leaders. (3) Seek and build 1+1=11 partnerships.
1+1=2 is a partnership. You’re a coach, I’m a coach, let’s help each other…
1+1=3 is a great partnership. You’re a great coach, I’m a great coach, let’s build a business together…
1+1=11 is when you seek out extraordinary partners—but they stay in their Zone of Genius, which allows you to stay in yours.
And remember: Imposter syndrome is a feature, not a bug. Why would great people join you on your mission? Because you asked them. Most people will never ask.
If you have a mission that you can accomplish alone, you are not dreaming big enough…
I believe deeply in support. I support others. And I have my own support.
I currently have 4 coaches. A woman who is a trusted advisor to Fortune 100 CEOs, on high-level intuition. A man who is an expert on growing and scaling businesses. A man who’s written 65 books. And a woman who is training me to get into my body—no easy matter for a complex thinker like me. I also have a couples therapist.
Start building your high-level support network now. Don’t wait until you are ready.