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There’s no such thing as ‘Hell Maybe’

Sir Ernest Shackleton was a polar explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic in the early 20th Century.

He is acknowledged today as a charismatic leader and a world-renowned adventurer.

He was ranked 11th in a BBC poll to determine the “100 Greatest Britons” and has been cited as a model leader by the U.S. Navy.

In 1914, determined to make the first land crossing of the Antarctic continent, Shackleton supposedly placed this ad in a newspaper looking for men to accompany him on his next expedition.

“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”
– Ernest Shackleton

Now that’s what I call seeking a HELL YES or a HELL NO.

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100 years after Shackleton died, we live in the world of Facebook, where most people are seeking – or chasing – ‘likes’.

That won’t help you create clients or a thriving business.

Your real mission is to seek HELL YES or HELL NO from your clients or customers – because there is no such thing as “Hell Maybe”.

The story goes that Shackleton was overwhelmed with 5000 applications, which he narrowed down to the required crew of 27 by sifting them into three piles labeled ‘Mad’, ‘Hopeless’ and ‘Possible’. (I love that!)

This ad has been described as one of the most famous in history and it’s often quoted as one of the best examples of copy writing.

Whilst it now seems likely that it may not have existed in this exact format, it strikes a chord with us for a reason.


Steve Pavlina is a friend of mine and an extremely successful blogger in an overcrowded field.

At one of my Intensives a few years back, he said to our audience:

“Your job is to polarize people. You want only 10s and 1s in your business (and your life).

The 10s will love you and the 1s will leave you.”

9.9 vs 10

Personally, I like this even finer distinction.

What people in your life are a 9.9 out of 10, but not a 10?

What clients are a 9.9?

Even, what habits, clothes, furniture, places you hang out are a 9.9 but truthfully not a 10?

If you want to live an extraordinary life… If you want to have an extraordinary business… If you want to have extraordinary clients… Your mission is to filter out anyone – and anything – that’s not yet a 10.

HELL YES or HELL NO is a filter and a formula for an extraordinary life.

Love. Rich

P.S. Are you a HELL YES to joining us at the Extraordinary Coach Intensive this September? There are still a few seats available.  Get your ticket now and say HELL YES to joining this amazing community of coaches for an immersion experience you won’t forget. Get your ticket here:

PS. Whenever you’re ready – here are 3 ways you can drastically increase your income and impact as a world-class coach… 

  1. Rich Litvin’s 1:1 Coaching Playbook: Learn my top 10 proven tools for coaching elite clients in this live training. Over 100 people joined me for our first live call – and all calls are recorded, so it’s not too late to join me…
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