This is the next installment in an ongoing series where I talk about my history in business starting when I was a child to now in my late forties. Feel free to read parts zero, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and eleven if you haven’t yet to get some context.
We left off in 2005, when my six-figure income was strong. I was in a nice new house in an expensive neighborhood, and my eyes had been opened to new business opportunities…
I was cranking on all cylinders. I was making a solid five figures a month. I had a kickass house, drove a nice car, had a wife who didn’t need to work, kids who went to private schools, and so on. I was truly “successful,” at least by societal standards.
Something was still wrong though. At age 33, I still didn’t have that fire that I had in my twenties that felt so exciting. I was also in a lot of debt and my monthly expenses were insane, much higher than they should have been (which explained a lot of the debt).
On the plus side, my mind was going crazy with all the new possibilities based on the new people I had met and new books I was reading. I realized I could do more, but I didn’t know what.
I needed to get clear. Fast.
It was at this time that I did something which radically altered the course of my entire life, and I mean my entire life. Exactly as I already described in The Unchained Man and in some of my podcasts, on a nice sunny day, I took the afternoon off, grabbed my laptop, and went to a beautiful, quiet park.
I positioned myself at a park table, opened my laptop, brought up a blank Microsoft Word document, and meditated for a few minutes, clearing my mind. Using the Brian Tracy technique of Zero-Based Thinking, I mentally wiped out my entire life. In my mind I suddenly had no business, no money, no wife, no kids, no house, no car, nothing. Blank. Zero.
I opened my eyes and started typing out what my perfect life would look like if I started from absolute zero. What my businesses would look like. What my income would be. Where I would live. What my woman life would look like. What my family life would look like. How I would look physically (I had gained a ton of weight and was the fattest I had ever been at this point). What my investments would look like. What my typical day would be. What my purpose was in life. What my Mission was. What my Vision was. Everything.
It was about two and a half pages. Every aspect of my life, if it was perfect, starting from zero. I went back and re-read it. It was a little off. I corrected a few things, then read it again. I surged with excitement. Fuck yeah, this was it. This is what my life should be.
Then I got scared. What I wrote down in that document looked completely different than just about everything I had in my life. Instead of owning one time–intensive business like I did, the document said I should own three or four low work companies in diversified industries. Instead of having shitloads of debt, the document said I should have zero debt, including a paid off house. Instead of having several employees, the document said I should have no employees, just subcontractors. Instead of only having infrequent sex with one woman, the document said I should be having sex several times a week… with several women.
And on, and on, and on.
It was terrifying. Thanks to Societal Programming, I had spent the last 15 years building the exact wrong life.
Either I had to make some massive changes, or I had to accept that I would never be truly happy.
It was no contest. I always choose happiness. I had to make some massive changes.
My passion finally returned. I felt a surge of excitement and power I had not felt in at least five years. Finally, I had purpose and fire again.
I flew into action. I drove back home and immediately started making massive changes to my life. Here’s just a few:
- I knew that I couldn’t have any employees if I wanted to be long-term happy, so I laid off all of my employees. I made sure they had other jobs before I did so though.
- I closed down my entire office and moved it into the largest bedroom in the house and told the wife I’d be working from home from now on. Since the kids were old enough to be in school most of the time now, it worked.
- I went on a diet (which enraged the already unhappy wife) and started lifting weights again after many years.
- I separated all checking accounts from the wife. Instead of having a joint account we always argued over, I gave her an account that was completely hers that she could use to buy groceries and fund her own expenses. Everything else (paying the bills, doing business, etc), I did in new accounts that were 100% mine that she had no access to.
- I started socking away cash and gold in case of an emergency, namely, a divorce. I didn’t expect to get divorced, but I knew the odds were decent, so I prepared for it.
- I started a second company called Computer Consultant Marketing, or CCM. This would be a marketing company where I would use all of my experience in marketing my old computer consultant business to help other computer consultants get clients.
- I started writing a book called The Six-Figure Computer Consultant to sell to other consultants.
- I made plans for a third company, though I wasn’t sure what it was going to be. All I knew is that I wanted it to be on the internet and I wanted to do something around personal improvement. (Little did I know at the time what would become of that…)
- I started to “Alpha-up.” I stopped being afraid of making the wife angry and just did what I wanted. I stopped compromising. I also made a pact with myself that I would not argue with the wife unless it was absolutely critical. I couldn’t let any petty negativity divert me from my Mission.
- I started reading dating and pick-up artist material, including guys like David DeAngelo and others. I didn’t take any action on it; I just used it to open my eyes to new possibilities and to build my confidence.
- I (nicely) fired the bottom 25% of my clients, the ones who were a pain in my ass.
- I hired a professional coach to help me perfect my public speaking skills and regularly met with her. She was brutal, but she helped. A lot.
- In my consulting practice, started focusing more on retainer and project-based billing rather than charging by the hour.
The result? My income shot up 72%. My work hours also dropped by 42%. Yes, I made far more money on far less time. I was shocked.
I started taking three-day weekends on a regular basis to spend more time with my kids. I started losing weight, getting more excited, and I started to love my work again.
I started to sell my book on the internet using AdWords and started making money on the internet for the first time in my life. I started getting clients for my new CCM business as well as closing bigger clients in my main consulting practice.
However, I was still in a lot of debt and was spending far too much money. And there was the marriage. My wife at the time was furious regarding many of the changes. She didn’t like me turning into an Alpha Male. She hated it when I separated the finances. She didn’t like watching me diet and lose weight. Her attitude started getting worse. To make matters even worse, she soon turned 40 and went through premature menopause which caused her to react with rage at the smallest things, with both me and the kids. The amount of sex we had also dropped like a stone, mostly because I cut way back on the amount of times I would ask (since she usually said no).
It was unacceptable. The problem was, unlike with my businesses, I wasn’t sure what to do about the marriage. Regardless, I knew I’d have to make a serious change there one way or the other.
To be continued…
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What was the reason that you needed public speaking coach? As I remember you were a member of Toastmastars, wasn’t it enough ? I mean what type of goals you had in public speaking ?
To be a professional-level speaker.
Not for me. I wanted to be a top-level professional speaker.
To earn at least $80,000 per year just from public speaking alone (speaking fees, seminars, etc).
I’m listening to Maximum Achievement now, will I come across that in the book?
I’ve done similar techniques, but I always stop out of frustration. It’s like every time I do it I default to “damn, I just want one thing to go right for me.” I’ve talked to counselors about this but none of them have any real good advice to offer so I almost have to be my own counselor in that aspect. Good Christ did I waste a lot of time and money on counselors.
Should I keep trying this until I succeed?
I’m pretty sure you will if memory serves, yes.
Keep trying new counselors until you find one that works for you. Even if you have to go through another 3-5 to find that person.
And if you do go through like 3-5 more and “they all suck” that means *you* are the one who is the problem, not the counselors.
Oh I already went through that process. That’s why I started becoming my own counselor of sorts. I concluded that no counselor can solve what I need to solve myself.
It’s not that I think the counselors I saw sucked, it’s just that I wasn’t able to relate to them or anything. The stuff I dealt with in my youth are a lot different than most others so I concluded that I need to be my own counselor. It’s almost like a job. Been that way for awhile.
I meant should I keep doing the Zero Based thinking exercise if I keep stopping out of frustration? It’s like I said, every time I do it I’m either like “nah that’s not right” or I’m like “Christ, I just want one good thing to happen to me, I don’t care about anything else!”
And for the record its right at the beginning of Maximum Achievement.