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ButGregSaid

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My FTE.

I've lurked the forums for long enough so I figured it's high time I posted something.. I joined the forum a month ago or so and introduced myself. Now, dozens of spent notepads later I've come to the conclusion I should probably post something, even if I'm just talking to myself.

Full disclosure, I'm Deaf. And I have been since the day I was born. I don't really like talking about it because it's not a crutch. But I'll share my story once so that there are no questions about who I am. My parents both wept when the doctors told them that I would never lead a normal life... I'd never speak, write proper english, and would need special education all my life. Imagine as a parent, being told by your doctor that your child would never be perfect? I can't even begin to fathom what my parents felt in that moment.

Because doctors know best. These 'experts' would have been right had my parents not decided that they were wrong. Both my parents rose to the challenge and made sure I kept up with my peers in school. Believe me, without the power of audio 'osmosis' that is an extremely difficult undertaking. The worked me to the bone every single day... I went to school during the day, filled out endless workbooks at night, and my weekends pretty much consisted of tutoring. And growing up, I gave my parents hell for all the work they put me through.

Fastforward 20 some years, I'm giving the commencement address at my college - starry eyed, graduating with honors, I was ready to blaze a bold new trail. I nailed a job at a high-profile company and that's when my problems began.....

[Begin Sidenote] Before anybody asks, yes - I do know @jpanarra. We shared a dorm floor together our freshman year. He had an afro. Yes, he has pictures. [/End Sidenote]

To make a long story short, there's a lane MJ didn't quite cover in his book.. mostly because it's irrelevant, but believe me, there is a slower lane. And it is slower than the slowlane but faster than the sidewalk. It has the same speed limit as the slowlane, but it's infested with potholes. Corporate Bias. It's why the gender wage gap exists, and it's also why I'm a pressure cooker ready to burst.

I ran into my first example some 4 years ago when I was working for a boss who was extremely popular and great at what she did. I had glowing performance reviews and a notable track record among leaders... but she had it out for me. She'd randomly throw out projects at me and say "but I told you about this yesterday" even though she didn't. Or she'd say things like "communicating with you is a burden on the team." I tried to get help, but no one believed me when I told them what kind of things she'd say to me.

On one occasion, she tried to convince me that 'buying a house was not worth it because you just never know... you might get laid off!' Every time, I swallowed it and kept trying to do better.

Eventually I was slapped a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

It broke my pride.

Here I was spinning wheels for a system that was hell-bent on squashing my success. I worked so hard to meet all her demands but she found ways to make me fail. There seemed to be absolutely nothing I could do but take the blow.

Anybody ever feel like that before?

In the months that followed, my life spiraled out of control - I was in total panic mode. Slaving away to save my career. At the same time, my relationship with a long-time girlfriend was ending badly. Within two days, she was gone and found a new guy. My funds were swallowed up because I was alone in an apartment in a gated community. My credit cards maxed out. I slept on the floor (she took the bed). It was a real low point for me. And I thought for sure my life was over when my boss texted me "meet me at 4:30pm at the visitor's center (at work)." I was going to get fired. My life was over.

I was fired.

I don't generally believe in the power of prayer, guys - but if someone was praying. It was answered. Fortunately, an HR manager caught on to what was happening. I don't know how or why, I never really asked. But I think she knew. Before I knew it, corporate jumped in and stopped my termination. I was pulled out of her team and moved back to Michigan where I took on a high profile role building relationships with corporate partners. Things have gotten better now, a least a bit for the last five years. I've had glowing performance reviews but the promotions were few and far in between.

At first, I thought this was pretty normal... so I just kept on rolling. I was the kid everyone liked, so I was riding on that possibility my work and reputation would speak for itself. Then one day I was going out for lunch with a bunch of colleagues my age. Some joined a year before me. Others joined a year after me. The subject of job levels came up - and my heart sank when I found out I was literally at the bottom of the totem pole. They had all been elevated ahead of me.

So I decided that something had to change, this isn't for me.

[More in my next post.]
 

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MJ DeMarco

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Thanks for sharing, awaiting part 2 ... :)
 

jpanarra

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ButGregSaid

ButGregSaid

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A sense of purpose.

The day I was fired marked the end of my Special Snowflake Syndrome. Until that moment, I was special. I wanted to believe that people had a genuine appreciation for how far I'd come. I believed in the power of the work I did and the value I brought to the table. Hell, I even thought it'd all pay for itself.

To give you a sense of why the special snowflake syndrome works the way it does:

A few years ago I was sitting in a dentists' chair and the technician servicing me asked what I do for a living... So naturally, I told her. She freaked out. "You work for what?! Are you serious?" She seemed skeptical enough that I pulled out my business card to prove show her. "That is amazing. How do you do it??"

After we had finished up, I walked out to pay the bill when the technician comes out. She walks behind the desk and tells all the receptionists "This guy! He works for this company!" She turns to me and proceeds to say "You are an incredible young man and for you to be doing all that you are is amazing. You should be so proud."

.... Why?

The Special Snowflake syndrome is real... and it is misleading as f*ck. Lets face it, I've done nothing any of you haven't done in your lives. But you can see exactly why I let the Special Snowflake Syndrome rule my thoughts throughout my entire career right up until the day I was fired. Until that day, the Special Snowflake Syndrome gave me a sense of purpose in this world. Granted, the paperwork never actually went through so the ink on my termination never fully dried, but being at the brink of losing everything is disruptive enough to make you question everything about your own existence.

So, back to the story... While I was still reeling from the emotional aftermath of hitting one of the lowest points of my life, I began packing my apartment up. I didn't have a lot left. But I had my J.O.B.

Corporate promised to help me with relocation expenses so I was fortunate to get a allowance to pack up my stuff to make the move back north. (pro tip... this makes for a really sh*tty tax return.) Since my job security was clearly somewhat questionable, I decided against buying a house and found a place to rent out in Michigan where I'd spend the next five years. During those five years, I made it my mission to rebuild my life.. get my finances back in order... with one goal, to GTFO.

Returning to networth zero was a real struggle. The paycheck was solid, I made 2800 a month but bills ate it alive. Anything I managed to save was swallowed up by a sizable 'one time' bill... (a new pair of hearing aids, new brakes for my car, an ER visit) The one thing I had going for me was my consistent commitment to going all out in my 401k... If anything, at least my 45 year old self would at least thank me for it.

In any event, it took me a while to fully recover. So if any of you are going through it, I get you... and I promise you, it will pass. I'll talk a bit about how I overcame networth zero a bit later. But I want to focus on how my FTE became the rock I'd stand back up on.

When I moved back to Michigan, I put the blazer and tie back on. I tightened my shoe laces and headed back into work. Bandaid over my bruised emotions and all. The new boss sat across from me and was quick to let me that she was only interested in looking forward and assured me she knew what I was capable of. I nodded, ready to prove myself all over again.

And then..... nothing changed! Don't get me wrong, my life was getting better by the day. But I slowly found myself back in the never ending cycle of inadequacy. It was 8am-5pm and extra... It's like constantly getting an 89% for doing an extra ten pages on a 35 page paper. Three glowing performance reviews had come and gone with no promotions to show for it. I was stuck in a loop while other people took credit for my accomplishments. I had a growing disappointment with my current state of things. I created value for my company but I couldn't seem to get ahead.

Even though I was rebuilding my life, I'd lost my sense of purpose. I went from a special snowflake to a rat in a sea of rats. I was in this constant state of uncertainty. And a lot of it is because I was ashamed to admit that I was falling behind. I knew it, though.

[Sidenote] Thanks to this whole scenario. My motorcycle's odometer is 99% self-reflection and 1% actual destinations.

As I mentioned in my last post, the camel's back broke when I had lunch with a team of co-workers [referenced in my previous post]. That day, I learned that I was $20,000 behind in my salary and was trailing everyone by at least 3-4 promotions. People younger than me were cruising by and capable of affording trips to exotic places I can't even pronounce. I walked out of the restaurant that day, a very different man.

I no longer gave a crap. I couldn't. Crap got me nowhere.

Fast forward a little bit, a couple came to visit me from Detroit one night - they'd driven 2 hours to spend the weekend with me. Once of the evenings, we spent the night half drunk, playing board games and talking about our life plans. At one point, my friend let loose that he had been talking with a young couple in their twenties who was going to help them retire when he was 35. That made me raise my eyebrows.

How is that even possible? They wouldn't tell me anything further. I began to suspect foul play. I wished them well and asked no more questions. Even so, it lit a fire in me. Suddenly, I was no longer a rat. I was a coonhound.




More to come.
 

jpanarra

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I love the fact that you're finally opening up on here man! About F*cking time! I know you have a hell of a story to tell!

I knew some parts of the story but I didn't know about the timeline and didn't put it together. Its a bit ironic that the slowlane threw you out to the street only to pull you back in in such a short amount of time.

We've talked about the special snowflake effect, and I hope you don't mind me sharing.

I honestly think its because our deafness the fact that we were successful at a 'baseline' gave us a false sense of greatness and security. Even our stories had a lot of parallels and even we were roommates to the same person.

I don't know about you but because I was raised to a pedestal that didn't feel like belonged to me because I was just naturally driven to learn. When I was younger it fed my Ego really bad and I was literally 'spoon-fed' how wonderful I was throughout HS which shifted in college for me. I get being inspiring and helping people see a different perspective, but there's a practical way of going about it by sharing our stories and actually doing stuff for ourselves.
 
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ButGregSaid

ButGregSaid

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I honestly think its because our deafness the fact that we were successful at a 'baseline' gave us a false sense of greatness and security. Even our stories had a lot of parallels and even we were roommates to the same person.
Yes! It had everything to do with this. Society sets the bar very low for people like ourselves. Most deaf people are walking among very complacent people. Case in point, if I walked up to any random person and mispronounce a word, chances are they'll let it slide because 'understandably', I'm Deaf. This is the status quo for a lot of Deaf people. They go their entire lives being given the benefit of the doubt. Thus, the low bar.

My father, on the other hand, never relented with that crap. If I so much as dropped an 'S', he had me repeat words 10-15 times until it stuck. If I cried, he waited til I was done... then we tried again. (Notice MJ's emphasis on progress?) And suddenly, it's flawless. And everybody is spoon feeding you hopium.

You probably know just as well as I do that there's a downside to it, too. It's a double edged sword in many ways. One's impressions of you are not always consistent with the experience you actually have. People expect more than you're capable of. Case in point, I was having lunch with a co-worker the other week and she said something along the lines of (this is paraphrased badly), "You need to know you're no longer viewed as the 'young' guy in this company. You're now competing with veteran employees and you need to continue to set an example."

What she didn't realize is that, while her view of me was certainly elevated, my paycheck and job title remained fundamentally static. All the peers I was being evaluated against were pretty much 3-4 job levels ahead of me... And it remained so til I made waves with my boss. But that's a story for later.


I don't know about you but because I was raised to a pedestal that didn't feel like belonged to me because I was just naturally driven to learn. When I was younger it fed my Ego really bad and I was literally 'spoon-fed' how wonderful I was throughout HS which shifted in college for me. I get being inspiring and helping people see a different perspective, but there's a practical way of going about it by sharing our stories and actually doing stuff for ourselves.
I remember those days. A little bit too well! ;) I think a fair amount of us are guilty of the same. We get consistently thrown into the spotlight for accomplishments that really warranted little merit. Don't get me wrong, process-wise, we worked harder than anybody did to get to where we are. But the fact remains that these achievements are not impossible.

About a year ago or so I was asked to give a talk at a college about Corporate Leadership... It was a 30 minute talk... standing ovation and everything. The next day my coworker walks into my office with a newspaper in hand. He puts it on my desk, beaming with pride and there on the newspaper is a giant picture of me.. A solid article. Then I read it, they quoted a single phrase.

"I'm Deaf, and I lip read."

WTF. My heart sank so far down I might as well have pooped it out. I gave a 30 minute talk. On Corporate Leadership. And that's all the reports there took away? It could have been anybody from my company and the article would be ridden with knowledge and wisdom from the talk - but the one achievement they chose to highlight was the fact I'm Deaf.

Moral of the story here I think is this: Being Deaf may help us get some hype on our way to the Olympics... but it's noise. When it comes down to the actual game, we still have to win the medal. The world needs to talk about how we played the game.
 
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ButGregSaid

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I knew some parts of the story but I didn't know about the timeline and didn't put it together. Its a bit ironic that the slowlane threw you out to the street only to pull you back in in such a short amount of time.
Yeah, it was a weird move.. I can't really explain it myself, it's like I had an FTE but the FTE was an action fake.
 
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ButGregSaid

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The Pivot.

From previous post:
Fast forward a little bit, a couple came to visit me from Detroit one night - they'd driven 2 hours to spend the weekend with me. Once of the evenings, we spent the night half drunk, playing board games and talking about our life plans. At one point, my friend let loose that he had been talking with a young couple in their twenties who was going to help them retire when he was 35. That made me raise my eyebrows.

How is that even possible? They wouldn't tell me anything further. I began to suspect foul play. I wished them well and asked no more questions. Even so, it lit a fire in me. Suddenly, I was no longer a rat. I was a coonhound.

Of course, as soon as he mentioned retiring at 35... I suspected shenanigans. Despite mild coercion, he kept his 'secret' method tightly under wraps. It really didn't matter whether he told me or not. My ears were perked and I sensed an opportunity to transform my life.

Holy sh*t, I just sounded like a guru for a minute there.

Later in the evening, I happened to notice he'd been reading Dave Ramsey's 'Total Money Makeover'. The book looked vaguely familiar. Then it suddenly dawned on me that my father had bought me that same book five or some years ago. It has since sat on my bookshelf collecting dust. (Whoops..)

That's when the coonhound in me showed up. I sprinted upstairs to find it sitting under a dozen books in my office. I grabbed it and tossed it on my bed as a reminder to read later. And that's probably where my journey began.

I spent the next million months with my nose buried in books. Dave Ramsey led me to Robert Kiyosaki's RDPD (whose subliminal marketing led me to buy another P.O.S. book), before I knew it... I was reading Gary V, Jim Collins, Ben Graham, Tim Ferriss. I blew my entire paycheck on every single legitimate book I could get my hands on.

My library exploded faster than it ever has since my Bearstan Bears collection when I was five years old. My brain was on fire... and I was just starving for information. I wanted to know what's possible, how is it possible, where do I go from here, how do I start, where the hell am I going... and somewhere along the way I was fortunate enough to reconnect with an old college buddy of mine, @jpanarra.

It's funny how things happen. To keep a long story short, we were both being baited to work with some bromarketer whose idea was going nowhere. But he sure as hell knew how to sell it. At the end of (maybe the second meeting or so) JP nudged me for a quick chat. The extremely detailed version of our conversation is something along the lines of this:

JP - Hey
Greg - Hi
JP - So...
Greg - Quit.

JP - *GIF of JP leaving*
The rest is history.

Within two days or so, we were both out. From then on, we kept in touch - comparing notes. It was apparent we were both on the same journey to independence and self-discovery - so it was nice to have a support system to count on. Along the way he recommended MJ's Millionaire Fastlane... it took him a few nudges, but eventually I finally decided to grab it. I started reading it as soon as I bought it. Life changing.

Note: In case you're wondering, I later found out that the Detroit couple was pursuing the latest and greatest in Amway MLMs. They never directly mentioned it but I managed to figure it out during one of my recent visits there. They're no longer relevant to this story.

MJ's book put the final nail in the coffin on my slowlane mindset - it hasn't been buried yet, and it won't be until I'm free of of its ropes. But the freeway is long and the wheels are turning...

In my next post... Why am I still Slowlane? And exactly how I'm getting out of it.
 

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jpanarra

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The Pivot.

From previous post:



Of course, as soon as he mentioned retiring at 35... I suspected shenanigans. Despite mild coercion, he kept his 'secret' method tightly under wraps. It really didn't matter whether he told me or not. My ears were perked and I sensed an opportunity to transform my life.

Holy sh*t, I just sounded like a guru for a minute there.

Later in the evening, I happened to notice he'd been reading Dave Ramsey's 'Total Money Makeover'. The book looked vaguely familiar. Then it suddenly dawned on me that my father had bought me that same book five or some years ago. It has since sat on my bookshelf collecting dust. (Whoops..)

That's when the coonhound in me showed up. I sprinted upstairs to find it sitting under a dozen books in my office. I grabbed it and tossed it on my bed as a reminder to read later. And that's probably where my journey began.

I spent the next million months with my nose buried in books. Dave Ramsey led me to Robert Kiyosaki's RDPD (whose subliminal marketing led me to buy another P.O.S. book), before I knew it... I was reading Gary V, Jim Collins, Ben Graham, Tim Ferriss. I blew my entire paycheck on every single legitimate book I could get my hands on.

My library exploded faster than it ever has since my Bearstan Bears collection when I was five years old. My brain was on fire... and I was just starving for information. I wanted to know what's possible, how is it possible, where do I go from here, how do I start, where the hell am I going... and somewhere along the way I was fortunate enough to reconnect with an old college buddy of mine, @jpanarra.

It's funny how things happen. To keep a long story short, we were both being baited to work with some bromarketer whose idea was going nowhere. But he sure as hell knew how to sell it. At the end of (maybe the second meeting or so) JP nudged me for a quick chat. The extremely detailed version of our conversation is something along the lines of this:

JP - Hey
Greg - Hi
JP - So...
Greg - Quit.

JP - *GIF of JP leaving*
The rest is history.

Within two days or so, we were both out. From then on, we kept in touch - comparing notes. It was apparent we were both on the same journey to independence and self-discovery - so it was nice to have a support system to count on. Along the way he recommended MJ's Millionaire Fastlane... it took him a few nudges, but eventually I finally decided to grab it. I started reading it as soon as I bought it. Life changing.

Note: In case you're wondering, I later found out that the Detroit couple was pursuing the latest and greatest in Amway MLMs. They never directly mentioned it but I managed to figure it out during one of my recent visits there. They're no longer relevant to this story.

MJ's book put the final nail in the coffin on my slowlane mindset - it hasn't been buried yet, and it won't be until I'm free of of its ropes. But the freeway is long and the wheels are turning...

In my next post... Why am I still Slowlane? And exactly how I'm getting out of it.
Oh boy,


I mean I don't even know why I bought into the idea in the first place there was no product, there wasn't even a service. I did like 90% of the work where he would just go around and speak at different places and schools about being a deaf entrepreneur and get paid for it.

I mean that dude is now already selling something else and even that smells iffy. I'll give it to him that he knows how to bullshit enough to get people to buy it in for a bit, but it won't last and it didn't last because he had to jump ship into something else.

In the age of the internet, bullshitters like him are gnna get mowed down because there won't be a lot of rocks to hide behind anymore.
 
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ButGregSaid

ButGregSaid

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Oh boy,


I mean I don't even know why I bought into the idea in the first place there was no product, there wasn't even a service. I did like 90% of the work where he would just go around and speak at different places and schools about being a deaf entrepreneur and get paid for it.

I mean that dude is now already selling something else and even that smells iffy. I'll give it to him that he knows how to bullshit enough to get people to buy it in for a bit, but it won't last and it didn't last because he had to jump ship into something else.

In the age of the internet, bullshitters like him are gnna get mowed down because there won't be a lot of rocks to hide behind anymore.
For sure, once our gig takes off, I'll be the first one behind the wheel. Just give me the mower. ;)
 

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First of all, I got inspired while reading this!

Wishing you all my bests dude! If I can ask you, what is the biggest lesson that you learned so far while trying to get out of the "bike lane" (that's how i call the slower slow lane :D)
 
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ButGregSaid

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First of all, I got inspired while reading this!

Wishing you all my bests dude! If I can ask you, what is the biggest lesson that you learned so far while trying to get out of the "bike lane" (that's how i call the slower slow lane :D)
Oh man, asking the tough questions eh? I can think of quite a few takeaways that proved to be 'invaluable'... Let me try to answer this in a few different ways if you don't mind.

The first most valuable lesson I learned was all about adjusting your perception.
When we look at a system or a process, we have a tendency to remove the human variable from it. For example, if we look at a corporation, we don't view it as a human entity. It's this gigantic system of cogs and gears running a massive behemoth. And because we view it as such, it's easy to forget that it really all started with a kid who had an idea.

As Slowlaners, our mindsets have been positioned in such a way that processes or businesses appear to be bigger than us and that they are unachievable. Therefore, they beyond our own capabilities. Similarly, when you look at a chicken in a grocery store. It has been processed, bleached, and sanitized to the point it no longer resembles that of the original animal. If you were given a live chicken and asked to process it, you'd become a deer in the headlights. WTF am I gonna do with a live chicken?! (Unless you grew up on a farm). We feel 'the process' is far beyond our capabilities. This is the action fake, because....

IT IS THAT SIMPLE! Creating a set of rules and processes is so unbelievably simple, and we for whatever reason are rendered incapable of fathoming the fact that it is in fact, simple. Have you ever gone on a road trip where you were the driver and your pals had to chip in for gas? That's a system! Have you ever hosted or gone to a party where admission was $5 and the keg was free? That's a system!

Participants view the process (you created) as having worked for them. The Fastlane mindset is all about the realization that you have the power to create and provide value in the form of a system that can one day become the next Microsoft... But doing it one bite at a time. One small goal at a time.

The second valuable lesson I learned is that there is always a way.
I know... I know... this is some guru sounding crap, but I can't emphasize this enough. The slowlane is a vortex, it sucks you dry, it makes you feel worthless and I am fighting it right now. Making the shift seems to be radical in so many forms... it's insane. I worry about a lot of silly things... my reputation, my parents' perception of me not having a J.O.B, the chances of me failing, falling behind in life, and worst case scenario... going homeless.

I still struggle with all of these fears but I realized something along the way. Every single one of these variables are about perceptions. Whether it's my perception of myself or others' perceptions of our own capabilities. And it's a trap. To make things worse... your J.O.B. promises you career advancement and success... because their million-dollar recruitment programs and expert professional talent acquisition teams spent a fortune on convincing you that you are the next Jeff Bezos.

I don't know where you are in your life, my friend, but I'll tell you this from my own experience... The greatest companies in the world will tell you they only hire the best of the best... cream of the crop employees across the nation strive for the roles you are being offered. Then when they DO manage to hire you... performance management begs to differ, year after year, they tell you that you are an average employee. Because almost all companies operate on a 1-5 calibration system... and there can only be so many 1s and so many 5s.

You must come to terms with the fact that you are capable of far more than you were conditioned to believe. If you're gonna be told you're average, dont just sit around and wait for them to give you your big break... create your own. Just get the f*ck out there and show them what you're made of - by blazing your own trail.

One more valuable lesson I have to share is something I personally struggle with, but am learning very quickly in this world... people want to help you. Especially people who have been down the path you have before.
I genuinely used to believe people were in this life for themselves... the corporate climate is extremely cutthroat, people are out to take you down... and when they can, they will. But that's only because they're trying to get ahead themselves. You ever heard the story of the crab theory?

It's very simple... It goes like this: When a crab fisherman goes out to fish for crabs, they bring a big bucket to put the live crabs in. And when that bucket begins to fill up, crabs will begin attempting to escape. As one tries to climb out, the others will pull him back down. Their fate is sealed the minute they enter the bucket.

If the crabs worked together, they could escape. But instead their selfishness and distrust maintains the status quo. This is corporate culture. But it has no place in the Fastlane, everyone is cruising at their own speed. And when someone comes up from behind... we move over to let them pass. In other words, we help them. Those who work together, thrive.

Unlike corporate culture, which is extremely toxic, your failure has no effect on me... however, if your intentions are genuine, I want you to succeed. People will remember when you helped them. If I choose to help you succeed, the chances are, I've made a friend and an ally. Because down the road, when it counts you might even return the favor.

I'm seeing a lot of that in the forums and the Facebook groups I'm involved in. What I've found in the world of entrepreneurship is that we really have to work together to weed out the fake guru crap.. the wasted thousands on brofessional development.. because one more person we help get ahead is one more person who's willing to give us that one idea that could potentially transform our business.

Lastly, share.
One last thing I'd offer before I wrap up this (long) post is that it's okay to share your ideas with people you trust. In fact, it helps. I think MJ said somewhere along the way that your ideas are a dime a dozen. For every one you have, there's ten more waiting... And when you have an idea, it's yours. For someone to steal it, they'd have to really understand YOUR intentions for that idea and the need that the idea is rooted in. Usually, they won't be able to implement your idea as well as you could.

That being said, sharing your idea helps you in two ways: it will give you their perspective. They'll give you an indicator of its need... and it'll even help you practice your pitch. Second, every time you share it, you're motivating yourself. That's one more person that expects you to succeed... and they might even be one of your first customers.

I'll pause now since that was a really long answer, but thank you for making me think. :) What are some of your biggest lessons?
 

NanoDrake

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WOW DUDE! I got a right hook while reading your answers! I knew you had some good stuff inside your head and I do thank you for sharing with me and the rest of the world!
We come from different backgrounds and experiences ( I'm like the mighty phoenix, resurrecting from a 2nd catastrophic failed business and had to take a job once again to survive and prepare for a 3rd attempt that i'm already planning)

If I have to list all the lesson I learned in the last 2 years, I would probably just copy/paste the book of MJ LOL, maybe I will do a post about that one day...
I just can add one quote that I always carry with me:

"You fail 100% of the shots you don't take" Wayne Gretzky.

Now, these kind of quotes are cringe triggering I know, but in this case, my desire to escape, to break free, is too strong. During my launch time I think on how can I make it faster, When I'm at the gym I think on how to avoid the mistakes I made in my next venture, When I study copywriting on friday night instead of going out I repeat myself "train for the next shot"


I do agree with the sharing and with the fact that us, entrepreneurs or soon to be, love to share and should stick together, I guess the comraderie that is formed after the many challenges faced in the business trenches makes it easier to relate one with each other

cheers buddy!
 

MJ DeMarco

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Thanks for opening up, you're a great storyteller.
 

rowz

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your J.O.B. promises you career advancement and success... because their million-dollar recruitment programs and expert professional talent acquisition teams spent a fortune on convincing you that you are the next Jeff Bezos.
Bingo! Humans seek fulfillment, and to convince smart people to trade the bulk of their lives to contribute to a giant machine, corporations must provide purpose in the form of promotion plans. But most of those promotion-related performance metrics are specific to the company's purpose and not useful for your own development. I remember when my friend wanted to leave the company we both worked for, she had an extremely hard time because the skills she had acquired during the job (we developed apps on a very specific platform) were not transferable to positions at other companies.

Thank you for sharing your story. I thoroughly enjoy your colorful writing and cannot wait to hear more!
 
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ButGregSaid

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WOW DUDE! I got a right hook while reading your answers! I knew you had some good stuff inside your head and I do thank you for sharing with me and the rest of the world!
We come from different backgrounds and experiences ( I'm like the mighty phoenix, resurrecting from a 2nd catastrophic failed business and had to take a job once again to survive and prepare for a 3rd attempt that i'm already planning)

If I have to list all the lesson I learned in the last 2 years, I would probably just copy/paste the book of MJ LOL, maybe I will do a post about that one day...
I just can add one quote that I always carry with me:

"You fail 100% of the shots you don't take" Wayne Gretzky.

Now, these kind of quotes are cringe triggering I know, but in this case, my desire to escape, to break free, is too strong. During my launch time I think on how can I make it faster, When I'm at the gym I think on how to avoid the mistakes I made in my next venture, When I study copywriting on friday night instead of going out I repeat myself "train for the next shot"


I do agree with the sharing and with the fact that us, entrepreneurs or soon to be, love to share and should stick together, I guess the comraderie that is formed after the many challenges faced in the business trenches makes it easier to relate one with each other

cheers buddy!
Thank you! Believe me, this is as rewarding for me as it is for you. I'm loving the questions...

I give you a lot of credit for bouncing back. I get it - the Slowlane is a vortex... it feels like a consistent fallback plan and maybe that's the issue. It is viewed as a fallback, a fail-safe. And that's the worst part of it.

I don't know what sits at the root of your failures but you seem like a pretty solid guy whose mind is in the right place - if you've got that much going for you, that tells me is that the flaw is somewhere in the execution. A quick look at your profile, and I notice the Unscripted badge is missing - dude, if you're not already reading it... do so ASAP. MJ tells you everything you need to know about the process and how to build a system that works.

As for the W.G. quote, sure.. it might be an overused quote - but if it resonates with you and it's the one thing that keeps you plowing through.. it is THE quote for you. We all have our own motivators. Mine has always been "There has never been a demand for mediocrity."- during my laziest days it serves as a reminder that I can be lazy tomorrow for what I get accomplished today. I want that 10:00 am morning and unlimited vacation badly enough... I'm gonna get there, so no rest for the weary!

In many ways we're similar - I spend an enormous amount of time invested in productivity... I take classes on Udemy, I drill away at my business (I'll get into that in a later post), read books, and when I'm feeling unmotivated - I turn to YouTube and pull up videos of Gary V, MJ, Tim Ferriss, or any role model I choose to follow and let me tell ya... it lights that fire right back up. If I'm ever tempted to watch Netflix or a movie... ON COMES YOUTUBE!

Consider me a fan, my friend. Happy to bounce anytime. I hope this third gig is the charm for you.
 

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ButGregSaid

ButGregSaid

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Thanks for opening up, you're a great storyteller.
Thank you MJ, means a lot. Hopefully my story brings a little value to the forum. Very eager to see what I can learn from it.
 
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ButGregSaid

ButGregSaid

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Bingo! Humans seek fulfillment, and to convince smart people to trade the bulk of their lives to contribute to a giant machine, corporations must provide purpose in the form of promotion plans. But most of those promotion-related performance metrics are specific to the company's purpose and not useful for your own development. I remember when my friend wanted to leave the company we both worked for, she had an extremely hard time because the skills she had acquired during the job (we developed apps on a very specific platform) were not transferable to positions at other companies.

Thank you for sharing your story. I thoroughly enjoy your colorful writing and cannot wait to hear more!
You, my friend, have jumped down the rabbit hole too. ;)

I love everything about your comment. Because it's so honest. @SinisterLex has a great post on the tactics used by gurus to draw you into paying for their services... Corporations are no exception, they usually have millions at their disposal and countless professionals lined up to build a world-class strategy on how they're going to attract, retain, and lock-in their employees... From the very beginning, you're conditioned to believe you're on a career path that benefits you - but more often than not, you're a pawn that goes exactly where they need to go. All the pieces fall into place like clockwork for them.

That's me too. Once I was in the door, I never actually decided what roles I wanted to be in. These roles were usually given to me. Funny how this works out, isn't it? I thought I had it made when I was first recruited. It took a while for me to realize what was going on, but when I did - the novelty faded fast. I hope your friend found a way out, if she didnt.. she should know she's not alone. And those skills are meant to be built upon... In this situation though, it sounds like she needs to stop looking for the perfect place for her piece of the puzzle, and just create her own puzzle. What's stopping her?
 

NanoDrake

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Thank you! Believe me, this is as rewarding for me as it is for you. I'm loving the questions...

I give you a lot of credit for bouncing back. I get it - the Slowlane is a vortex... it feels like a consistent fallback plan and maybe that's the issue. It is viewed as a fallback, a fail-safe. And that's the worst part of it.

I don't know what sits at the root of your failures but you seem like a pretty solid guy whose mind is in the right place - if you've got that much going for you, that tells me is that the flaw is somewhere in the execution. A quick look at your profile, and I notice the Unscripted badge is missing - dude, if you're not already reading it... do so ASAP. MJ tells you everything you need to know about the process and how to build a system that works.

As for the W.G. quote, sure.. it might be an overused quote - but if it resonates with you and it's the one thing that keeps you plowing through.. it is THE quote for you. We all have our own motivators. Mine has always been "There has never been a demand for mediocrity."- during my laziest days it serves as a reminder that I can be lazy tomorrow for what I get accomplished today. I want that 10:00 am morning and unlimited vacation badly enough... I'm gonna get there, so no rest for the weary!

In many ways we're similar - I spend an enormous amount of time invested in productivity... I take classes on Udemy, I drill away at my business (I'll get into that in a later post), read books, and when I'm feeling unmotivated - I turn to YouTube and pull up videos of Gary V, MJ, Tim Ferriss, or any role model I choose to follow and let me tell ya... it lights that fire right back up. If I'm ever tempted to watch Netflix or a movie... ON COMES YOUTUBE!

Consider me a fan, my friend. Happy to bounce anytime. I hope this third gig is the charm for you.
Hey Man!
Thanks for the support and for sharing some further insights, I really liked your quote and resonated with me a lot!
I will read Unscripted very soon ( i chunk a book a week, I got the habit of reading 35' every morning before turning on the computer) and will go from there, making a quick study of all the reasons why I failed my two previous attempts, were a mix of CENTS violations and execution fails, so yeah I guess that saves us time :D

You look like you understand the concept of delaying gratification, and that's a powerful mindset to develop

Thanks for the good wishes, hope it will go well too :)
You made yourself a virtual friend :)
 
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ButGregSaid

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You look like you understand the concept of delaying gratification, and that's a powerful mindset to develop
Easy mindset to understand... a tough mindset to practice.. :smuggy: I'm doing my best though! When you do get through Unscripted, let me know - I'll be curious to know what you think and what the main takeaways for you. I have 3 start ups going on that do meet the CENTS requirements, I'll write more about those later on in my story but hopefully they work out well!
 
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ButGregSaid

ButGregSaid

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The Trek.

Hey guys!

Sorry for the long delay - I just got back from a much needed trip to Austin, TX. There was a lot of self-reflection involved... long story short, I'm not happy with my current state of things. But where I am is where I need to be. And where I need to be is how I'm gonna get to where I need to go.

When I finished the final page of TMF, I sat back and soaked it all in. I contemplated my entire life. I systematically dismantled every aspect of my life and wondered what it all meant. Some people throw their entire lives into their own fitness and live to build those Instagram-worthy washboard abs, others paint murals for charity organizations, and others travel the world documenting their nomadic experiences abroad.

I am none of those people. Up until this point in my life I've not had the luxury of a sense of purpose and it wasn't until I read the book that I realized that my entire life I've just been another rat in a sea of rats. I was determined to change that.

I took a couple days to assess my current state. And evaluate some of the low-hanging fruits... here are some of the facts:

  • I earn about 3k a month after taxes
  • The single biggest money drain is the house I'm renting (1,000)
  • Essential expenses (gas, food, electricity, water) cost me around 5-600 per month
  • Very solid 401k
  • Credit card debt entirely paid off
  • 3 months of emergency expenses (~12k)
  • ~5k in various investments

I knew overall I was in a fairly solid place. But what I did not have was flex cash to invest in any businesses needing up front capital.. if I was going to do anything, I needed to bootstrap it.

I could free up cash a couple different ways... I could opt for a cheaper rental situation, or remove rent entirely by purchasing a multi-unit apartment and use the rent to pay for the mortgage. This is something I intend to do in the future. Alternatively, I can take the funds currently committed to investments and use this towards personal projects. I opted to do none of the above in favor of bootstrapping a start-up. The first thing I needed to do was figure out what problem I'm going to solve.

I was originally seduced by the idea of an ecommerce/dropshipping business where we'd find a niche set of products and resell the online. The barriers to entry are low but highly contested. I lost interest in this pretty quickly after I started researching the possibilities of tapping into that market. Buying stuff and reselling it just didn't look or feel like a fulfilling experience.

I needed to come up with an idea that people would have people saying "hey.. I need one of those too". And it just so happens I got 99 problems that need solving. I have a chronic case of Eczema so I came up with an idea for a product that would make my situation more bearable. I sat down with a friend and drew it on a napkin... we ran through the benefits (not to be confused with features) of using such a product.

Why the benefits? Because benefits sell... not features. Nobody cares that the toothbrush you bought has silicone teeth... it's about why it has silicone teeth. We wanted to figure out what benefits people would want from this product, starting with me. If my needs could be solved with this product, so can anyone else that struggles with Eczema on a daily basis. We determined what materials would be ideal and, for my own benefit, I sought the consultation of an R&D expert on the material and took a couple courses on the specific chemicals that would be needed to make such a product possible.

I also began to browse www.thomasnet.com for suppliers that might be able to manufacture the product I had in mind. I compiled a list of ~100 potential manufacturers and called every single one of them. The ones who didn't answer the phone or return my calls were automatically scratched off the list... I'd say that took about 70% of the manufacturers off the list. I won't work with anyone I can't reach.

For step two, I looked on Google to 'vet' the remaining manufacturers on the list... I used key phrases like [company name] fraud, or [company name] lawsuit to see if these specific companies had any history of problems with their clients. Fortunately, Thomasnet does a pretty good job vetting the companies on their list... but it's not flawless. My shortlist came down to about 5-10. They all were able to answer questions about scale, material customization, quality assurance, and they were more than willing to adapt as needed.

In case you're wondering, I debated the idea of getting a patent on the product before it's produced.. and am still wrestling with this at the moment. My personal opinion is to patent the product once sales come rolling in, the sales will pay for the patent itself. The reason being, the likelihood of the idea being stolen by the time the sales come rolling in is not very good - since I'll be much further along than any competing product in the market by the time it begins to get sales.

Once I drew the product concept up, I sent a note to a friend that does rendering. Asking him to do a 3D concept design on paper so a manufacturer could produce an appropriate mold for it. We agreed on a price and that's where this particular project is at this time.

But wait, there's more!

As I was drilling away at this product idea, @jpanarra reached out to me to see if I was willing to help him get an idea off the ground. He wanted to start a service that helps connect businesses with potential customers. I loved it. It was a need. There was a barrier to entry. And it was completely scaleable. Almost instantly, we decided to partner in on the business. The reason being, we both had the same need... and we both had the same goal.

Feel free to follow his thread on his own journey, it's not very different from mine.

Right out of the gate we started a marketing service.. it was basically all things marketing. What I quickly realized though was when people say start small... they mean it. We had a fantastic idea in mind that would no doubt disrupt the industry, but it needed a fair amount of upfront capital - and if there were no investors, we needed to bootstrap.

So in order to bootstrap we offered a broad range of marketing services... in the quest to build capital for our next big idea, we started our business. Everything was in place, we had built the system, we had designed the website, we had created a solution to a need... but it was difficult to sell. Week after week went by and for whatever reason, our outreach wasn't working. Interest was there, but no one would swipe the card.

It took me a little while to figure out what we were doing wrong. But it clicked one day. I had confided in one of my personal connections on Facebook and was sharing my frustration with the current state of our business. What he said next gave me an epiphany.

We weren't selling an outcome. (I'll explain what I mean by that.)

Sure... I was telling people "hey, we'll market your business!" And lots of marketing agencies exist to do just that. But those agencies are well established and now cater to a broad range of needs... They've built their approach from the needs they cater to. In JP's and my case, we were selling a bunch of approaches and maybe an outcome from those approaches.

We weren't selling something people really NEEDED.

We were far too broad, and implementing known approaches to problems to an array of needs. Kind of like playing zone defense on a football field when you really need to be focused on playing man to man. Bigger businesses can afford to play zone defense because they've generated enough traffic to be able to do so. We're a niche right now so we need to focus on covering player one, the wide receiver. So we decided to revisit the playbook and pivot.

That's where we are right now.


And that's how I'm getting out of the Slowlane.

I've got some big decisions ahead of me... still depending on my single source of income until those sales start flowing in from my two projects. I'm building up my exit plan, which is probably when one (or both) of my businesses begin to produce the sales equivalent to what I'm currently earning (3k per month) and I'm also eyeing the housing market for a way to ditch the rent by finding a multi-unit place to live in. Fortunately, I don't have any family yet so I have some flexibility as far as living situations go.

I am still none of those people I referenced in the beginning of this post. And I probably never will be.
  • I will not be the hot fitness model with a 5,000 person following on Instagram
  • I won't be the vegan dietitian that has an entire YouTube channel dedicated to the art of 'easy' veganism
  • I won't be the hotshot tech guy with a whole site dedicated to the review of the latest technology
I know all of them. And every time I see them, I am thrilled they all have an established sense of purpose and know exactly what they want. They've given roots to their place in our lives and that's a great thing to have. And if you're one of those people, all the power to you.

I think my purpose is still forming itself, and it started when I decided to do something about my place in my life. What that looks like, I don't know. But I know it's going to be valuable. We get one life, might as well live it the best we can.

Much more to come as we navigate the two up and coming businesses.
 

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