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I couldn’t make her love me

A true story of love – and the mindset problem keeping you from all the success and money you want.

“I love you.”

“Wow. I don’t… think… I’m quite there yet…”

“That’s okay. I said it because I meant it, not because I thought you’d say it back.”

And so began the most depressing 2-year relationship of my life.

Katie (not her real name) and I went all the way back to high school. I always thought she was cute, though she was 2 years ahead of me.

As fate would have it, our paths crossed at a Perkin’s diner while in college.

We dated on-and-off for 4 years.

Smack in the middle of it, we had the above exchange.

After that awkwardness, I stayed true to my word.

I told her I loved her every time I said “goodbye” to her for 2 years… including every phone call and video chat (she spent school years in Taiwan teaching English), both times I flew to Taiwan to visit her, and every time I bid her goodbye when she left the country.

And for 2 full years, she never said it back.

Not once.

I remained faithful and dedicated to our relationship the entire time, even while she was gone.

Yet she never opened herself up to the possibility of loving me.

Katie was not a bad person – she was scared

Many friends and family were not fans of Katie.

It wasn’t because she was mean or manipulative. On the contrary, there’s not a mean bone in her body to this day.

They just saw, from the outside, a guy who was dedicated to a relationship with a girl who wasn’t.

What they didn’t fully know or realize is that Katie went through some stuff.

She had been in a bad relationship that she thought would end in marriage, but the guy suddenly broke up with her.

Her mom – who she is incredibly close with – went through her second divorce while we were dating, and is currently on her third marriage.

So Katie approached the relationship with walls built up around her. She didn’t want to risk getting hurt, because she had seen love fail so often in her own life.

When Katie broke up with me back in 2008 (another reason to hate September 11th), she said she couldn’t keep going without saying, “I love you” back, and she couldn’t say it.

I wasn’t shocked.

I discussed this often with Katie.

You can’t fall in love this way

One reason we lasted as long as we did is because Katie was out of the country for 9 months out of the year.

You can ignore relationship problems and push them off when you have that hanging over you.

Most of the problems were just blamed on the distance – and we’d be able to settle in once she was done with her missionary work.

In the summer of 2008, she came home for good… and I began putting more pressure on the relationship.

I sat her down for dinner one night in downtown Milwaukee and told her, flat out: “I’m a freelancer now. I can work anywhere. If you decide to go to graduate school in another city, I’m coming with you.”

I wasn’t demanding to live with her. I wouldn’t do that, and neither would she.

I was telling her that I’d get my own apartment near her. This wasn’t about obsessing over her or invading her space, it was simply this: I needed to see where this relationship was going to go, if anywhere. I couldn’t wait any longer for the opportunity.

Her reaction should have clued me in that we were a couple weeks away from the end: “But what if we break up?”

This was the undercurrent in most of our relationship conversations for 2 years.

She couldn’t commit because she was so focused on the risk that she needed to protect herself from that at all costs.

If you’re not successful, this might be why

Love happens when two people allow themselves to be fully vulnerable to each other.

You throw in with someone and you accept the risk that it might not work out because the potential for gain is greater and more important to you than the potential for failure.

Yes, the relationship could fail.

But the only way it can succeed is if you go for it anyway.

My friends, love and business are very similar in this way.

Over the last 2 years, I’ve spoken with hundreds of aspiring writers (literally).

And so many of you are working with the same Protection Mindset.

It shows itself in different ways, like:

  • “What if I join and after 6 months I still don’t have any clients?”
  • “I would need to be sure that I’m going to get results before I take the risk.”
  • “Can’t I pay you after I get my first clients?”
  • “What guarantee do you offer?”

The subtext behind every one of these statements is this: “I am afraid that I will fail, and I do not want to risk failing.”

You get more of what you focus on

The reason my relationship with Katie ended is because she was so focused on the potential for failure that she never gave herself an opportunity to succeed.

Right now, you have an opportunity to succeed.

If you haven’t taken it yet, where is your focus?

Is it on the risk?

If you’re focused on the risk of failing, all you will see is potential for failure and nothing more.

But when you focus on the potential to succeed and the opportunity that is out there, you get more of it.

You get more success.

You get more opportunity.

And you win.

That’s what it means to have a growth mindset.

A growth mindset is the ONLY way you will win.

That’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s true.

As long as you’re worried about the risk, you’ll remain exactly where you are now.

You might as well unsubscribe from these emails, because you won’t go anywhere. At the end of the day, doing any of the stuff you read in these emails will require you taking on some risk.

The good news about risk…

…it’s usually overblown.

The Worst Case Scenario is survivable.

Heck, it teaches you things sometimes.

My wife and I still lean on the lessons of past years, when I screwed up my business and we were selling our kids’ toys for grocery money.

We survived that.

It wasn’t GREAT. But we made it.

And we came out the other end making more money than ever, with more stability than ever, and a brighter future than we ever could have imagined.

We wouldn’t be sitting in this dream house right now if it wasn’t for those low points.

All of it comes down to accepting risk.

Will you take the leap?

Or are you going to stay comfortable where you are?

It’s your call.

It’s been almost 16 years since Katie broke up with me.

I know through mutual friends that she is still single, now in her 40s.

It makes me sad, because I know she has plenty of potential for love and is a good person.

But she just can’t get past those walls she built around herself to protect her.

So her relationship life has not budged in 16 years.

Where could you be in 16 years if you accept risk now?

And more importantly: where would you be in 16 years if you keep trying to shield yourself from it?

In the same spot you’re in now?

Are you okay with that?

Loving freely, accepting risk, and taking leaps every day,


P.S. Another spot gone in Solo Copy Empire.

We’re down to just a handful… and doors are closing on Tuesday, May 7th, at midnight CT.

Your chance to embrace a little uncertainty on the road to success is winding down.

But I’ll be in your corner every step of the way. That’s the difference between other risks and this one.

You’ll have my resources, my tools, and my experience to ensure your success.

You have to take the first uncertain step, though.

Click the link below to lock in your spot while the doors are open and spots are still available…