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The secret that The Rock and I have in common

The uncomfortable reason people are successful… and why you’re not yet.

I get it.

For years, I often gave into the temptation to think, It must be nice, when seeing wildly successful people.

Take The Rock, for example (or if you didn’t spend the ‘90s watching WWF wrestling every Monday night – Dwayne Johnson).

Handsome. Charming. In incredible shape. One of the most famous people in Hollywood. Money coming out of his ears.

Must be nice.

But I know The Rock’s full story.

Dwayne Johnson worked very hard and dedicated his life to winning his game… but that’s not the secret I’m thinking about here.

Years ago, before he was The Rock, Johnson was a football player with dreams of making it big in the NFL.

He played at the University of Florida on a football scholarship, and he was ready to make the move.

Then he got hurt.

He missed his chance to get to the NFL Draft.

Once he healed up, he was forced to go to the Canadian Football League to prove his ability. A couple days after his first pro game, he was cut.

His dream was dead.

As he processed the loss of all his goals in life up to that point, he reached into his pocket to count the money he had to his name.

There was $7. That’s all he had.

He moved back into his parents’ house and started training… for professional wrestling.

That was in 1995.

In November 1998 – three years later – he was the WWF Champion.

In 2000, he was a movie star and hosting Saturday Night Live.

He never forgot that $7 moment. When he started his production company, he named it Seven Bucks Productions.

Think about how low he was when he stared at that $7 in his pocket.

He had literally nothing.

He had every excuse to give up and say, “Well, I can’t do anything until I magically have more money to do it and it feels safer and I can mitigate this risk…”

Johnson dug in, committed himself, and accepted the risk of chasing what he wanted.

And boy, did he get it.

My $7 Story

Our haircuts are not the only thing that Rock and I have in common.

In 2018, my business was at an all-time low.

I made so many mistakes up to that point, and I had nothing.

We were 3 months behind on all our bills, including our rent.

Debt collectors called so often, we stopped answering the phone.

My wife spent most days selling random stuff from around the house – including our kids’ toys – for cash to buy groceries.

I had quit copywriting briefly.

I discovered ghostwriting fiction books… and a writer was offering a course in how to do it yourself.

He offered a ridiculous guarantee: that I’d be making six figures a year within a few months.

But the program cost $5,000.

My bank account spent most days of the week incurring overdraft fees. A program that cost more than my monthly bills? Ridiculous!

After sitting through a webinar and seeing that sales pitch, I shook my head and walked away, resigned to still figuring this whole thing out myself.

My low point sunk even lower.

Screw the limits – and make it work

There comes a point where you stop accepting limitations.

I don’t mean in some fancy, The Secret way of doing things.

I mean in a, There’s a way to do this, and it’s up to me to figure it out, way.

Even though I was literally sitting on 3 months of rent and utilities, I scoured the internet to find a way to finance my admission into this program.

The first few places I looked were dead ends.

Then… an opening.

I found an online-only lender that was stupid enough to lend ME money.

And they were looking for someone stupid enough to take a really bad loan.

Everybody wins.

It was the worst loan of my life. The payments were wild. The interest rate was insane. It was wildly expensive.

But I got it. And I immediately turned it over to the ghostwriting guy.

It was the right risk to take

Ghostwriting wasn’t for me long-term.

The guy’s guarantee was bogus, of course (nobody can guarantee something like that).

But it stopped the bleeding, financially. It freed me up to rebuild my copywriting business… learning the lessons of the past.

And it gave me the bandwidth to build the system and strategy that I teach writers every day – the system and strategy that helped me grow my business to $250,000+ per year.

I wouldn’t have reached this level of income if I hadn’t made that uncomfortable commitment.

I wouldn’t have bought our dream house in January 2023 if I hadn’t refused to accept the limitations placed on me.

I wouldn’t have gone from 3 months behind on all bills and $130,000 in debt to completely debt-free in just a few years if I hadn’t fiercely and stubbornly told myself: “I’m going to figure this out and make it work.”

Just like The Rock wouldn’t be the biggest star in Hollywood and one of the most loved and famous people alive if he hadn’t looked at that $7 in his pocket and said, “Screw this, I’m going to find a way.”

It’s called a Growth Mindset

Too many of you are playing a Loser’s Game.

You’re playing with a “fixed mindset”: you see limits and roadblocks, get frustrated, and allow yourself to stay where you are.

With a growth mindset, you see those limitations as opportunities.

You know in your heart that there is a way around them, and you’ll figure it out.

You make those uncomfortable commitments because you are ready and willing to bet on yourself.

The Rock made a bet on himself and it paid off.

I made a bet on myself and it paid off.

Will you?