Want to know a secret that almost every extremely wealthy person has in common but very few of them want you to know about it?
It’s not luck…
It’s not who they knew…
And it’s not what books they read…
Instead, it’s having a history of going flat broke in their bank account. Or, at least a huge failure that resulted in a near bankruptcy experience.
I have had the opportunity to work closely with plenty of first generation, from-scratch millionaire and multi-millionaire entrepreneurs.
Nearly all of them have a story where they went brutally broke before ultimately achieving lasting success and wealth.
Even the all-time legends in the business world such as Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Elon Musk, and Mark Cuban have told stories about their bankruptcies in the past.
When you read as many biographies and talked to as many millionaires as I have, you start noticing trends and expecting certain things. Going broke is something I have heard so often now that it’s borderline accepted within my brain that most successful people have had a brutally hard time in their life where they had absolutely nothing.
Although I of course don’t put myself alongside the names listed above, I too have gone completely broke in my career. Twice.
There are reasons why the best all seem to walk a similar path, and most of it revolves around fear (or lack thereof).
You Must Not Be Afraid
Entrepreneurial success in the fitness industry requires a willingness to risk and experience failure, and the emotional resiliency to recover from it quickly, decisively, passionately, and persistently.
Nobody, and I mean nobody reaches success in our industry in a straight line. Going broke is a representation of this non-straight line, and your willingness to even walk it in the first place.
That takes guts, you can never be afraid.
Money Is A Tool
Now, it’s very important that you have a mind like a steel trap. You can’t be afraid to make business decisions or else you will never walk that crooked line to the top.
Those decisions, whether right or wrong, are crucial towards your long-term development as a businessman or business woman.
But, just as importantly, I think when you go completely broke you realize that money is just as replaceable as anything else in your life. It becomes just a tool, and you realize that it doesn’t need to be placed on a pedestal any longer.
When you go broke, as I have twice, you feel as if your life is over.
I felt like a loser boyfriend, I thought I’d forever carry the flag of being a failure, I didn’t feel like I was a man yet, and I thought that I would never have any credit with the bank.
But then you quickly discover that none of this stuff is true, and that money is readily available more quickly and easily than the first time around.
It’s a light bulb moment you have where you now feel in control, money doesn’t own you anymore or dominate your decision making process because you know that life isn’t over.
I haven’t had any fears about money long before I actually started doing well for myself, what I used to think was fatal turned out to just be a flesh wound. No problem, shake it off and let’s try out the next idea.
Fear about money holds back your ability to make it because it restricts you into acting cautiously — and nobody ever got anywhere in this business by taking the cautious route to success.
I promise you that every fear-based decision you make in business you will end up regretting. Every time you say no to fear, you win the day.
It’s Not Your Fault
If you’re feeling a little defensive about my writing today, I want you to know that it’s not your fault.
Fear is a learned behavior.
We are naturally born with fears of the dark, spiders, and falling off of stuff. If we didn’t have these, we’d be in trouble pretty quickly.
But, for the most part, we learn the rest of our fears from other humans. We are conditioned to be fearful from what we hear and observe as children by the influences of the fearful adults around us.
Not to mention, most of our fears are totally irrational.
People who are afraid of flying will drive a car on the highway on the way to the airport and not bat an eye. Other people fear public speaking as much as anything that’s actually dangerous in this world, and yet all you’re doing is talking.
But, it’s my observation that most people’s parents, especially in the middle class, create fear surrounding money in their children at a young age.
They fear not having it, they fear spending it, they fear they may change if they have a lot of it, they fear making poor decisions with it, they fear their retirement because of it.
Among so many other things. The list is friggin’ exhausting.
I admit that my family injected some of this behavior in me growing up so I carried this with me in the beginning stages of my life and career.
But, the less and less I feared about spending the more and more money entered my bank account.
You can’t build a business with a small-money mindset, you need to invest in it early and often for it to be successful.
I’m not saying you need a hundred thousand dollars, but I am saying that you’re going to need to be willing to be uncomfortable for a little chunk of your life before this thing works out. Prepare yourself for that.
I lived in a 700 square foot apartment and had to buy groceries with a credit card because I had nothing in my bank. Yet, I look back on these days fondly. “The Grind” is what it’s all about, I wouldn’t change a damn thing because I’m not afraid of money.
Even when I had no money I was constantly going to the most expensive seminars and doing the most expensive courses — that’s what makes me money, that’s not how I lose money. Read that again.
A Bump In The Road
When I lost all of my money, I thought it was going to be the end of me.
Shortly after, I realized it was just a bump in the road and that nothing really changed other than me worrying about silly things. I call them silly because everything I worried about I was still in control of.
Ok great, let’s not watch any stupid TV shows or go on social media and get out there and grind. Easy solution.
What you will find is that all of your experiences surrounding the “low’s” of not having any money are so much more valuable than the money itself.
Please don’t take today’s article to grant you permission to live recklessly and stupidly with your money. I’m not saying that.
Irresponsibility is almost always punished in this world.
But, confidence and calculated risk taking is something you have to adopt if you want to become a millionaire and be the best possible coach you can be.
You will never grow big thinking small.