CREATING YOUR OWN BAGS TO RICHES STORY.

As Kurt stepped out of his truck, the icy wind ripped at his face, turning his cheeks a splotchy red. He shoved his hands in his pockets. Making sure his finger tips could feel the cold coins inside. He had run out of gas on the way back home. Not his home, mind you. He was living in the basement of his girlfriend’s parent’s house — with her two kids.

He had a dream of playing in the NFL but found himself working third shift at the local grocer.

Stocking shelves instead of throwing passes.

Touching those coins again in his pocket, he put his head down and pushed back against the winter wind.

It was a new truck. New to him, at least. His one luxury in life.

He was so proud of the truck he had just bought. Kurt knew they shouldn’t have been out driving, not on an empty tank. Not in the snow and cold. Not without any real money.

Stuck on the side of the road, Kurt, Brenda, and the kids dug under the seats and opened all the compartments — looking for any change they could find. It was less than two dollars.

Those were the coins in his pocket.

His chance to get back home and keep fighting for his dream — playing in the NFL.

Despite his current problems, he had made it.

Even though he was working all night at the grocery store, he was the first player at football workouts in the morning. Putting all the energy he had into getting noticed. He showed up. He worked hard. He pushed. He prayed. He believed he could do it.

And he finally did. Kurt Warner got a contract with the Green Bay Packers.

He used his signing bonus to buy that GMC pickup.

Kurt knew he had been training for greatness his whole life. He wasn’t going to be just another football player. He wanted to be a football player to be remembered for ever.

To call Kurt obsessive would be an understatement. You could see it in him as a small boy.

When he was in elementary school, he wore the same pair of ugly green jeans every day for two years. It wasn’t because he didn’t have any clothes. He just liked them.

He applied that same focus to sports. And it paid off. He barely knew defeat on the field as a child. Even as a teenager, he chalked up win after win and championship after championship.

Although he loved baseball and basketball and played them well, Kurt’s love for football couldn’t be missed. He practiced day and night.

Sometimes even throwing passes from himself to himself in the front yard. Regardless of how ridiculous he looked.

He developed a kind of self-motivation that would stick with him even into his adult life. Kurt didn’t need other people patting him on the back and telling him he was doing a good job. He only believed in himself and God. And so he developed a habit of self-talk to and prayer when he needed encouragement to push forward.

Some days were easier than others to pat himself on the back. When his team was taking a championship. When he was a starting quarterback. When there were victories. Those times were easy.

Walking through a winter storm. That wasn’t easy. His upcoming struggle to “make it” — that wasn’t going to be easy.

Weeks later, he was cut by the Packers. Before his career ever started. Kurt ended up playing Arena Football with the Iowa Barnstormers for two years instead of Green Bay.

His team was victorious both years.

It started to work. It seemed.

The St. Louis Rams noticed Kurt and signed him to play for them. But not stateside. He was sent to play for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe. Away from Brenda and the kids. Away from NFL scouts. Away from new team workouts. Sent to the other side of the world to try to catch his break.

And it worked. Kind of.

After one season overseas, Kurt Warner was back in the states. He was back with his family. Playing third string quarterback. Keeping his section of the bench warm for the whole season while Tony Banks and Steve Bono stood on the field where he dreamed of being.

The Rams got rid of Bono and Banks and signed a super-star — Trent Green.

There was no way Kurt was going to get on the field. Until he did.

A few weeks into the 1999 NFL preseason Trent went down with a horrific ACL tear to his right knee — shredding the ligaments. The Ram’s coaching staff were in tears at the press conference as they announced the change. Their season was over.

Head coach, Dick Vermeil — who hadn’t given Kurt any practice with the first-string offense through all of training camp or pre-season — tried to rally the support of the team, “We will rally around Kurt Warner, and we’ll play good football.” Little did he know how good it would be.

Kurt threw three touchdowns in his first game. He did it again in his second game. And then in his third game — the only NFL quarterback in history to accomplish that feat. He was just turning up the heat.

He threw five touchdowns in game four. Fourteen total in four games. And a 4-0 record. The following week, Sports Illustrated featured him on their cover with the question “Who Is This Guy?”.

This was his chance. And he was determined to make the most of it.

He put together one of the best seasons by a quarterback in NFL history. He threw for 4,353 yards and 41 touchdown passes — beginning what fans would call “The Greatest Show on Turf” — leading the Rams to a Super Bowl XXXIV championship.

He would take home the MVP trophy. Throwing for over 414 yards of offense — 45 passing attempts without a single interception. That too was an NFL record.

Two years later, Kurt Warner would again take his team to the Super Bowl — claiming the NFL MVP title for the second time in three years.

The rest is history. Literally. He wanted to be remembered. And it happened.

Kurt Warner is considered the best undrafted NFL player of all time.

His career is regarded as one of the greatest stories in NFL history.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017 and is the only person inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Arena Football Hall of Fame.

Success wasn’t easy or automatic. Despite his will to win and the effort, he was willing to invest in his success, he faced outrageous challenges.

The same is true for you.

It’s not good enough to want to win. It’s not good enough to work to win.

You have to be willing to go through hell and back in pursuit of getting to where you want to be.

The bigger your goal, the greater the opposition you’re going to face.

Just because you want something really bad, doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen.

You’re not owed a happy ending. You don’t deserve for things to go right just because you’re doing the right thing.

The hard truth about accomplishing your dreams is that you have to be “all in” on your own success. Willing to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.

You might find yourself in the basement of your girlfriend’s parents house. Trying to make it by.

Don’t give up the fight because you’re not where you want to be yet. Don’t stop fighting for your dream because you don’t see the results you’re expecting yet.

Success is what you make it.

The Movie Your Soul Plays.

It is not an accident if you find yourself constantly nervous and frustrated. And it’s not a coincidence if you wake up tired but inspired. 

Motivation is a pretty simple formula. What you put into your mind fuels the direction of your life.

If you spend your time listening to frantic, worrisome political news, you will find yourself frantic and worried. 

If you devote a portion of your day to new ideas from your favorite author, you’ll see hope and opportunity — in spite of how your current day is unfolding. 

What goes into your eyeballs is the movie your soul plays.

What goes into your ears is the soundtrack of your conquest. 

Which is why it matters that you surround yourself with people who push you into doing things that make you better. 

It matters that you avoid negative, angry people. You are absorbing their attitudes and adopting their outlook on the world around you. 

Fear breeds more fear. Panic and rage breed panic and rage. You lose your motivation or find it based on the people you let influence you. 

You get to choose what you think about.

You get to choose what you achieve. You get to choose who you love and how much money you make. 

Just don’t think that those results are an accident. 

Don’t make the mistake of believing that it doesn’t matter what you think about along the way. 

You won’t rise higher than what you observe and absorb. 

Every thought matters. Every conversation matters. Every friend matters. 

Protect what you allow inside your mind. 

Success isn’t an accident. Greatness is a choice. Focus is a habit.

The Wonder Of Getting Started.

The great pyramids of Egypt were started by a single stone, placed by a single worker on that first day. That single stone didn’t amount to much of anything. The slave worker who placed it there didn’t get a bonus. There wasn’t a celebration to commemorate the occasion.

Most likely no one cared — or stopped to notice.

It wasn’t anything worthy of a second thought. But that start — that first stone — became a monument we call one of the great wonders of the world. Millions of people around the world travel to see the work started by the placement of that first stone.

That is the power of beginnings.

Getting started is the hardest thing you’ll do.

Once you have momentum, progress is easy. Almost automatic.

It’s that “getting started” part of the equation that demands so much effort and courage.

If you’re not careful, you will spend too much time thinking about getting started and planning to get started, without ever getting started. It’s terribly easy to get excited about planning the plan. It feels like you’re doing something important.

But you’re not.

Success isn’t about how you feel. It’s what you’ve accomplished. Specific milestones.

Whatever great thing you want to accomplish begins with placing that first stone. Real effort. Real movement.

It won’t look like much. Nothing to celebrate. No awards to win. No crowd cheering or finish line to cross.

But it’s a start. Just the thing you need to create the wonder of your success.

What Finishing Really Means.

You’ll never be successful if you don’t finish what you start.  Completing a task is an art all by itself. 

Many people make the mistake of confusing “finishing a task” with the idiot stubbornness to keep doing something the same way and hoping that it magically works itself out. 

Those people aren’t successful. Usually. 

Completing, finishing, doing what it takes — those are the ways of describing the flexibility you will need to realize a breakthrough in your life. 

Finishing a task doesn’t mean you keep doing the same thing and hope that it works out. 

Finishing requires that you’re introspective enough to notice what works best and then stay disciplined to continue the process of measuring and improving until your results line up with your vision. 

Completing any assignment demands obstinance. And massive amounts of flexibility. 

How you achieve anything will change over time. 

You’re going to learn new things. Over time you’re going to have more resources to apply to those new things you have learned. Your circumstances are going to change.

To be successful you’re going to have to change.

Change how you think. Change how you operate. Change the metrics you use to define success.

When you think about getting something done, think less about how you’re going to do it and more about why it matters to you.

That makes finishing what you start a foregone conclusion.

Giving Up Is Your Choice.

“No.” That was the answer a young Norwegian named Lauritz Sand received from his father when he said he wanted to go to art school.

His father wanted him to become an architect.

Lauritz resisted & launched his first art exhibition when he was 19.

It failed. Miserably. But he never regretted trying.

So relenting to his father’s wishes, he graduated from the Stockholm Technical School in 1899–and then immediately joined the Royal Dutch East Indies Army.

Graduating from officer school in 1902, he spent the bulk of his time with a team of other surveyors, mapping local archipelagos.

It wasn’t conquest. But he was learning.

Four years later — after graduating from officer school, he left to strike out on his own, building and managing plantations across the world. Using his skills as an officer and more than a little stubbornness, he created a beautiful piece of paradise he named the Pagilaran Estates.

While WWI raged all around him and for almost the next decade, he made lots of money.

In 1918, he founded & presided over the South Zuid Sumatra Syndicate. He went from rich to really rich. Lauritz had made a name for himself as a tenacious leader. A guy you could count on to turn your investment into tremendous returns.

It wasn’t just one day or one project. It was year after year. Idea after idea. Mission after mission. Business venture after business venture. Decade after decade.

But that old stubborn streak inside him kept flaring up. He was tired of just making money.

He longed to return to his home in Norway.

And so in 1938 at 59 years old, he and his wife Annie returned and settled in Bekkestua. It was quiet, and they were happy.

But over the years, the itch to travel and conquer and “build something” began to return. He was in the early 60’s when Lauritz started to plan his next big move.

But all at once, Germany invaded Poland–and Lauritz canceled his plans to move abroad. Norway refused to enter the European maelstrom and declared neutrality. Lauritz was safe.

As long as he stayed out things. That turned out to be a tough choice for a stubborn guy like Lauritz. Even if he was officially retired.

Throughout Norway, pockets of resistance quietly began to push back against the Nazi occupation.

Behind the scenes, Lauritz threw himself into the fight.

He quickly became a leader among the resistance, becoming known for being “dynamic and outward, with temperament and inspiration”. Those are fancy word to let you know that he was a bad-ass, old man.

He focused his efforts on covertly documenting German military outposts, dusting off his cartographical skills from his time in the Royal Dutch East Indies Army.

He built an underground network of operatives to pass his documents to the Allied Forces in Sweden and England, dubbing it “XU”. He was massively successful in helping the Allies with important information like troop numbers and strategy.

But all of that was about to be undone by one of those operatives. Her name was Laura Johannesen. Lauritz would have never guessed that she was a Nazi spy.

Through a series of meetings within the Oslo restaurant Theatercaféen, she learned how Sand ran the XU.

And used it against him.

A few months later, the Germans arrested Lauritz Sand. He was an old man. But the Germans were determined to break him. After all, he was a resistance leader with valuable intel.

That turned out to be harder than they ever imagined.

Crack. They broke an arm when he wouldn’t give them any information.

Crack. They broke his other arm when he remained silent.

Crack. Crack. They broke both of his legs when he resisted turning on his friends.

When the couldn’t break his spirit, they sent him to be tortured by the Gestapo at Victoria Terrasse, the Nazi’s Norwegian headquarters. It was a painful, dark, and scary place.

You were sent there to die.

It was not uncommon for a prisoner at Victoria Terrasse to fling himself out of a window to commit suicide before he could be interrogated. It was horrible.

When Siegfried Fehmer, known for his brutal interrogation tactics, couldn’t break Lauritz, they sent him to an already overcrowded Nazi labor camp. He was more dead than alive.

But he refused to give them a single name. A single plan. A single bit of intelligence.

So they beat him again. And broke his body. Almost to the point of death. And then they treated him, so they could try to break him again. It was a calculated plan  — working to beat him and torture him so he wouldn’t die before divulging the secrets of the resistance.

They broke almost every bone in his body, leaving him for dead on numerous occasions.

It was said that he was the most tortured man in Norway.

In a strange twist of fate, his steely will became symbolic with Norwegian resistance. This old man with a stubborn streak was standing up to the entire German army.

An old man. A weakened man. A beaten man.  His determination gave the other prisoners hope that they too could hold out.

Eventually, the Nazis realized he would not relent. There was nothing else that they could do that they had not already attempted. So they decided to execute him by firing squad.

They would put an end to this symbol of resistance. That failed too.

Nine days before he was to be shot, the Nazis surrendered. The war was over. His torture was finished.

He had survived.

It is said he only told his captors one word: “Nei” (Norwegian for “NO”).

He would not divulge his knowledge of the resistance. He would not betray his fellow countrymen. He would not allow the Nazis to rule his country. The answer was “NO”.

“NO” now. “NO” later. “NO” every time he was put to the test. “NO.” “NO.” “NO.” “NO.” “NO.”

He would back down. He would not quit. He would not give in. The answer was “NO.”

Shortly thereafter, he was knighted by King Haakon VII for his bravery and endurance.

Today, you will see a statute of Lauritz Sand in Griniveien, Norway as a testament to his incredible story of will. It’s inscribed with a single word: “Nei.”

He understood the power of “NO.”

The decision of was all his to make. No one else could make him back down, slow down, quit, cry, or give up. That was completely his choice. Even in the middle of a torture chamber.

The exact same is true for you.

No one can make you quit but you. It’s on you. Your decision. Your choice.

It does not matter what you are going through. It does not matter if life is unfair to you. It does not matter how old you, the color of your skin, your gender, job title, the level of your education, or how much money you have — or don’t have.

Giving up is a “you thing”. Completely.

Let that soak in for a minute. You are right now exactly where you should be. You are completely in control of your life. You get to choose anything you want. You can create whatever you decide to create.

Own it. Believe it.

Act like it.

Poverty Is A State Of Mind.


Poverty is a state of mind. What you think about most is who you are–and what you achieve.

Wealth is how everyone else knows what you have been thinking about. It’s the end result.

In science & business, we call this a “trailing indicator.” The very last alert you’ll see.

Being broke isn’t a state of mind. It’s a state of reality.

Failing isn’t a state of mind. It’s a moment in time.

Even what other people think of as success, like money and fame and fun, isn’t a state of mind. It’s just a current status.

Don’t confuse where you are in life right now with getting to where you want to be.

Don’t be so discouraged that you start thinking that just because you haven’t done it, you’re never going to do it.

If you give up on yourself in your mind, your results will always lead to disappointment and failure.

Ever wonder why so many people who win many millions of dollars playing the lottery lose it all so quickly?

It’s not about the money. It’s about their mindset.

They were poor before they won the lottery. And they end up poor despite all the money.

All their friends and family thought they were rich. Even they themselves thought they were rich.

But they were broke. Not because of the size of their bank account, but because of the size of their belief.

All the wealth and fame and success you want for yourself is the product of your mental wealth. Measured by what you’ve learned. Multiplied by the inspiration you consume.

  1. Read a book about the life story of someone you have always admired. Take time to let their journey and struggles sink in.
  2. Join a mastermind group of people you think are out of your league. Listen, learn, and grow from your experience with them.
  3. Cut-out divisive talk radio programs and biased daily news from your routine. It’s okay to be clueless about the opinions of negative people.

There is no single, guaranteed path to success.

But there is one guaranteed way you will end up failing. To have a poor mind. To think only about what other people can see about you on the outside.

If poverty is a state of mind, what is your true net worth?

There’s No Substitute For Doing The Right Thing.

There is no substitute for doing the right thing. There is no substitute for leading even when no seems to be following — or even noticing.

There is no substitute for getting back on your feet when you fall, fail, and get hurt.

There is no substitute for making sure people know you care about them.

There is no substitute for doing the hard things that everyone else just makes excuses to avoid doing.

There is no substitute for resilience, determination, focus, passion, ambition, or drive.

There is no substitute for monitoring the details and fixing small problems quickly.

There is no substitute for giving more value than you take from the world around you.

There is no substitute for doing a good thing long enough for it to start working for you.

There is no substitute for taking the high road, playing the long game, and living with class.

There is no substitute for apologizing to those you hurt after you make a mistake.

There is no substitute for enduring the pain of progress to get to where you want to be.

There is no substitute for going the extra mile and then going a 1,000 more.

There is no substitute for hard work, smart work, effective work, and good old-fashioned “sweat”.

There is no substitute for agonizing over how to make a difference instead of just making more money.

There is no substitute for doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes to get the results that you want.

There is no substitute for looking others in the eye, shaking hands firmly, and smiling more.

There is no substitute for following up and following through on the promises that you make.

There just isn’t any substitute for doing the right thing.

That’s why we call it the right thing.

The Secret Power Behind Your Biggest Weakness.

Behind every weakness is tremendous strength. The things that you’re desperately trying to improve are also your biggest assets.

  • Behind arrogance is confidence.
  • Behind fear is empathy.
  • Behind failure is motivation.
  • Behind embarrassment is achievement.

The same things that make you vulnerable are the very things that can make you mighty.

What separates your potential success from inevitable downfall is your desire to improve.

Within you is everything you need to get to where you want to be. But it won’t be of any use to you if you’re not willing to get honest — and change.

You have to be willing to cut through the bullshit and lies you tell yourself about how everyone else is picking on you or how life is unfair to you.

What’s your plan for getting past the obstacles that are holding you back from success right now?

The answer is buried in that bad habit you’ve been trying to avoid. Flip it around. Turn it into your biggest strength.

The Joy Of Finishing What You Start.

You will always learn more from finishing a task than from beginning a new one. You’ll learn about how tough you are. Especially when it’s easy to generate legitimate reasons for stopping.

In those moments – when you make the decision to finish that task, even though you’re in pain, you suddenly discover all the answers you thought you would learn from lessons along the way.

It suddenly becomes clear what you need to do.

Your mission becomes more powerful to you.

The challenges standing in your way become less scary. You develop toughness that you didn’t ever think possible.

Over the last few years, I’ve run close to 16,000 miles on roads and trails. Over mountains and through muddy water.

I often joke with my team that my second book should be entitled “Everything I Know I Learned Running”. I love running. It gives me time to decompress. It forces me to be honest about my own abilities.

But sometimes, running is hard. Especially on race day.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been training or how big your goal is, you want to do well.

The beginning of the race is exciting. But it doesn’t take long for you to be forced into making a tough decision about your level of effort.

When you’re gasping and wheezing for air there are plenty of good reasons why you should slow down–or even stop. It feels right.

What feels better is finishing.

That joy of knowing that you’ve been through a dark place and come out the other side. That you could have quit and didn’t.

That is the reason why you finish. Because to pull it off, you have to grow and struggle, suffer, evolve, and become a better version of you.

Which is everything that you were wanting to accomplish when you started the race. You just didn’t know it was going to be this tough to make it across the finish line.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, to make more money, or to experience more love in your life, remember that finishing is where you find your breakthrough. Not starting.

Put your head down and grind.

Winning When You Don’t Feel Like It.

Crossing the finish line first doesn’t make you a winner. That’s just the time when you collect the trophy.  Winning happens in the quiet when no one is watching or listening or cheering you on. 

Winning is an attitude long before it is a result. 

That may be hard to get your head around if you find yourself accomplishing less than you expect.

But it’s important to remember. 

What you think about most decides how close you get to accomplishing your goals. 

Winners are obsessed about progress. They don’t just plan and prepare. They obsess. That’s a whole different state of mind. 

When you’re consumed with a mission, your game is stronger. 

You’re not just going through the motions, you’re stretching your limits and demanding more from yourself. You’re uncovering new strategies and pushing your performance to the next level. 

And it impacts everything that you do. 

Winners spend their money on things that get them closer to where they want to be. They choose progress over entertainment. They choose a savings account over “Keeping up with the Joneses.”

Those are choices. Choices you can make. Choices that demand more of you. Not because you are high and mighty, but because you are desperate about getting to where they want to be. 

Which is why winning is an attitude long before it is a result.

You won’t get on the podium or cross the finish line if you aren’t obsessed with it. 

A few days ago, I had a conversation with a multi-millionaire friend of mine. Growing up, he was an acute introvert — timid in class and afraid to speak out in general. 

When he got his first job, in sales, he was completely unprepared for what he what he knew he would need to do to be successful. But he was hungry, so he bought Tom Hopkins’ 12 CD training set on selling. 

For the next two years, he would listen to those sales CDs every day. Almost 800 plays in a row. Day after day after day. Learning new skills. Soaking in inspiration. Overcoming his fear with facts. 

Over the next few years, he would build a financial services business generating close to $100 million in total revenue. A good sales executive could generate $1 million. He did 100 times that — as an introvert.

He wasn’t the one that was supposed to win. But he did. Because he was obsessed.

That’s the truth about winning. It has to be an obsession.

No one else is going to care about your goal more than you do.

No one is going to be cheering you on in the middle of the night as you work towards your goal.

Winning is up to you. It’s your attitude. It’s what you do right now.

Be a winner in this moment. Do something amazing. Be awesome.

Seize the day.

How To Make A Way When There Isn’t One.

“Inveniam viam aut faciam.”

That was supposedly Hannibal’s response to his generals’ advice that crossing the Alps by elephants is impossible. It means: “I shall find a way or I shall make one.”

For Robert Peary, it was his life motto. The words inscribed on his tombstone.

In 1881, he joined the US Navy Civil Engineers Corps, a job that sent him to Key West, Florida on one of his first assignments to do the impossible: build a new Navy Pier that other smarter, more experienced engineers said couldn’t be done.

Most would’ve balked at the request, citing other engineers’ experience or environmental conditions.

For Peary, it was a chance to prove himself and launch his career.

With a bit of ingenuity and hard work, he pulled off the impossible—and saved the US Navy over $675,000.

After that, they sent him down to Nicaragua to serve as the chief assistant on a surveying expedition — where he became obsessed with the idea of becoming the first man to reach the North Pole.

But he realized that to be the first, he would have to be different. Radically different.

So in 1886, he convinces his superiors to let him take an extended leave of absence to journey into Greenland to prove America’s superiority on the global stage.

On his first trip across the tundra, he broke every rule in the book.

Peary studied the ways of the native people at a time when experts were convinced that the Inuits lacked any practical Arctic know-how, despite having lived there for generations.

He learned to hunt for food while traveling, instead of ignoring the local animals.

He understood the value of animal skin clothing, wearing deerskin parkas, bearskin pants, and sealskin boots.

He and his team built igloos as they went, instead of carrying tents, to reduce the cargo weight they’d have to transport.

He formed an elite dog team to pull the team’s sleds, instead of having his own men pull them like every other explorer.

He walked in front of his team, charting the path forward instead of driving the team from behind.

His radical plan led him to be the 2nd man to cross the entirety of Greenland.

But in the late summer of 1891, an accident almost ended his life as he ventured further north. An ice block wedged under the rudder, lurching the ship to one side, pinning down Peary–and snapping both of his shin bones in his right leg.

The doctor said to pack up his sealskin boots. His exploring days were over.

They turned the ship around and headed home to let him find time to heal.

A few months later, he decided to compete against both his own men and Eskimos in a snowshoe race. He won.

Robert Peary would not go down without a fight.

A year later, in 1892, he picked up where he left off, kicking off a 1,300 mile round trip expedition just 10 months after he broke his leg.

Peary was back and fighting at full strength: mentally and physically.

After six more years of exploring and preparing and planning, he gathered a team to help him claim the North Pole for the United States.

This time, he’d attack the North Pole by an entirely different means.

He would sail as far north as he could, trek to an abandoned outpost in northern Canada called Fort Conger, and then make their final push for the North Pole across the ice covering the Arctic sea.

His right-hand man Matthew Henson knew it was a risky plan, but Peary, racing against a Norwegian competitor with the same plan, pressed on regardless.

He and the team finally stumbled into the dilapidated wooden shack that is Fort Conger.

They were so close they could practically taste victory.

Sitting next to the warmth of the fire, he had, as he described it, “a suspicious wooden feeling in the right foot,” so he pulled off his boots.

Eight toes had developed frostbite. His legs were dead white from the knees down.

His toes needed to be amputated. Soon.

As he lay in a cot just a few hundred miles away from the North Pole with his dream (and his toes) gone, he scratched a phrase into the wooden wall: “Inveniam viam aut faciam.”

It was his lifeline to the North Pole. The one thing he could cling to.

It was the fire that burned in his soul and kept him alive in the frigid Arctic.

After a month stuck at Fort Conger, the weather finally cleared and Henson led the team back — south — back to the ship with Peary strapped to a sled. He had crippled himself.

Again, the doctor told him his adventure days were over. But he wasn’t accepting that.

In May of the following year, he went further north than anyone else ever.

And he did it on his frostbitten, toeless feet. He had to turn back though. It was another failure.

Five years later, he made his seventh trip to the Arctic circle with state-of-the-art transportation, an all-new strategy, and an all-new crew.

The Roosevelt, designed by Peary for this journey, could cut through ice with a 30” steel hull–the first in the world to do so.

He sailed the Roosevelt up to Ellesmere Island, putting him 300 miles closer to glory than any of his previous trips. He only had 450 miles to go.

He planned to cover those miles over the frozen Artice ice with a radically new system: 6 teams with right-hand men, 5 sleds, and more than 15 dogs per team would leapfrog each other and build igloos and set up supply outposts.

The plan involved each team dropping out one by one to make way for the 6th team, Peary’s team, to dash to the North Pole.

It was a genius plan. But nothing went right.

Temperatures regularly stayed in the -50F range. Sheets of frozen Artic water smashed together creating 50 ft high walls of sheer ice that Peary’s men had to hoist their massive 500lb sleds over.

But when the blocks of ice didn’t smash together, currents ripped them apart — stranding Peary from the rest of his team.

They were forced to turn back. Without supplies and their support crew.

They only made it back to the ship by eating their sled dogs, forcing the men to haul the sleds themselves.

It was disastrous. Peary was done. He quit.

He returned home to his family. The dream was over. For almost a  decade, he would be a professor. His adventures were behind him.

Until he heard of others planning to make it to the North Pole and steal his dream.

He decided that he wasn’t going to let anyone else take what was his.

So in August of 1908, at 52, Peary made what he called his “last and supreme effort.” He determined he would get there or die trying.

So he loaded up the Roosevelt once more and set sail for Ellesmere Island.

The first day after they arrived, as they set out on the frozen Artic blocks, the sled broke down for Peary’s right-hand man Matthew Henson.

After spending a day fixing Henson’s sled, they noticed a dark cloud on the horizon — there was a huge gap in the ice ahead.

Overnight, the gap closed enough for Peary and his crew to navigate from massive ice block to ice block to get across the Artice water before they could continue.

Just days later, another huge gap opened up in the ice. This time, it was a quarter-mile wide and extending as far as they could see.

There was no crossing this one.

So they waited. And waited. And waited. For days, they encamped by the break, able to see the other side, but unable to get to their goal.

After days of waiting, the ice blocks closed enough for them to cross.

On April 1, 1909, Peary took  Henson and four of his best Inuit drivers and 40 of his fittest dogs in a mad, last-ditch sprint for the North Pole.

Five days later and a quarter-century after his first attempt, Robert Peary set foot on the North Pole.

After his death in 1920, the US Congress posthumously awarded him official congressional thanks, an honor once formerly reserved only for war heroes.

Teddy Roosevelt Jr, the son of President Theodore Roosevelt in whose honor Peary named his famous ship, said of the great explorer, “To me, Admiral Peary’s life is epitomized in the splendid lines from Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses: ‘To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield’”.

He was a man wholly consumed by a mission. His purpose was unwavering.

He got knocked down. He lost friends in pursuit of his goal. He was critically wounded and suffered staggering hardship.

Yet he continued.  Unwilling to sacrifice his goal.

That could be you today.

You’ve been knocked down. You’ve been hurt. You’ve lost things that matter dearly to you — friends, health, money, and respect.

“Inveniam viam aut faciam.”  That’s your mission. Find a way. Or make one.

Stop Being Embarrassed By Your Hustle.

It is a ridiculous waste of your time to worry about how other people view you. Specifically, if you’re trying too hard.

You can’t try too hard. That’s never going to be your problem.

You might hustle in ways that lack a bit of class — but your problem isn’t that you’re trying so hard that it is stopping you from being successful.

That’s just silliness.

Part of why you think that is the peer pressure from other people who are lazy and still want to look like they’re awesome. Which is an insane combination.

The other part of that is the “don’t stand out and be weird” rule you’ve been taught to believe since you were a small child.

Sometimes hustle is embarrassing.

You have to do things that make you look stupid and feel uncomfortable. But that doesn’t mean you don’t do them.

And it doesn’t mean you’re trying too hard.

Let other people think what they want. You stay busy getting to where you want to be.

Don’t be embarrassed by your hustle. Be upset with yourself that you aren’t trying harder.

When You’re Just Not Willing To Give Up

Walking down Shotwell St in San Francisco, you’d be forgiven for not noticing the thin, nondescript brown building with its two businesses splitting the narrow front. Pedestrians walking past on October 3, 2015 might’ve smelled the scent of freshly cooked pasta and sauce wafting from the building. Inside, an artist was cooking up an experience: with handmade unstained porcelain bowls and carved wooden spoons, artist Emilie Gossiaux served 85 guests a meal they weren’t likely to forget.

Not because of the delicious food or the bowls left unglazed for the sauce to leave their imprint.

It was because Emilie Gossiaux was blind.

And deaf. And serving each guest personally with food, dishes, and utensils she made herself.

It was all part of an exhibit celebrating the life and work of Oliver Sacks — a neuroscientist famous for studying the edge cases of what the human brain is capable of.

She had been blind for the past 4 years and 360 days. Deaf since she was 5 years old.

Art was always her coping mechanism.

As a kid, her mom used to find her hiding in the closet, drawing her own cartoons hours after she was supposed to be asleep.

She filled notebooks with her sketches and drawings as she processed what life was like growing up “different”, constantly being picked on, having to learn to lipread her teachers.

As her mom said about her art: “it is all she sees”.

On the Friday morning of October 8, 2010, she had to go to the studio of famed artist Daniel Arsham whom she was working for while attending the prestigious Cooper Union art school in New York City. She kissed her boyfriend goodbye and pedaled off through the bustling New York City traffic.

At the corner of Johnson and Varick in Brooklyn, as she waited for the light to change, her life changed forever.

An 18-wheeler took that turn too tight, plowed right over her, crushing her—fracturing her skull, pelvis, and left leg.

She was rushed to the hospital where doctors frantically worked to save her life. But the doctors couldn’t work fast enough. She flatlined.

Her heart stopped beating: 1 second…10 seconds…30 seconds…

A full minute passed before her heart started pumping blood again.

But she couldn’t breathe. Her internal organs had swollen from the trauma and were compressing against her lungs, causing her to suffocate.

The doctors had to do something—so they pulled her intestines out of her abdomen so that her chest cavity had room to breathe again.

She was alive. But inside, Emily remained in a hopeless, dark, silent void. Still unresponsive.

Her mom sat down by Emilie’s bed. She had just given the medical team permission to harvest Emilie’s organs when the time came.

That seemed to be coming all too soon.

Sitting there, she read one of their favorite books to Emilie, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, a 1927 Pulitzer-winning novel about seemingly random tragedy and death.

Her mom, overcome with emotion, whispered in Emilie’s ear, telling her that she would love Emilie forever, an unending love, a love that wouldn’t quit.

To the surprise of her mom, Emilie raised her left hand.

When her mom tried to convince the doctors that Emilie was inside, alive and fighting to come back, the doctors insisted that Emilie’s responses were just reflexes.

They saw no signs of high brain function.

Every time she scratched her wounds, slapped away a helping hand, or flailed her head when they tried to reinsert her hearing aids, the doctors insisted it was a reflex.

The doctors didn’t believe it was possible for her to recover from an accident that bad. But after several weeks of steady improvement in ICU, she finally stabilized enough that she had to go somewhere.

But where? She was blind and death. It is impossible to help someone recover when they can’t respond to basic commands.

Somehow Emilie kept finding a way to fight back.

When they removed her tracheotomy, she started talking again.

She cursed out everyone around her.

She called people “Ms. Dashwood”, recalling Sense and Sensibility she and her boyfriend Alan had watched a few months back. But it wasn’t enough to prove she was a candidate for rehab.

That left just one choice: a nursing home.

Her dad flew back to their hometown of New Orleans to look for a place for Emilie (without bothering to tell her boyfriend). They felt it would be best for him if they just took Emilie away.

Alan insisted they give her a chance. He knew she’d claw her way back.

He was desperate for her to come back.

At 3 am one night, he had a breakthrough.

He had read about Annie Sullivan, the woman who taught Helen Keller through print on palm.

Taking her left palm in his and using her wrist as the baseline, he painstakingly traced large capital letters in her hand with his pointer finger.

I-L-O-V-E-Y-O-U.

I love you.

“Oh, you love me? That’s so sweet. Thank you.” She responded.

But she didn’t know it was Alan or that he was her boyfriend.

But to Alan, it didn’t matter. He couldn’t believe it. Neither could the doctors. He had to prove it to them somehow, so he started recording their conversations.

“What’s your name?” “What year is it?”

By painstakingly tracing each letter, he convinced her to let them put her hearing aids back in. And instantly, her personality came back.

But that was just the beginning of the fight. She would have to learn how to communicate all over again. She would have to learn how to do everything all over again.

So she dropped out of school to deal with life. What other choice did she have?

It takes most people 2 years to learn Braille.

Within a year, she finished reading her first Braille book: Ernest Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises.

She enrolled at a dedicated school for blind people to help them navigate society.

She could have picked a campus in her hometown, but she chose Minneapolis. She wanted to train in a city similar to New York City.

She wasn’t about to give up on her dream.

While in school, she took up an Industrial Arts class. She was determined to get back to art through whatever means possible.

Her teacher handed her a block of wood. She was told to carve the wood into who she wanted to become. As she painstakingly worked the block down, a definitive shape started to emerge.

She was carving a knife.

Emilie was going to cut through everything that was holding her back from art. That determination led Emilie to enroll in a night class where she honed her ceramics skill.

That determination led Emilie to become one of the first people to wear the BrainPort, a device specifically designed to help blind people “see” with their tongue.

The camera on the bridge of a special pair of sunglasses translates various shapes and levels of light into electromagnetic signals that stimulate the tongue like thousands of soda bubbles.

The only problem: the resolution was like using a child’s Lite Brite. Her doctors told her that even with the BrainPort, it would be impossible to create good art.

Somehow, she figured it out.

She painstakingly set up a blank sheet of paper on her desk and positioned a bright light on it so she could better see the contrast. If she drew with enough force, she could feel the wax of the crayon with her fingers — like Braille.

She also realized that a rich, dark ink called India Ink would show up well through the BrainPort.

And so she drew. Using the BrainPort as her guide, she drew a pair of hands. And as she studied those hands, she realized their cupped shape resembled a dove. She took that drawing and shaped it out of clay.

In 2013, that dove won Emilie the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Award of Excellence.

A year later, Emilie finally accomplished one of her dreams: she graduated from college.

And today, she continues to create art that inspires the world.

Every inch of her success was a fight.

She understood that small progress takes massive effort—and was willing to do whatever it took to turn her dream into reality.

Are you? Or have you decided that life is especially unfair to you?

It doesn’t matter what you have gone through so far in your life.

Get hit by a bus? Go through an ugly divorce? File bankruptcy? Lose a job? Lose a friend? Lose everything?

You can rebound. Your comeback story is ready to be written.

But only when you’re not willing to give up.

You Need A Coach.

There’s somebody out there who has already done it before. It doesn’t matter what your goal is or what you would like to improve, there’s somebody out there with a lot more experience than you who is willing to help you get to where you want to be.

Your mission is to find them, pay them, and do exactly what they tell you to do.

In other words, you need more coaching in your life.

That’s a lesson all high performers have learned. You can’t fix yourself because you can’t look at yourself objectively.

You don’t see your form or hear your tone like a coach will.

All the emotional baggage in your head like how hard you are trying and how badly you want it throw off your judgment.

Your true results get lost in the process. You can’t see things clearly.

Which is why you need a coach.

Someone to see you as you are. Someone to take you from where you are to where you want to be.

They’ve made mistakes that you’re going to make – unless you adjust. They have found breakthrough and innovation in a thousand possible opportunities that you haven’t even uncovered yet.

You can accelerate your results and progress by simply using the lessons they have already learned.

  • Looking for baking lessons to improve your catering business? There’s probably a YouTube channel with plenty of advice for you.
  • Looking for business advice on how to launch a new product to existing customers? There are plenty of online courses and experts ready to help you.
  • Looking to lose 20 pounds or run a faster 5K? There are people who can help you right where you live.

Some of that advice you need is free.

But you’ll get better results and find yourself more committed when you pay for coaching.

You’re invested when it’s coming out of your budget. You’re more likely to do what needs to be done when you’re sacrificing for long-term success.

There isn’t a good excuse for staying stuck. Getting unstuck is just a bit of inspiration away.

Something your coach is about to tell you. Go find one.

You’re Not Willing To Be That Weirdo.

Hitting a golf ball correctly takes years of practice. Center yourself over the ball. Start with your arms straight and bend a little at the waste. Rotate the club backwards in an arc up towards your shoulder while twisting the hips to follow suit. Drive the clubhead through the ball like a hockey slapshot with your hips, arms, and shoulders. Finish with the club on your opposite shoulder.

It’s the move we’ve seen countless professionals and struggling amateurs perform thousands of times at the most elite tournaments on the planet. It’s the stroke Tiger Woods learned from his father at 6 months old.

If you want to win a golf tournament, the pros say, follow those steps: pull back; twist up; drive down; rotate through.

The pros agree that’s the only way.

Except it isn’t.

At 26, Moe Norman stepped into the tee box on Augusta National for his first shot of the 1956 Masters Tournament.

And broke every convention known to golf.

No hip rotation. Instead of swinging back at one angle and slicing down at the ball on a much steeper angle, it was a perfect arc with a noticeable bend in his knees as he makes contact, ending with the club straight up in the air, instead of resting on his shoulder.

It was weird. But accurate. A technique he started formulating on his own at 15.

A technique that made him radically better than anyone else on the planet.

He could hit 20 golf balls back-to-back-to-back into the area of an apple crate.

Over the span of 7 hours, he smashed 1,500 drives–all of which landed within a 50 foot radius.

His shot was so consistent, golf legend Ken Venturi nicknamed him “Pipeline Moe”.

He shot 17 holes-in-one.

9 double eagles.

3 times he shot a “perfect round”, averaging at least a birdie on all 18 holes.

He broke 33 course records.

And at just 26, he was invited to The Masters, the greatest tournament of them all, where the golfing world learned of his prowess.

But at his first appearance at The Masters, he had to drop out after 36 holes–because his hands were bleeding.

He had spent the previous night hitting an additional 800 golf balls. He just wanted to master a tip given to him by Sam Snead, the man known to have the “perfect swing”.

He was driven to succeed in his own weird way, and people mocked him for that.

The same weirdness that led to greatness led to countless ridicule.

He dressed funny – even for a golfer.

He was incredibly shy and repeated his words often. He had bad teeth. His golf clubs didn’t have covers and so were known to have dirt on them.

Top ESPN golf correspondent Scott Van Pelt painted him as “a man who lived far outside the pristine, cookie-cutter world of the PGA tour.”

And at a PGA tournament in New Orleans, PGA officials were fed up with his “weirdness”. In 1959, Moe shot the greatest game of his PGA tour, finishing just off the podium in 4th place.

He was getting noticed. And not in a good way.

PGA officials told Moe to stop being so weird, stop rushing his play, and stop hitting off gigantic tees.

Stick with the system. Blend in. Do what everyone else is doing.

If he could change, they’d let him stay and keep playing.

But Moe knew that wasn’t for him. He liked who he was.

So he left the PGA scene and went back to Canada.

The game he loved so much rejected him.

That’s when the revolution began. Moe would set the world on fire.

He tore up the Canadian circuit with brutal accuracy while American golfers swung frustratingly inconsistently.

Moe had an incredible career in Canada, racking up over 50 wins and winning the senior tournament 7 out of 8 times.

The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame inducted him in 1995.

The Ontario Sports Hall of Fame inducted him in 1999.

The Canadian Sports Hall of Fame inducted him in 2006.

But Moe’s greatness never made a splash on the biggest scene of them all: the PGA. All because he let personal attacks drive him away.

Just like we all do.

“Sit down.” “Be quiet.” “Obey the rules.” “Don’t make a scene.” “People are looking at us.”

It’s what we tell kids every day. It’s what’s been ingrained in us since we were kids: “Stop being so weird.”

And that’s why success seems impossible

You can’t win if you want to fit in more than you want to accomplish your dreams.

You aren’t willing to do what it takes to be successful.

And what it always takes is being weird. Being laughed at. People pointing fingers at you. The crowd mocking you behind your back.

Tiger Woods, the most dominating player in his era of golf, said about Moe Norman that it was “frightening how straight he hits the golf ball”.

Most professionals consider Moe the greatest ball-striker of all time.

In a game where placing the ball where you want it is the only thing that matters, Moe was the best.

Just because you are the best doesn’t mean that you’ll get to where you want to be. It doesn’t mean that you will accomplish your goals.

You have to be willing to be that weirdo. Are you?

The Humility To Dominate.

You’re not too good to get on your knees and work for success.  That’s what it takes to achieve greatness. Humility. A deep sense of mission and purpose. 

You might feel like you’ve struggled too long to still be in this position right now. 

You might feel like you’re above the primacy of doing whatever it takes. 

In truth, you can never outgrow desire. 

You never stop needing to be humble and hopeful. That’s the secret to domination.

That’s the secret to taking your game to the next level. 

You need the humility to know that at any time life can break you and the hopefulness to believe that you’re strong enough to get back up.

That you are committed to continue fighting even when you feel like your effort is wasted. 

Doing whatever it takes isn’t about you puffing out your chest standing on the trophy podium with your hand raising showing that you are the best. 

It’s about all the sleepless nights you’ve had to endure to get there.

It’s about the pain of practicing with purpose. It’s about the loneliness of focused vision. 

You’re not smiling through the tedious effort and never-ending journey. 

It’s the grimace in the grind. But humility keeps you grounded. 

Never forget that every other person who has accomplished anything of note has had to do the exact same thing as you’re doing right now. 

Humility reminds you that what makes you great isn’t your inherent talent or birthright, but your ability to do what is hard and embarrassing and thankless. 

What makes you great is your unabashed dedication to accomplishing your goals.

That’s demands humility.

The Problem With Not Failing.

The problem with not failing is that you never get any better. Forward progress is a result of loss and suffering.

Whatever you call it – a try or an iteration, a pivot, a test, or a trial balloon – trying and failing is uncomfortable, no matter how you tried to rationalize the outcome.

But it’s also necessary. It’s the only way that you improve.

Failure forces you to adapt and evolve.

You can’t stay the same and improve.

You have to get better.

Failure is nature’s way of pruning back good ideas so that you can create greater work.

Make no mistake, failure isn’t going to feel fun. Even knowing that it is the core of what propels you mightily toward your goal isn’t going to be enough to take the sting away.

It’s going to hurt. You’re going to feel uncomfortable. Miserable. Upset and angry.

When you put it all on the line and fail to succeed, it feels like you have left a part of yourself behind.

In truth, you have.

You have left a piece of yourself behind. But if you are willing to learn something new, that piece you lost will grow back even stronger.

You will be better because of your failure.

When you first feel the sting of failure, conversations like this are meaningless. What you feel overrides any logical discussion you could have with yourself.

But it’s important to remember the truth for when your emotions level out and it’s time to get back to work.

Failure can’t kill you.

And the problem with never failing is that you will never get any better.

You’ll stay stuck. And miserable. Always wanting something more but not sure how to go get it.

Learn from your failures. Let that drive you to be the person you’ve always wanted to become. To get to where you want to be.

After all, success is the best revenge.