I think I want to share this email my friend Adam sent me exactly one year ago, this weekend.
But I’m not sure.
Because it freaked me out at the time.
It still does a little today.
It attacked my insecurities and my weaknesses and my image of what “my image” should be.
He sent it to me in the morning. By the afternoon I was tormented, challenging everything I thought I was “working for.”
And I’ve been haunted by it ever since; Haunted like no other email I’ve received in a very long time.
But haunted in a perfectly good way, of course.
It made me think and helped me frame of how I see myself as a husband. As a father. As a brother. As a leader. As a sales professional. As an entrepreneur.
Even how I see myself as a recovering Packer fan.
Do I really “make the cut” I set out for myself when I’m really, really honest with myself?
”Or do I come up just short. Again and again? It’s easy to feel like an imposter and totally uncomfortable in my own skin because this “new” image doesn’t align with my beliefs or the history of who I “was.”
Our good friend, Sam Ovens, will say, “Good. Just do more of that and push harder.”
So I decided to send this to my friends on LinkedIn, too. Why should I be tortured and so selfish with an article that helped me with so much introspection, alignment, and clarity on what I should be doing in life?
It helped me make the leap to doing what I’m doing now.
And never looking back.
Maybe you’ll not ingest these words and feel the impact that I felt. Maybe you’ll not contemplate your various roles in your life (brother, sister, son, daughter, leader, father, mother, sales professional, doctor, boss, farmer, police officer, marketing professional, etc.) with ruthless intensity. Maybe it’s me that is being a tad bit sensitive and over-caffeinated and you’re truly ok with you as you are right now.
Then don’t read this. It’s not for you. You’re good.
For the rest, my recommendation is to carve out 15 minutes and read it with a rare level of unleashed intensity and humility. It won’t take you 15 minutes to read…maybe 4 minutes tops. But if you do it right, you’ll want to take another 11 minutes to digest, hide under the covers, shame yourself, and then finally recover and dress yourself with a new cloak of thinking about what you truly can become, not only in your role at your current employer, but in your role in life.
The theme of this article makes me also think of a great quote from Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans regarding the same subject, “Many a false step was made by standing still.”
Time to slaughter it. That’s what I say.
See you at the top!
(By the way, I took the liberty of highlighting some of the more hard hitting thoughts and quotes.)
Oh, and Adam…you’re still a real donkey for sending this to me. Thanks for ruining my life. 🙂
Date: Saturday, November 7, 2017 at 10:53 AM
To: “Corey Frank”
Subject: Wanted to share this article with you
— FORGETTING WHO YOU ARE — Sam Ovens
Today I got interviewed by a journalist for a Forbes article and one of the questions was:
“Should we always strive to change our ways to accommodate the demands of our professional aspirations? After all, we shouldn’t lose ourselves in pursuit of success, correct?”
This was my response:
“I love your final question. “We shouldn’t lose ourselves in the pursuit of success?“. The western world has similar terms like “Be yourself”. “Stick to your roots”. “Don’t forget where you came from”. Have you ever stopped to think about who you really are? Where is this thing you call the self? The self doesn’t exist, it’s merely your clinging to an identity built up of stories about the past.
Every person in the world wants to improve and grow, that’s impossible when you don’t want to lose yourself. It’s been my observation that the only way to achieve success is to become the person who deserves it. When we become this new person we are no longer ourselves. You see this is the issue with western philosophy, we believe we are something when we aren’t anything. The only question that’s important is who are we becoming?”
This rattles people a bit…
People love their stories about the past. These stories define who they are as a character and a person. Losing a story about the past is like losing your identity and your ID. You don’t want to let go of them because it feels like you’ll disappear and become a nobody.
”My whole life I thought success was for people who were outgoing, networked, popular, social, smooth talking, intelligent or just plain lucky. I wasn’t any of these so therefore I was destined to be mediocre. That was the story I told myself and it defined who I was as a character and a person.
I played the role of a mediocre character for most of my life and then one day I just couldn’t take it any longer. I had enough. I wanted to do something big with my life. No longer could I sit in the shadows jealous of everybody who had the courage to try become something bigger than themselves.
I decided to quit my job, drop out of college and start my own business. I had no degree, below average grades, blue collar family for as long as the family tree could go. Nobody I knew had worked in an office or wore a suit let alone started their own business.
Everybody I knew said things like: “A business owner? That’s not you”. “You failed accounting, how will you start a business?” Society dawned over me like a dark cloud reminding me of who I was just so they could remain convinced of who they were too.
By far the biggest challenge I had to face was losing myself, my character and my identity of who I was. I was shy, awkward, clueless, poor, horrible at managing money and had no idea how the world worked. Society told me to “be myself” but what sort of an existence was that? Especially when I knew I could become something greater.
I felt like a fraud, an imposter, a faker and you damn well bet I was inauthentic. I told everybody that I was going to start a business and I had no idea what I was doing. I told people i was going to succeed and I had never succeeded before in my life. I felt like I was doing something so wrong and so deceitful because the stories of my past were screaming at me to stop, throw in the towel and return to just being “me”.
I persisted, did the work and believed in my ability to figure things out along the way despite what history said about me. Before I knew it I had broken through the first barrier and something was different… I felt like a new person. People started saying things like: “Wow, you’ve changed”. That’s when I realized that I had become a new person. The old me was gone.
Fast-forward to this current day and I’m so different now compared to who I was back then. It’s incomprehensible. I truly don’t think there’s a cell in my physical body or a single synapse in my mind that exists the way it used to. And the identity crisis issue? It still happens today… Whenever I want to outgrow myself, even now, I face the same issues. I have to forget who I am all over again.
Why am I saying all of this?
I’m telling this to you because I know that this is the biggest battle you will face as an entrepreneur and somebody who wants to grow and become something bigger than who you are right now. You will question yourself, others will question you and your emotions will run riot in your body as your self image digs in its nails and tries to stay alive by keeping you as yourself.
”You playing small will not do any good for anybody and if others question who you’re becoming just know that you’re threatening their self image by proving that it doesn’t exist. As an entrepreneur who keeps smashing limits you’re public enemy number one to your self image. Your sheer presence sets of chaos within.
Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret…
I usually keep these strategies and methods reserved for my clients but I’ll share this one with you today.
Whenever somebody is facing issues in their business and coming up against plateaus and resistance I do something that’s totally counter-intuitive: I change something that defines who they are as a person.
Andrew Argue started working with me in January 2016 last year. When he first met me he was skinny, vegan, extremely tight with money, nervous of germs, didn’t like cat hair, stressed out, nervous of failure and living in a cheap apartment without a couch to sit on just to save money.
Andrew thought he was here to learn Facebook ads, sales strategies and funnels. From the very moment we met I knew those tactical things would only account for 10-20% of his success and the big wins were stacked on me getting him to forget who he was to become something bigger.
- He was a generalist – i made him become a specialist.
- He had never sold on the first call – I made him only sell on the 1st call.
- He was scared of credit cards – i made him get the biggest credit card the bank would give him.
- He didn’t want to spend money on a couch – I made him move into a luxury apartment and hire a interior designer to fit it out custom.
- He hated germs – I told him to deliberately drop food on the floor then eat it.
- He hated all the cat hair that was in my apartment and said he had allergies – I made him get a cat and told him his allergies were made up.
- He hadn’t talked to specific people since he was a kid – I made him call them up and say hello.
- He went to bed at 9.30 every night – I made him stay up till 4am.
During the time we’ve worked together I’ve taught him business strategies and tactics but most of the work I’ve been hiding behind the business stuff is the destruction of his old self to create room for a new one.
Andrew started January 5th 2016 when he was struggling as a generalist business owner. By December 2016 he was making $300,000 /month and by July 2017 he was making $900,000 /month.
Andrew struggled to break past the $300,000 /month barrier for months and he got extremely frustrated. We tried all the tactical stuff and none of it worked. I told him: “You know what’s gotta go now don’t you?”
I made him give up being vegan after 7 years and start eating bacon and steaks. I’m not joking you here… The month he gave up being “vegan” he smashed through to $400,000 /month. He is no longer vegan.
If you want to know how I have been able to go from nothing to more than $20 million it’s probably 20% tactics and 80% continuous destruction of my perceived self.
”If you want to know how Andrew went from $17,000 /month last January to more than $900,000 /month it’s probably 20% tactics and 80% continuous destruction of his perceived self.
If you met Andrew back then and then met him now you wouldn’t believe the change. This isn’t the same person… This is a completely different being in every way, shape and form. And for the better.
So how can you apply this to your life right now to become something greater than what you are and to become who you truly want to be?
Well here’s a list of six things to do starting now:
- Understand that you are not anybody, who you think you are is an illusion built up from stories you tell yourself about the past.
- Understand that the real question is not “Who am I?” but “Who am I becoming?
- Understand that transformation, growth, improvement and change is 20% tactics like FB ads, sales etc. and 80% forgetting who you are to make way for who you can become.
- The fastest way to slaughter who you are is to do something that you definitely wouldn’t do. The more extreme the belief you shatter the more profound the change to yourself will be. Think about a 7-year full fledged vegan eating a steak…
- If you feel like an imposter, a fraud and totally uncomfortable in your own skin because this doesn’t align with your beliefs and the history of who you are – Good. Do more of it and push harder.
- Do something bold. Move house, move countries, change your style, listen to different music, change your hair, quit your standard, comfortable thinking in how you (don’t) attack your current job.
I hope this helps you on your journey!