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6 Extremely Successful People Who Failed Forward to Success

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6 Extremely Successful People Who Failed Forward to Success

As achievers ourselves, we are enamored by the wildly successful. And rightfully so. Their accomplishments serve us as both targets and measuring sticks along our own success journey.But, digging deeper into most of these people’s backstories will often reveal even greater inspiration. With little exception, their end success was preceded by a mountain of heartache, rejection and even epic failure. Relentless pursuit of their goals and dreams despite so much defeat has been a driving force behind these icons.

Here are 6 ultra-successful people that failed forward to success:

 

1. Fred Smith

Fred SmithWhile attending Yale in 1962, Smith wrote a paper for an economics class outlining the idea for a worldwide, overnight package delivery service. The professor returned the paper to him and commented that, to earn better than a C grade, the idea would have to be feasible. Ignoring this rebuke, Smith went on to form FedEx, the world’s first overnight delivery company.

 

2. Michael Jordan

Michael JordanJordan was cut from his high school’s basketball team as a sophomore. Within 2 years though he not only came back to make the team, but was also named high school All-American his senior year. In his professional career he lost over 300 games and missed over 9000 shots, 26 of them were potential game winners. Yet, Michael Jordan lead his team to 6 NBA championships, was named league MVP 5 times and became only the second player ever to score 3000 points in a single season!

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”

3. Abraham Lincoln

Abraham LincolnPerhaps one of the best examples of failing forward to success is the 16th president of the United States. Abraham Lincoln lost no less than 9 bids for various public offices prior to his presidency. He was fired from multiple jobs, failed at least twice as a business owner and even went bankrupt. But, At 52 years of age Lincoln was elected president and led the nation through its bloodiest war to preserve the union and abolish slavery.

 

4. Lucille Ball

Lucille BallFrom the age of 15, she wanted to act even though her drama school teacher once wrote to her mother, “Lucy’s wasting her time and ours…”. Ball went on to be fired from her first two Broadway acting gigs and became nicknamed “Queen of the B’s” for the number of second rate films she had roles in.

Today though we know Lucille Ball as the redheaded firecracker from the TV show, I Love Lucy, named in a 2012 ABC News survey as ‘The Best TV Show of All Time’. Her career persistence resulted in 2 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 4 Emmy Awards, and many other TV and Film honors. She is arguably the most recognized female actress of the 20th century.

“I don’t suppose that hard work, discipline, and a perfectionist attitude toward my work did me any harm.”

5. Theodor S. Geisel

Theodor S. GeiselGeisel worked as an illustrator and cartoonist during the Great Depression. But his love was for children’s books. His first manuscript was rejected by 27 publishers with responses such as, “Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling”. Only a chance meeting with an old college friend saved the pages from being burned. The book was published in 1937 opening the door for Geisel to become one of the most popular children’s book authors of all time, selling over 600 million copies. He penned most of his works under his pseudonym, Dr. Seuss.

 

6. Thomas Edison

Thomas EdisonEdison’s grade school teachers deemed him “too stupid to learn anything”. He was fired from jobs for being “non-productive”. He persisted in inventing but failed in gaining traction with most items. In fact, the thing Thomas Edison is most remembered for was not even his invention but rather the refinement of an existing idea… the light bulb. And even in that, it took him 10,000 tries to perfect it!

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Thousands more of these failing forward stories exist. In them, lessons abound. Grit, determination, persistence, and even some luck are clearly all part of the achievement recipe. But, there’s no denying that failure is something likely, and even useful, along the road to success.

Thank you for reading my article! Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

Doug is a chiropractor, a business coach and a writer too. He coaches and speaks on healthcare business success systems while he blogs and podcasts about strategies for handling life’s changes. In the last 3 years alone he has sold a business, evolved his career, moved his family from Texas to Wisconsin, lost control of his autistic son… and gained it back again. He knows change!  His goal is to help you face it and conquer it too! Join him at AchievementRenewed.com and Dr. Doug Sullivan on Facebook.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Evan

    Nov 14, 2015 at 11:25 am

    It’s inspiring especially to see Thomas Edison’s successes and failures.

    He said things like he’s figured out 10,000 ways that don’t work, or he made tons of mistakes and just patented the good ones. He remarked that every failure was just another step closer to his goal, so he was happy!

    I think this is the type of attitude you must have to laugh it off and keep going! Life will throw you those curveballs, but if you can laugh at them, and yourself, you’re going to be just fine

    – Evan

    • Doug Sullivan

      Nov 20, 2015 at 2:52 am

      Great thoughts on this Evan. Edison is fascinating to study in failing to success…. the vote recorder, the electric pen and his work with iron ore are just a few of the many things he worked with. Honestly, until researching this article, I didn’t really know MOST of the other things Edison dabbled in. His curious and persistent mindset is certainly one to emulate!

  2. Thapelo

    Nov 4, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Great article. This is truly an inspiring article. Much appreciation Doug.

    • Doug Sullivan

      Nov 10, 2015 at 12:02 am

      Thank you Thapelo! I appreciate your feedback!

  3. Nancy

    Oct 29, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    This is the type of articles I like to see on Facebook

    • Doug Sullivan

      Nov 1, 2015 at 2:12 am

      Thank you Nancy! I’m glad you enjoyed it. It was a fun one to research too… so many great, inspirational stories out there!!

  4. Paula

    Oct 27, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Very inspiring thanks for sharing

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Motivation

Don’t Hurt Your Future Self By Quitting

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“Every decision you make affects someone very special: your future self”

You’ve never met this person, but they are carrying the torch of your dreams. Life is hard for them too except their further along the timeline of life than you. Have you ever wondered what the future you will be like?

It’s something worth contemplating through deep and inward thinking.

When you give up on your dreams and quit, you’re not just hurting you right now, you’re killing the future you as well. That future you is bound by the decisions that you make today. One day you will become that future you and wish you could change that decision to quit. By then, it’s too late to change the past. There ain’t no rewind button on life.

 

Do you really need to quit?

I know you think it’s impossible and your only option is to quit, but that’s because you’ve reached your breaking point. I’ve been there too. I’ve reached a level of failure that has become insurmountable. I too have felt like I couldn’t go on and life had no meaning.

All of your emotional states, at times, can get like this. We’re human after all and don’t you forget that. We live in a flawed body, but that’s why humans are so beautiful in the first place. You don’t need to quit right now; there’s always another way.

 

The best thing to do when you want to quit

This is going to sound cliché: take a break and get out of your head for a few weeks. Go somewhere far, far away and contemplate the meaning of your life and why you’re still here. I say this because your life is a choice. You can decide to end your life at any point, but you haven’t.

You’re not a coward and you’d never do that. You have courage and you’re here for a reason.

 

Quitting may be the best option

Sometimes quitting is a good thing. Sometimes you have too many things on the go and when you quit, you free up time to focus on something that means more to you. My only plea is that you think about your future self when you quit. Think about whether your future self will be affected and whether you’ll be happy with the result.

There are no absolutes in life, only decisions that you make which are guided by your heart. There is no one answer. No one’s right and no one’s wrong. Our circumstances and how we think about them, more importantly, determine the meaning we give to any situation.

 

Who do you want your future self to be?

As you imagine your future self, what is he or she doing? Can you picture where they are? When I asked this question, I got an instant response which reaffirmed what I do today. I instantly saw myself on stage giving speeches to thousands of people.

I saw myself as the person that helps find people’s why and motivates them towards their dreams. I saw myself with a family and writing a best selling book. Strangely enough, I saw my future self as I always have: doing something inspiring to help others. I saw myself unleashing emotion in others to help them push through their limiting beliefs.

 

Now that you know your future self, how can you help them today?

So we’ve done a bit of visualizing in this article already. It’s a powerful way to see what you can become when you don’t quit. It’s a great way to fall in love with the person that you can create in the future by using the power of today’s decisions.

“I think we all need to become dreamers every now and then. If we don’t, we get stuck in today, and in our head full of possibilities”

If I had one tip when it comes to dreaming up the future, it would be this: try and see your future better than it is. Be outrageous and think of possibilities that today would scare you. You’ll be surprised how what you dream up today can become a reality.

I remember suffering from anxiety and trying to dream what it would be like to be rid of it. I remember being scared of flying and always wanting to travel. I remember having never found love and wondering what that would be like. I remember not being able to get in front of lots of people and do any form of public speaking. I remember being too scared to be vulnerable and share the real me.

Now, I’ve completely eliminated my anxiety, I can fly whenever I want with no issues, I have experienced real love, I am on my way to successfully being able to speak in front of larger audiences, and I’m happy to be vulnerable and share my story with everybody. That’s what can happen when you treat your future self with respect.

 

So now what?

Now I want you to do the hard part: take action. Follow the steps above and have some fun. Leave the present for the moment and get to know who you want your future self to be. Your future self is you after all, so you need to treat them like a king or queen.

Write a list of decisions you need to make in order to create the best future you that’s humanly possible. Like I always say, “Don’t be afraid to have big, audacious, crazy dreams.” If you can’t dream it, then you can never achieve it. Remember that next time someone tells you that dreams are BS.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
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Motivation

We All Start With Zero Followers – Comprehenday?

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For the record: followers mean jack, attention is king.

With that said, all of us (including me) started with zero followers. You’re not alone. Whatever your big idea is you are probably going to need people to know about it. The sad truth is that it’s now done via social media.

You’ll need a combination of shares, likes, views, recommends or whatever other form of measurement these crazy social media platforms decide to implement. These metrics equal attention and that’s how people are going to know about what it is that you do.

Let’s not pretend that social media is useless. That would be naïve.

In this bustling, new age world, everyone owns content now. Anyone can go viral and anyone can be heard. Some find this reality a sad fact, but then these same people find something to cry about no matter what so ignore them.

The journey from zero followers to thousands and even millions looks like this:

 

1. We all started somewhere

Quit your complaining we’ve all started at zero followers at some point. Starting with nothing and then building your community up is an amazing feeling. Embrace the journey of creating a following.

The game of comparing follower counts with others will distract you from creating content and force you into consumption mode. Then you’ll over consume and regurgitate all over yourself. Yuck!

 

2. Stop trying to game the system

You can’t buy followers and not have people notice. We can all scan your follower list and see that you cheated. More importantly, the number of followers doesn’t matter.

3. Engagement is everything

Ever seen a social media account with millions of followers and one or two likes/comments per post? That’s because the followers were paid for or tricked into liking the page. I’m going to say it again; the number of followers doesn’t matter.

What matters – if you are creating a community or awareness – is engagement and whether people care about what you’re posting. This can’t be gamed. People will only interact if you are doing and saying stuff that is of value. How do you do that? See the next point.

 

4. It’s not about you and your ego

That’s right. I don’t care, nor does anyone else, about what you had for lunch or who you met at the basketball. What we all care about is what’s in it for me buster?

If you answer that question and do so regularly, people will follow and engage you. That’s how you go from zero followers to millions.

 

5. It takes a while

Zero to a million followers takes times. Like interest on your bank account, your results will compound once you cross the tipping point.

What’s the tipping point?

It’s the point at which you have nailed the following:

– Your message to the world is clear
– It’s consistent (ideally daily)
– It’s unique (not better but different)
– It’s not about you and your ugly ego
– You give more than you ask for (Jab Jab Jab Right Hook)

When you do those things, your follower count and engagement will regularly start to increase.

 

6. You need a breakout moment

The way you do that is my channeling all of your energy and emotion into every piece of content you create. If you do this for long enough, then you’ll eventually have a standout moment. That’s a moment where the world listens and you go viral. It takes time though. You could be waiting five years young Power Ranger.

 

7. Followers like to follow stories

Don’t throw boring stats and pictures at your followers all day, every day. It should come as no surprise that social media works best with stories. The best stories I’ve found are personal stories. Rather than produce content that feeds your ego, put yourself into every story you tell.

 

8. Tell stories that inspire

There are hundreds of types of stories. If I were to encourage you to do one type and one type only it would be to tell inspiring stories. Stories that inspire people to take action, think differently or be emotional about something.

 

9. Say it quickly now!

A story is great but people have a low attention span. This means you’ve got to be able to communicate succinctly. There is a lot of waffle on the Internet. The way to stand out is to plan what you are going to say and cut out the filler. People will love you if they can get value from you and have it delivered in a brief manner. I get this compliment in the form of feedback all the time and I love it.

 

10. There is no one big break

If I look at my online success, there is no one single moment. Going from zero followers and beyond is made up of a whole lot of factors which you’ll never quite work out. What I can tell you though is that all those factors require you to show up.

“Each day you have to show up with something of value to say”

 

11. It doesn’t need to be new necessarily

People think you have to say something new every day. You don’t. Sometimes it’s about saying something in a slightly different way. Sometimes it’s taking a popular idea and saying it in a better way. For me, it’s often about taking something that already exists and saying it in my way, with my story attached.

“Saying something new doesn’t create followers; saying something different does”

12. Find your channel

Everyone’s channel for creating followers is different. Try them all and see which one resonates the best for your niche. Facebook doesn’t really work for me, but Medium and LinkedIn are phenomenal. I would have never known this if I didn’t try them. Experiment like you’re playing with play-doh.

 

13. Quit being romantic

Don’t wait until you have tons of followers to get started. Be the same as you are with zero followers, as you are with a million followers. Being romantic about social media doesn’t work. When I say romantic, it’s kind of the same as saying being precious.

You think you need influence right now. You don’t. You think you need money and lots of it. You don’t. You think you’ll try harder when you’re like Gary Vaynerchuk. You won’t.

So now do you understand that we all start with zero followers and that’s cool bananas?

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
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Motivation

5 Empowering Statements That Will Get Rid of Your Fears Once and for All

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fears

In an instant, you go from being nowhere to being -now here- in the land of the living! Ever wondered how that all happens? In the morning when you wake up, isn’t it just another ordinary miracle how we all of a sudden find ourselves lying in bed, on planet earth and all the stored data of our lives just comes pouring in. One minute you were “who knows where” the next you’re back into “planet earth.”

This is all fascinating, but have you ever had one of those days when as soon as you awaken to the new day, you almost wish it was already over? I mean the thought of crawling out of bed and facing your day is just daunting.

That used to be my kind of morning not sometimes,  but every single day. No matter what I told myself, I just abhorred the new day or the thought of getting out of bed. The muscles in my body ached although it didn’t make sense. I wasn’t sore from exercising because back then, I didn’t even know what exercise was.

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves.” – Cheryl Strayed

Each morning that same sick feeling in my stomach would show up, yet I wasn’t sick. In my head, being awake was just as awful as being asleep because the nightmare that was tormenting my life seemed to follow me everywhere, like a dark shadow.

That was the theme of my life back when all I knew was survival and painstaking hustle. It wasn’t until I made some very major decisions in my life that I started to experience a life free from pain, depression, constant sadness and anger.

And while today I live an extremely different reality from what once tormented me, I do realize that many people are still struggling with irrational fears. As far as their reality is concerned, there’s nothing irrational or trivial about how they feel and what they have to deal with each day.

The burden of life is weighing on their shoulders. Whether or not they are occupying a leadership position or simply just want to survive the current upheaval our society is facing, there is a great need for humanity to be reminded of what’s real.

“It’s okay to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” – Mandy Hale

This is why I want to share with you statements which will work for you if you have been feeling tormented by the burdens of life and false conditioning. Even if you didn’t grow up in the midst of poverty and harsh conditions like I did, there’s so much junk in one’s mind often clouding your path of prosperity and success.

So on those days when you wake up and your morning feels anything other than miraculous, feed your mind with these 5 statements:

1. I overcome my fear of anything and everything and I live life courageously.

2. I need not to fear. Because fear is not of the present but of the past and future, both of which do not exist in the now.

3. I believe this situation/condition will work out for good and all those concerned. Though I may not know how, I still choose to believe this for myself today and I step into my day eager to find opportunities rather than obstacles.

4. I will not be discouraged or let outside forces dictate what I know to be true in my own heart. I will not allow the opinion of another to kill my dream or wound my heart. This is about being myself, expressing my authentic voice and recognizing that no one else can do it for me.

5. I am no longer a victim and I cease blaming my situation and the people around me for how I feel as this only robs me of joy and success. Because I know I was born to win and succeed, I will press on, firmly grounded in my own power to change my life for the better and empower others to do the same.

Share with us below your special statements and empower those like you who are striving for a better life!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Motivation

Unhappy Is Not In Your Vocabulary – You Are A Champion

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I am honored to be here to deliver this message to you. Everyone needs it including your successful friends. We all have tough days which make us unhappy. The road is long and torturous for all of us.

You can’t let that deter you from your goal. Unhappiness is all around us and it will take over if you let it. It’s around every corner, there, smiling at you every time you fail.

Your default belief when the odds are against you is what will keep you moving forward. If you always see the best of every situation then unhappiness won’t win….you will. Trust the mission and trust yourself.

Have faith that you are here for a reason even if you don’t know why just yet. Not all the answers are known to us right now, but over the course of your life, they will be revealed. Like a surprise birthday party, you will be wowed. Even when the surprise is not what you wanted, don’t be unhappy. Unhappy is not in your vocabulary.

Let the hairs on the back of your neck stand tall. Let your body stand tall at the same time and feel the power that hides within all of us. Only you can unlock that power and crush unhappiness to pieces.

 

The word “unhappy” can be removed from your vocabulary.

Every time you are faced with a situation that doesn’t make you feel good, you can choose to see it as a positive. You are in control of what happens day to day.

I don’t just give this advice lightly. I too, have had to deal with this same challenge that you also deal with. Unhappiness is part of the human experience and we get to decide whether we feel it. While we can’t control what happens to us, we can control how it makes us feel.

This super power only comes with practice and discipline. It’s not our default way of living and it’s tough to master. Then again, what is there in life that’s worth achieving that isn’t hard work huh?

 

Travel the world and see new places.

Bring a fresh perspective to your life when you feel like unhappiness may be winning. Start by getting away from the source or changing your surroundings. If all of these YouTube weight loss transformations are true then determination is what you are lacking.

How bad do you want to be happy and stop being unhappy? You can get the results you want faster when you deal with your own situation and decide to help others with their journey at the same time. This is possible because once you take the focus off yourself things start to change.

Doors that were always closed start to become open. People you only dreamed of spending time with come into your life and give you the added support that all champions have.

 

You’re only unhappy because you tell yourself you are.

This victim mentality that you’ve adopted is what is at the source of your unhappiness. Take the word away and replace it with a word that inspires you. Tell yourself stories of your potential and what you can achieve and you’ll begin to rewrite the story of your life.

Every time I feel like I could use the victim word called “unhappy,” I think of all the work I do to serve others with my blogging. I think of the inspiration that is inside of me which I deliver week in week out without fail. It’s not some passing habit because I’ve done it now for three years.

I’m never giving up this mission even if it kills me. Reread those words again because I believe you can think the same way. I’m not special and have the same capacity you do.

 

Keep asking the question.

The answer will come to you if you ask enough times. Unhappiness can come out of not knowing what the meaning of your life is. There is a meaning, though, it’s just that you haven’t put the work in to find it. It’s easier to distract yourself with food, friends, social media or some other vice than it is to keep asking the tough questions.

The tough questions bring out emotion and it’s this emotion that will change your life. Emotion is what drives you to make the hard decisions that most avoid.

“Don’t be afraid to harness your emotions to drive you towards the answer to your one and only question: why am I here?”

When you know why you’re here the unhappiness feeling starts to fade. It’s difficult to explain but very common in the biographies of champions.

 

Are you a champion?

I think we all are deep down inside. Surfacing that inner champion is where the games at.

“Champions can’t be unhappy because they’ve removed the word from their vocabulary”

Their focus is on their mission and this takes them away from any sense of loss. Everything is abundant and all resources are available to the champion that seeks them. Practice being the champion and forget about being the unhappy victim. Label challenging situations with a word that is *not* unhappy.

Pick empowering words. Change your vocabulary. The words you use to describe your life will make more of a difference than you realize. Adopting that label of a champion first begins with adopting the vocabulary of one.

You’re strong.
You won’t be defeated.
You are happy.
You are determined.
You are unique.

You are not unhappy.

———————————————————————————————————————————

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
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Success Advice

The Lie That Is My Overnight Success

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I started writing unprofessionally three years ago. Some would say my whole career is unprofessional and I’d agree. Imperfection is damn sexy though.

I began writing only because my mentor Joel Brown said I should and I stupidly said yes without knowing why. Now, of course, I’m crystal clear about why I write: it’s to inspire. I remember uploading articles to Addicted2Success.com and seeing no one like them. I remember thinking I was a failure.

In the early days, I was writing articles about entrepreneurs I had interviewed and I wasn’t that passionate about it. Every article felt like really hard work and it required an incredible amount of willpower. Everyone at the time was doing entrepreneur interviews and there was nothing special.

Then one day, I wrote an article for the fun of it that had nothing to do with anything. It was essentially a brain fart that I concocted after dinner, late one night. It took less than one hour to write and it was written with passion. The words came out of me without even trying.

Since that day, the words have continued to pour out of me in the same way. I get into a state of flow and then it happens. Words appear, people get inspired and we all have one big party that has been named “life.” From the day I wrote that article, thousands of people shared it and they still do today.

 

I didn’t stop

After my big moment on the internet going viral, everything stopped. The tumbleweed that drifted through the desert with an eerie silence continued. Everything calmed down and people stopped caring again.

I didn’t stop though because I found my writing therapeutical.

“My blog posts became like my own personal journey and it was a way for me to escape from the Alcatraz that was my head. This prison that lived inside my head kept telling me that no one cared and I’d never be successful.”

I decided to keep finding ways to break out of Alcatraz and check in to the Ritz Hotel that was me becoming a conscious, passionate, crazy online leader.

 

I stopped giving a damn

Over the next eighteen months, I kept writing every moment I got. No one paid attention but I did. I started paying attention to the shift that was happening inside of me. The leader that had always been stuck inside of me started to unleash.

The things that used to hold me back disappeared. I didn’t give two hoots about what anyone thought and I only cared about inspiring those who wanted to be inspired. I worked my butt off and started waking up at 4 am to post new blog articles. People couldn’t understand how I had the time to write working a full-time job.

The part they didn’t get was that because the words flowed out of me so easily, it didn’t take that long at all to write something of value. People watched me posting articles and thought I was crazy. They thought what I was doing was career suicide in the big bad world of corporate politics.

I never liked politics anyway, so I stuck my middle finger up at the way things were traditionally done. I decided to be a rebel writer and live my dream. I continued to make no money and people kept on questioning what I was doing.

 

I believed

A few people believed, but most didn’t. What stuck out like tomato sauce on a freshly dry cleaned white shirt was that I believed and that’s all that mattered. I saw something that no one else could see: my real potential versus my current success.

I had the motivation to continue on when no one cared because I believed I could change the world. I saw myself as someone who had the potential to serve millions of people online. I kept telling myself never to give up and I also spread the same message throughout everything I wrote.

“I thought my writing was going to save everybody else, but what it really did is save myself”

My writing saved me from living a life without meaning and it helped me discover who I really was. I saw the pattern between every goal I’d ever had: to inspire and evoke emotion from strangers.

This clarity fuelled me and I became relentless. I reached out to every blogger, leader and person that had done cool stuff that inspired me. Originally I thought they’d all ignore me: none of them did. See when you have energy and passion oozing out of you, people can’t say no. An unwavering belief in what you’re doing is all that matters.

 

The tipping point happened

I began to see a change when each day I started to get a message from a reader/fan. It started as one message per day, then two, then three. Now I get more messages of support every day than I have time to read. Success often doesn’t become a reality in a single moment.

Success is something that is hard to measure in the early days until one giant moment happens that everyone sees. The part no one sees is the many smaller moments that happened beforehand. The small successes that may not have looked like a textbook example of “success.”

 

That big day finally came

So the big day happened when an article I wrote went viral. This was the third time it had happened, although this time the success became permanent. All those years, when I thought no one was reading, people were. What had occurred was that they were too scared to show they were reading because my success was still largely unproven.

It was only after the big success moment that people felt it was okay to come out of the metaphorical closet and say they were inspired by what I was doing. All those nights spent locked away in my office being anti-social was worth it. All those cups of green tea, takeaway meals, indoor plants, and weird emails to myself with possible headlines for articles had meant something.

More publications reached out to me and pretty soon I wasn’t just writing for Addicted2Success; I was writing for the biggest sites on the entire internet. The ones where the editors get pitched one hundred times a day by people who want to do nothing more than self-promote and build a BS “personal brand.”

Before I knew it, I was getting offered book deals, business opportunities, podcast interviews and public speaking gigs. I took some but ignored most. I remembered what was important and the fact that unwavering focus had got me to where I was.

I knew I was ready for some opportunities and not for others like public speaking. The journey had begun, but I was far from the summit of the mountain of my dreams.

 

Nothing changed

Strangely, though, it was all one ginormous anti-climax moment. Nothing had changed. Even today nothing has changed. I still want to inspire people and I still like sharing stories. I still want to live with passion and I still want to create a meaning for my life that outlives me.

What has changed is that people have seen my success as something that’s happened recently – what total BS that is. It’s taken my entire existence to discover the meaning of my life, find a medium to share it on and go after it with relentless optimism.

 

What you didn’t see with my success

You didn’t see the person that existed before all of this. You didn’t see the selfish, rude, arrogant, brat who lived for material possessions and felt like he was entitled to success because he grew up in Australia, the land of the free. I can say those horrible things because I’m talking about myself. Thankfully that’s the opposite of who I am now.

You didn’t see the transformation that occurred after that one big rock bottom moment. When everything made no sense and I had to look inside of myself to crawl out of that black hole that had become my existence. You didn’t see me step out of the darkness and into the light.

All you saw was me in the light and assumed I had always been there shining away brightly, and living the good life that is passion and purpose. How wrong that lie is. How wrong the whole concept of overnight success is.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Evan

    Nov 14, 2015 at 11:25 am

    It’s inspiring especially to see Thomas Edison’s successes and failures.

    He said things like he’s figured out 10,000 ways that don’t work, or he made tons of mistakes and just patented the good ones. He remarked that every failure was just another step closer to his goal, so he was happy!

    I think this is the type of attitude you must have to laugh it off and keep going! Life will throw you those curveballs, but if you can laugh at them, and yourself, you’re going to be just fine

    – Evan

    • Doug Sullivan

      Nov 20, 2015 at 2:52 am

      Great thoughts on this Evan. Edison is fascinating to study in failing to success…. the vote recorder, the electric pen and his work with iron ore are just a few of the many things he worked with. Honestly, until researching this article, I didn’t really know MOST of the other things Edison dabbled in. His curious and persistent mindset is certainly one to emulate!

  2. Thapelo

    Nov 4, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Great article. This is truly an inspiring article. Much appreciation Doug.

    • Doug Sullivan

      Nov 10, 2015 at 12:02 am

      Thank you Thapelo! I appreciate your feedback!

  3. Nancy

    Oct 29, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    This is the type of articles I like to see on Facebook

    • Doug Sullivan

      Nov 1, 2015 at 2:12 am

      Thank you Nancy! I’m glad you enjoyed it. It was a fun one to research too… so many great, inspirational stories out there!!

  4. Paula

    Oct 27, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Very inspiring thanks for sharing

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Motivation

Don’t Hurt Your Future Self By Quitting

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“Every decision you make affects someone very special: your future self”

You’ve never met this person, but they are carrying the torch of your dreams. Life is hard for them too except their further along the timeline of life than you. Have you ever wondered what the future you will be like?

It’s something worth contemplating through deep and inward thinking.

When you give up on your dreams and quit, you’re not just hurting you right now, you’re killing the future you as well. That future you is bound by the decisions that you make today. One day you will become that future you and wish you could change that decision to quit. By then, it’s too late to change the past. There ain’t no rewind button on life.

 

Do you really need to quit?

I know you think it’s impossible and your only option is to quit, but that’s because you’ve reached your breaking point. I’ve been there too. I’ve reached a level of failure that has become insurmountable. I too have felt like I couldn’t go on and life had no meaning.

All of your emotional states, at times, can get like this. We’re human after all and don’t you forget that. We live in a flawed body, but that’s why humans are so beautiful in the first place. You don’t need to quit right now; there’s always another way.

 

The best thing to do when you want to quit

This is going to sound cliché: take a break and get out of your head for a few weeks. Go somewhere far, far away and contemplate the meaning of your life and why you’re still here. I say this because your life is a choice. You can decide to end your life at any point, but you haven’t.

You’re not a coward and you’d never do that. You have courage and you’re here for a reason.

 

Quitting may be the best option

Sometimes quitting is a good thing. Sometimes you have too many things on the go and when you quit, you free up time to focus on something that means more to you. My only plea is that you think about your future self when you quit. Think about whether your future self will be affected and whether you’ll be happy with the result.

There are no absolutes in life, only decisions that you make which are guided by your heart. There is no one answer. No one’s right and no one’s wrong. Our circumstances and how we think about them, more importantly, determine the meaning we give to any situation.

 

Who do you want your future self to be?

As you imagine your future self, what is he or she doing? Can you picture where they are? When I asked this question, I got an instant response which reaffirmed what I do today. I instantly saw myself on stage giving speeches to thousands of people.

I saw myself as the person that helps find people’s why and motivates them towards their dreams. I saw myself with a family and writing a best selling book. Strangely enough, I saw my future self as I always have: doing something inspiring to help others. I saw myself unleashing emotion in others to help them push through their limiting beliefs.

 

Now that you know your future self, how can you help them today?

So we’ve done a bit of visualizing in this article already. It’s a powerful way to see what you can become when you don’t quit. It’s a great way to fall in love with the person that you can create in the future by using the power of today’s decisions.

“I think we all need to become dreamers every now and then. If we don’t, we get stuck in today, and in our head full of possibilities”

If I had one tip when it comes to dreaming up the future, it would be this: try and see your future better than it is. Be outrageous and think of possibilities that today would scare you. You’ll be surprised how what you dream up today can become a reality.

I remember suffering from anxiety and trying to dream what it would be like to be rid of it. I remember being scared of flying and always wanting to travel. I remember having never found love and wondering what that would be like. I remember not being able to get in front of lots of people and do any form of public speaking. I remember being too scared to be vulnerable and share the real me.

Now, I’ve completely eliminated my anxiety, I can fly whenever I want with no issues, I have experienced real love, I am on my way to successfully being able to speak in front of larger audiences, and I’m happy to be vulnerable and share my story with everybody. That’s what can happen when you treat your future self with respect.

 

So now what?

Now I want you to do the hard part: take action. Follow the steps above and have some fun. Leave the present for the moment and get to know who you want your future self to be. Your future self is you after all, so you need to treat them like a king or queen.

Write a list of decisions you need to make in order to create the best future you that’s humanly possible. Like I always say, “Don’t be afraid to have big, audacious, crazy dreams.” If you can’t dream it, then you can never achieve it. Remember that next time someone tells you that dreams are BS.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
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Motivation

We All Start With Zero Followers – Comprehenday?

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For the record: followers mean jack, attention is king.

With that said, all of us (including me) started with zero followers. You’re not alone. Whatever your big idea is you are probably going to need people to know about it. The sad truth is that it’s now done via social media.

You’ll need a combination of shares, likes, views, recommends or whatever other form of measurement these crazy social media platforms decide to implement. These metrics equal attention and that’s how people are going to know about what it is that you do.

Let’s not pretend that social media is useless. That would be naïve.

In this bustling, new age world, everyone owns content now. Anyone can go viral and anyone can be heard. Some find this reality a sad fact, but then these same people find something to cry about no matter what so ignore them.

The journey from zero followers to thousands and even millions looks like this:

 

1. We all started somewhere

Quit your complaining we’ve all started at zero followers at some point. Starting with nothing and then building your community up is an amazing feeling. Embrace the journey of creating a following.

The game of comparing follower counts with others will distract you from creating content and force you into consumption mode. Then you’ll over consume and regurgitate all over yourself. Yuck!

 

2. Stop trying to game the system

You can’t buy followers and not have people notice. We can all scan your follower list and see that you cheated. More importantly, the number of followers doesn’t matter.

3. Engagement is everything

Ever seen a social media account with millions of followers and one or two likes/comments per post? That’s because the followers were paid for or tricked into liking the page. I’m going to say it again; the number of followers doesn’t matter.

What matters – if you are creating a community or awareness – is engagement and whether people care about what you’re posting. This can’t be gamed. People will only interact if you are doing and saying stuff that is of value. How do you do that? See the next point.

 

4. It’s not about you and your ego

That’s right. I don’t care, nor does anyone else, about what you had for lunch or who you met at the basketball. What we all care about is what’s in it for me buster?

If you answer that question and do so regularly, people will follow and engage you. That’s how you go from zero followers to millions.

 

5. It takes a while

Zero to a million followers takes times. Like interest on your bank account, your results will compound once you cross the tipping point.

What’s the tipping point?

It’s the point at which you have nailed the following:

– Your message to the world is clear
– It’s consistent (ideally daily)
– It’s unique (not better but different)
– It’s not about you and your ugly ego
– You give more than you ask for (Jab Jab Jab Right Hook)

When you do those things, your follower count and engagement will regularly start to increase.

 

6. You need a breakout moment

The way you do that is my channeling all of your energy and emotion into every piece of content you create. If you do this for long enough, then you’ll eventually have a standout moment. That’s a moment where the world listens and you go viral. It takes time though. You could be waiting five years young Power Ranger.

 

7. Followers like to follow stories

Don’t throw boring stats and pictures at your followers all day, every day. It should come as no surprise that social media works best with stories. The best stories I’ve found are personal stories. Rather than produce content that feeds your ego, put yourself into every story you tell.

 

8. Tell stories that inspire

There are hundreds of types of stories. If I were to encourage you to do one type and one type only it would be to tell inspiring stories. Stories that inspire people to take action, think differently or be emotional about something.

 

9. Say it quickly now!

A story is great but people have a low attention span. This means you’ve got to be able to communicate succinctly. There is a lot of waffle on the Internet. The way to stand out is to plan what you are going to say and cut out the filler. People will love you if they can get value from you and have it delivered in a brief manner. I get this compliment in the form of feedback all the time and I love it.

 

10. There is no one big break

If I look at my online success, there is no one single moment. Going from zero followers and beyond is made up of a whole lot of factors which you’ll never quite work out. What I can tell you though is that all those factors require you to show up.

“Each day you have to show up with something of value to say”

 

11. It doesn’t need to be new necessarily

People think you have to say something new every day. You don’t. Sometimes it’s about saying something in a slightly different way. Sometimes it’s taking a popular idea and saying it in a better way. For me, it’s often about taking something that already exists and saying it in my way, with my story attached.

“Saying something new doesn’t create followers; saying something different does”

12. Find your channel

Everyone’s channel for creating followers is different. Try them all and see which one resonates the best for your niche. Facebook doesn’t really work for me, but Medium and LinkedIn are phenomenal. I would have never known this if I didn’t try them. Experiment like you’re playing with play-doh.

 

13. Quit being romantic

Don’t wait until you have tons of followers to get started. Be the same as you are with zero followers, as you are with a million followers. Being romantic about social media doesn’t work. When I say romantic, it’s kind of the same as saying being precious.

You think you need influence right now. You don’t. You think you need money and lots of it. You don’t. You think you’ll try harder when you’re like Gary Vaynerchuk. You won’t.

So now do you understand that we all start with zero followers and that’s cool bananas?

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
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Motivation

5 Empowering Statements That Will Get Rid of Your Fears Once and for All

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fears

In an instant, you go from being nowhere to being -now here- in the land of the living! Ever wondered how that all happens? In the morning when you wake up, isn’t it just another ordinary miracle how we all of a sudden find ourselves lying in bed, on planet earth and all the stored data of our lives just comes pouring in. One minute you were “who knows where” the next you’re back into “planet earth.”

This is all fascinating, but have you ever had one of those days when as soon as you awaken to the new day, you almost wish it was already over? I mean the thought of crawling out of bed and facing your day is just daunting.

That used to be my kind of morning not sometimes,  but every single day. No matter what I told myself, I just abhorred the new day or the thought of getting out of bed. The muscles in my body ached although it didn’t make sense. I wasn’t sore from exercising because back then, I didn’t even know what exercise was.

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves.” – Cheryl Strayed

Each morning that same sick feeling in my stomach would show up, yet I wasn’t sick. In my head, being awake was just as awful as being asleep because the nightmare that was tormenting my life seemed to follow me everywhere, like a dark shadow.

That was the theme of my life back when all I knew was survival and painstaking hustle. It wasn’t until I made some very major decisions in my life that I started to experience a life free from pain, depression, constant sadness and anger.

And while today I live an extremely different reality from what once tormented me, I do realize that many people are still struggling with irrational fears. As far as their reality is concerned, there’s nothing irrational or trivial about how they feel and what they have to deal with each day.

The burden of life is weighing on their shoulders. Whether or not they are occupying a leadership position or simply just want to survive the current upheaval our society is facing, there is a great need for humanity to be reminded of what’s real.

“It’s okay to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” – Mandy Hale

This is why I want to share with you statements which will work for you if you have been feeling tormented by the burdens of life and false conditioning. Even if you didn’t grow up in the midst of poverty and harsh conditions like I did, there’s so much junk in one’s mind often clouding your path of prosperity and success.

So on those days when you wake up and your morning feels anything other than miraculous, feed your mind with these 5 statements:

1. I overcome my fear of anything and everything and I live life courageously.

2. I need not to fear. Because fear is not of the present but of the past and future, both of which do not exist in the now.

3. I believe this situation/condition will work out for good and all those concerned. Though I may not know how, I still choose to believe this for myself today and I step into my day eager to find opportunities rather than obstacles.

4. I will not be discouraged or let outside forces dictate what I know to be true in my own heart. I will not allow the opinion of another to kill my dream or wound my heart. This is about being myself, expressing my authentic voice and recognizing that no one else can do it for me.

5. I am no longer a victim and I cease blaming my situation and the people around me for how I feel as this only robs me of joy and success. Because I know I was born to win and succeed, I will press on, firmly grounded in my own power to change my life for the better and empower others to do the same.

Share with us below your special statements and empower those like you who are striving for a better life!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Motivation

Unhappy Is Not In Your Vocabulary – You Are A Champion

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I am honored to be here to deliver this message to you. Everyone needs it including your successful friends. We all have tough days which make us unhappy. The road is long and torturous for all of us.

You can’t let that deter you from your goal. Unhappiness is all around us and it will take over if you let it. It’s around every corner, there, smiling at you every time you fail.

Your default belief when the odds are against you is what will keep you moving forward. If you always see the best of every situation then unhappiness won’t win….you will. Trust the mission and trust yourself.

Have faith that you are here for a reason even if you don’t know why just yet. Not all the answers are known to us right now, but over the course of your life, they will be revealed. Like a surprise birthday party, you will be wowed. Even when the surprise is not what you wanted, don’t be unhappy. Unhappy is not in your vocabulary.

Let the hairs on the back of your neck stand tall. Let your body stand tall at the same time and feel the power that hides within all of us. Only you can unlock that power and crush unhappiness to pieces.

 

The word “unhappy” can be removed from your vocabulary.

Every time you are faced with a situation that doesn’t make you feel good, you can choose to see it as a positive. You are in control of what happens day to day.

I don’t just give this advice lightly. I too, have had to deal with this same challenge that you also deal with. Unhappiness is part of the human experience and we get to decide whether we feel it. While we can’t control what happens to us, we can control how it makes us feel.

This super power only comes with practice and discipline. It’s not our default way of living and it’s tough to master. Then again, what is there in life that’s worth achieving that isn’t hard work huh?

 

Travel the world and see new places.

Bring a fresh perspective to your life when you feel like unhappiness may be winning. Start by getting away from the source or changing your surroundings. If all of these YouTube weight loss transformations are true then determination is what you are lacking.

How bad do you want to be happy and stop being unhappy? You can get the results you want faster when you deal with your own situation and decide to help others with their journey at the same time. This is possible because once you take the focus off yourself things start to change.

Doors that were always closed start to become open. People you only dreamed of spending time with come into your life and give you the added support that all champions have.

 

You’re only unhappy because you tell yourself you are.

This victim mentality that you’ve adopted is what is at the source of your unhappiness. Take the word away and replace it with a word that inspires you. Tell yourself stories of your potential and what you can achieve and you’ll begin to rewrite the story of your life.

Every time I feel like I could use the victim word called “unhappy,” I think of all the work I do to serve others with my blogging. I think of the inspiration that is inside of me which I deliver week in week out without fail. It’s not some passing habit because I’ve done it now for three years.

I’m never giving up this mission even if it kills me. Reread those words again because I believe you can think the same way. I’m not special and have the same capacity you do.

 

Keep asking the question.

The answer will come to you if you ask enough times. Unhappiness can come out of not knowing what the meaning of your life is. There is a meaning, though, it’s just that you haven’t put the work in to find it. It’s easier to distract yourself with food, friends, social media or some other vice than it is to keep asking the tough questions.

The tough questions bring out emotion and it’s this emotion that will change your life. Emotion is what drives you to make the hard decisions that most avoid.

“Don’t be afraid to harness your emotions to drive you towards the answer to your one and only question: why am I here?”

When you know why you’re here the unhappiness feeling starts to fade. It’s difficult to explain but very common in the biographies of champions.

 

Are you a champion?

I think we all are deep down inside. Surfacing that inner champion is where the games at.

“Champions can’t be unhappy because they’ve removed the word from their vocabulary”

Their focus is on their mission and this takes them away from any sense of loss. Everything is abundant and all resources are available to the champion that seeks them. Practice being the champion and forget about being the unhappy victim. Label challenging situations with a word that is *not* unhappy.

Pick empowering words. Change your vocabulary. The words you use to describe your life will make more of a difference than you realize. Adopting that label of a champion first begins with adopting the vocabulary of one.

You’re strong.
You won’t be defeated.
You are happy.
You are determined.
You are unique.

You are not unhappy.

———————————————————————————————————————————

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
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