I 4Xed my income in 2018 by mastering these three keys

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Here’s a video version of this post presented by yours truly. Otherwise, scroll to keep reading!

Nightmare material

I’m on an internal interview and one of my team members, Wes Stryker, kicks his presentation off with a hammer of a message.

“The definition of hell is when you die and meet the person you could’ve been”

Thanks for the existential crisis on a Wednesday at 8am, Wes.

Thanks Wes. You’re the man.

The more I thought about the quote, the more my brain got to thinking.

What would stop me from becoming the person I could’ve been?

There have been times in my life where I’ve made incredible progress and turned into a totally different person.

There have also been times where I’ve been stagnant for months or years at a time. I asked myself- what was the difference?

I found three common factors:

  • Pain

  • Pleasure

  • Discipline

Stating the obvious

Obvious statement #1: Everything we do is in our need to avoid pain or in our desire for pleasure

Obvious statement #2: If you keep doing the same things, your life won’t change

Then, why do we keep doing the same things? Why do we not do some of the things we know we should do?

It’s because we believe that there is more pain in taking the action now than if we put that action off for later.

That’s the reason why a looming deadline drives us into action and out of procrastination. The pain of not taking action suddenly becomes worse than putting it off.

Pain & Pleasure

What do you link pain to right now? Is it the hard workouts and soreness? Going to your job? Reading a book?

How about pleasure? Is it that ice cold beer? That juicy burger? The new TV show on Netflix?

What we link pain and pleasure to is ultimately what shapes our lives. 

The irony is that the short term pain you avoid today is exactly what leads you to long term pain down the road.

A few examples you’ll commonly see that lead to big time finance, health, and career pain are:

  • missed workouts

  • “diet begins tomorrow”

  • not giving your all at work

  • not budgeting or investing

Are you linking pain to things that are driving you towards your goals or away from them?

I’m not saying you need to go full David Goggins mode and shoot for 100% pain. But if you’re at a 50-50 split, going 80/20 will make a huge impact in your life.

Want to drive a change in your life?

You have to start recognizing the painful things you’re putting off as obstacles you need to attack to gain long term pleasure.

Throw cards at people (kidding, mostly)

One of my former bosses, Jess Stricklin, had cards of a quote that he used to put on our desks. Our team had just been formed and we weren’t quite firing yet.

Here’s what the card said:

“One of the most important keys to success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like doing it”

Jess’s famous card

Yes, there was pain in selling to doctors in private practice.

The hang-ups, the rejections, the office managers gatekeeping us, the deals slipping, the endless lead sourcing, and the podiatrist from NY who told me “Sonny, you’re a POS, go shove it” (you didn’t have to do me like that, doc).

Jess coached us on how to have the discipline to aggressively attack these pains because they were inevitable on the way to success.

That card became our mantra. You better believe we started banging out cold-calls and getting to work when that card was dropped on our desk.

Months later, we found Jess’ stack of cards collecting dust. We didn’t need it anymore. That phrase had become our motto and we were living it. The team blew out our number month after month and we never looked back.

Elephante is for closers only

For myself, the “pain” of all those cold calls, all those rejections, and all of the late nights prospecting led to outsized personal wins.

I was promoted multiple times, 4x’ed my income in a year, and most importantly, finally became successful at something in my life. My confidence was through the roof and I felt like I was growing into the person I wanted to be.

Once I saw the success of attacking pain, the momentum drove me in other areas. What were some other goals I had and what other pains was I avoiding?

Did I want to get in better shape?
OK, I’ll start weighing out my meals, say “no” to nights out, and commit to hitting the gym before work at 5AM.

Did I want to level up my sales game, mindset, and knowledge? 
OK, I’ll replace Netflix and Xbox with 45 minutes of daily reading.

The same mindset can be applied to anything you’re trying to achieve.

Write down your goal, write down the end result you’re going after, and write down the painful things in the way of that result. Then, get to work on those things.

Action Items 📋

  • Write down one goal you’ve been putting off

  • Write down the long-term pleasure of hitting that goal

  • Write down the pains that come with achieving that goal

    • ATTACK them

That’s all folks. I’ll catch you next Sunday in your inbox. Please shoot over a note on your thoughts/takeaways. I truly love hearing the feedback.


Here’s my motivational video of the week from the late, great Greg Plitt.

“If today you never say good enough, tomorrow you will always have enough”