I Used to Dream Too Small

Growing up in the lower middle-class causes people to have some beliefs that can actually limit them from reaching their true potential. I know, because I used to be like this.

When you are surrounded by those with an average mindset, you may adopt average goals. I grew up thinking that success meant getting a high school education, a house, a family, a car, and a "steady job".

I grew up in a 1,000 sq-ft home, in a small suburb of Houston. My parents were hard workers. We were never poor, but we never had luxuries either. Every dollar that came into that house was based on sweat equity. Like most, it was just trading hours for dollars. Marking your calendar for paydays, so that you wouldn't overspend your check.

I learned to value working hard. I also figured my life would be a repeat of how I grew up. That was the norm. You see, people rarely climb out of their financial demographic. The mindset sets in, and they become comfortable when they achieve what everyone around them achieves.

I was always curious about how successful people reached those levels. I'd heard all the excuses before, like "They were born with it."

Hearing stuff like that has a tendency to make some people give up. They lose hope, because they weren't born with it. The average mindset strikes again. You start getting advice from those who never tried, and just repeat the same excuses that their elders told them. When you are young, you have no reason to disbelieve those senior to you.

Here is the real truth. If you are currently setting your goals to be within the middle-class, you will be living a tougher life. The reason is just based on sheer numbers. This group consists of the most people, therefore you are competing against the most people. You are competing for the same jobs, same homes, same resources. Supply vs demand forces your value down, because there is an abundance of supply - the people.

When you can set your goals higher, your mind will now compete for prizes at a higher level. Where there is much less competition. MUCH less. In our digital world, you won't need the large financial backing to compete in those arenas. Attention is like currency, nowadays. The money follows attention. It follows influence. It doesn't matter where you start from, the rules are universal.

When I was young, I used to think that earning six-figures was only a dream. It was so far away from my reality, my world. When I started my first side-jobs, I thought earning $50 was amazing. When I waited tables, I thought earning $100 after working all day long was awesome. When John and I started LS1Tech, we thought earning $500/month to pay for our hotrods would be cool. Yes, we set really low goals back then. That site earned over $30,000/month when we sold it, six years later. That was just a side-business for us. I eventually also earned multiple six-figures in my oil career.

This was all a result of a mindset shift. Surrounding myself with other driven people. Working with mentors. Working on self-improvement daily. Setting goals, and taking action. Stepping out of just settling for average.

This path isn't for everyone. Some will probably read this, and roll their eyes. They will continue to make excuses about why they haven't reached their own goals. They will blame others for their situation.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to you. Your grit. Your willingness to push aside self-limiting beliefs, trusting yourself, and doing the work. There is no easy way. There is no get-rich-quick. There is only work.

Today, I enjoy helping my clients start up their first businesses, and helping existing businesses level-up. It is what I was meant to do. If you want to work with me, please contact me.

I've accomplished much during my career so far, but I feel like I'm just getting started.

I have some BIG dreams, nowadays.

Unlearn Your Childhood Mindset

We are programmed to fail from reaching our potential, as kids.

We are taught to stand in line, fit in with others, be like everyone else, play things safe, follow the rules... if we want to be accepted by others. If we want to avoid criticism.

Dress like your friends. Like what your friends like. Think like your friends. Act like them. Participate in the same things.

The herd mentality. Safety in numbers. Moooo! 🐄🐄🐄

Take a look at yourself today, as an adult. You likely still hold on to these same learned behaviors, and have never given them any thought. It isn't your fault, it is all that you know!

Your uniqueness is what makes you remarkable. Critics offer no remarks, if you blend in with the masses. Being brave enough to stand apart, is the very definition of "outstanding". Owning your vulnerability is a sign of courage. We admire those who are willing to put themselves out there for a good cause, yet we hide in fear about doing it ourselves. Why?

There is no reward for being average. If you don't have any critics, it simply means you aren't doing anything worth noticing. You are merely blending in, avoiding risk and living with the fear of rejection. Just like the masses.

All the famous and influential people we recognize, simply decided to step out of the norm. To show their uniqueness.

You may not be living up to your potential. Be outstanding. 👊

Tony Whatley, Best-Selling Author of Sidehustle Millionaire - visit sidehustlebook.net


$154 Million & Why It Bothers You

$154 Million & Why it Bothers You.😡

It's Monday morning, and people are preparing for another day at work. For just about everyone else in this world, that means going to a job that pays much, much less than the deal LeBron James just signed with the Lakers. $154MM over 4 years.

So, the Facebook feed is buzzing with this discussion, with the vast majority of people trying to tell us LeBron isn't worth it. That nobody is worth that.

Why does it eat people up to see other people earning so much more than they could even dream about? More than people will earn over an entire lifetime. They know how hard they have to work, just to have a tiny fraction of the dollar amount that just showed up for James.

It is the scarcity mindset that makes people think this way. The same thing that makes people think that if someone else gains more success, then somehow they lose some piece of potential success for themselves. They want to compare their own situation with these superstars, rather than understand that there is no relationship.

They want to talk about how some more important occupations are so severely underpaid, and how this isn't fair. LeBron could have chosen to become a fireman. A teacher. Life certainly isn't fair, but not everyone makes the best choices to arrive at some mega-salary that was within their own potential. LeBron simply did.

Here is the hard truth about this subject. The market determines your worth. These are business transactions, not favoritism or "being fair". The company, the LA Lakers in this case, has determined what they feel they will earn from having James on their team. They wanted the best player in the NBA, because they obviously feel he will bring them much, much more profit than what his paycheck costs them. It really is this simple. It is no different than what your current company values you at, and what the industry determines you are worth. Your current job, or the business you own, all have prices set on supply vs demand.

I'll never speak negatively on what someone has carved out for themselves, what they have earned. The market determines that. I applaud anyone that pursues their potential. There is plenty of success to go around, where I don't have to be concerned with the success of others. I want each of you to earn up to your potential, and I'll be happy to see you succeed.

So, you don't have to like LeBron James. You don't even have to respect him. But, you shouldn't hold onto that scarcity mindset. It will never serve you well, in life. Go get yours!

Control Your Fears

In May of 2017, I decided to do something. That was when I officially began the journey of a very public transformation. I've had a large social media following for several years, as a result of starting a couple companies that grew into thousands of fans and customers. But, they only knew me as a car enthusiast, or an oil industry worker. Even though I've been consulting businesses and mentoring startups for over a decade, I was only doing this privately. I didn't have the confidence to inspire and educate people in a public manner. We all have the fears of rejection, and failure. I decided that I would overcome these fears, and step into this big social media spotlight.

It wasn't easy. It still isn't easy. I'm only about a year into this, at the time of this writing. I've learned many things during this past year. Not all of them have been good things. I've learned that some people that you considered friends for years, would not support your goals. Even those who you have always supported, with their dreams. They will laugh at you, talk behind your back, and make passive-aggressive comments to try to take you down a notch. I'd say this was the most disappointing part of the journey, so far. If anything, it has been a great eye-opener, and has exposed these people for who they really are. For that, I am actually grateful. I have a very strong and determined mindset, and it is very clear that I do not let these critics stop my progress. Obviously, they must have underestimated my drive and determination.

Conversely, there has been a positive aspect to this. An opposite realization, which carries far more weight than what naysayers bring. For every negative critic that showed up, there have been dozens of unexpected supporters that also appeared. People that I may have misjudged, who I never thought would support me. Those relationships have grown stronger, and it has highlighted the good people in my circles. The amount of positive emails, texts and messages I receive completely overwhelm me. It tells me I'm doing something right.

Getting back to the topic of fear. I knew I had stories and lessons to tell. I just knew that I wasn't brave enough to deliver them to my own acceptable standards. I had to get better at public speaking. Some people actually rank public speaking higher than the fear of death. There would be no way around this fear. I'd have to trudge right through the middle of it, if I ever hoped to achieve my goals. So, I took a deep breath, and called myself a few derogatory names, and signed up to attend a local club meeting with Toastmasters International in my area. For those of you that aren't familiar with Toastmasters, it is a non-profit worldwide organization that provides education and practice in public speaking and leadership. Chances are, there are a few clubs near you. You can search for them on their website, Toastmasters.org

In less than one year, I went from having zero experience in public speaking, to competing - and winning at public speaking contests. Had you asked me a year ago if I'd be competing at this, I'd have laughed at you as the cold sweats began to form just thinking about it. No way in hell could I see myself doing that, especially in a short amount of time. But here is the thing, I was simply determined. Like everything in my life, I set goals, and then deliver on them. I attended every single Monday night, only missing them on vacations or holidays. I found great mentors, and a room of positive, supportive people, who feel more like family now. We are all there on the same mission, for self-improvement. I recently earned my Competent Communicator certificate, having completed 10 prepared public speeches. Something to frame, and be proud of. Very few start and complete that journey. Most take several years to do so. There are no shortcuts.

I feel that anyone that joins, and participates within Toastmasters will be forever changed for the better. In one year, you will not be the same person that joined. I found so much value here, that I became a VP of this group. I plan to stick around and mentor others. I also have plenty of room to improve. Watching the weekly transformations and improvements of others in the group, is something astounding to witness.

Anyways, here is a contest speech that I delivered a week ago, on the subject of FEAR! I hope that the story captivates you, but more importantly, the message is heard. This is how I live my life, nowadays. If something makes me feel fear, I go after it and try to overcome that fear. Enjoy.

Look In The Mirror

Do you want a better life? It starts with you. How badly do you want it? Are you all talk, or are you actually taking action to improve yourself?

If you want to achieve levels different from where you currently are, you have to redefine yourself to grow into that higher level. It would be absurd to think about massive lifestyle changes happening, without investing in yourself to create and master those new opportunities.

Want to be the boss? How much time have you invested in learning how to become one? Read any management books in the last month, or take any recent courses on leadership? If you said no, then you are not serious about it. Rest assured, other people you know are investing in themselves, and improving. They will get that job.

Want to start a company? How many books have you read on doing so? How many mentors have you approached with questions? Done any legit research on the business niche? Have you done a simple business plan to estimate the financials and returns? No? Then you aren't ready.

We should always look into ourselves first, if we want changes to happen. Rid yourself of things that do not move you closer to your goal. That may include bad habits, excuses, negative people, and your attitude. Make these changes to yourself, and watch the opportunities arrive. Most people simply hold themselves back, but they do not realize it.

Become the best version of yourself, and seek to improve every single day. Little positive changes, performed over a long time, will bring exponential gains.

Managers vs. Leaders

Are you currently a manager, or do you aspire to become one? Do you consider yourself a leader? The reason there are two different questions, is because there could be two different answers. Most people believe a manager and leader are the same thing, but this statement is not accurate. Anyone who has worked within any company has seen proof of this. Within all companies, the role of manager is certainly an important one. The position is purely authoritative, intended to keep the employees following the process and rules. One could even argue that the leadership aspect of some of these manager roles is not always required.

Not all managers are leaders. "Manager" is just a job title. Conversely, not all leaders are managers. Some individuals lead from behind, regardless of their corporate rank. These people motivate and inspire everyone around them to perform at a higher level, by offering encouragement and leading by example. Leadership is a personality characteristic, not related to any specific title. It is something you have to decide to become, and practice to improve.

Within our corporate world, many people get promoted into management without having the leadership persona. Someone could be an ace at performing within a skilled support role, but that doesn't automatically make them leadership material. They may have mastered the intellectual IQ requirements for that technical role, but may have not developed the EQ (Emotional Quotient) to lead people. Some managers are just not interested in managing people, but will accept the promotion for the title, status, or salary increase. Once in that position, we find they under-perform compared to their previous roles. These managers still want to focus on the technical side of their role, and disregard their human resource requirements. Managers like this will cause your talented employees to look elsewhere. Most people quit their boss, not the company. When considering the promotion of someone, companies need to stop prioritizing tenure ahead of talent. People should never deserve a promotion, they should earn it. Great companies will be able to identify which individuals will flourish within specific roles.

Each of us has experienced good and bad managers. Fortunately, we can learn from both. The bad managers exhibit indecisiveness, negative attitudes, and poor business habits. These failures provide us with invaluable experience. If you take a look back along your career, your best managers will be easy to identify. These are the people you still retain contact with, even after years of having worked together. You still bounce ideas, ask advice from, and network with them. They likely have become friends with you. The main difference between the good and bad, is that the good managers actually cared about you and the rest of their team. This is what separates managers from leaders. Leaders care about the individuals on their team, and understand what uniquely motivates each person. Leaders never ask their reports to do things they would not do themselves, or haven't done themselves. Leaders are interested in the personal development of their team members, and do not avoid the career development plans or mentoring responsibilities. Leaders want each member on their team to succeed within their current role, as well as their future roles. Leaders do not hold down superstars.

Take this moment to evaluate yourself as a leader, with one simple question. Would your team follow you anywhere you go, or will they cheer the day they quit working for you? Hopefully the answer is a positive one. If not, hope is not lost. This is something you can improve upon. Start today.