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Everyone You Admire…At First, Sucked

Pedestals. It’s very easy to put people that we admire on pedestals. They are so successful and so polished that they make it look absolute effortless. You think to yourself, I will never be able to be like them.


Truth is, they started right where you are today.

Every master was at first a disaster, a saying that I’ve heard John Dumas of EOFire say quite often. When I find myself fearful or scared of failing, I think about this statement and realize that they probably felt this same exact fear and were able to battle through it. They leaned into the fear and took action even though they were scared. That is what really inspires me about the people that I admire. It’s not that they are successful and polished today, it’s the fact that they had the strength and courage to lean into their fears and Fail On. The people that you find “successful” are the people that were able to Fail On to suck a little bit less time after time.


Are you starting a blog, podcast, Youtube channel, business or some other creative venture for the first time? Learning anything for the first time can be intimidating and overwhelming. You most likely admire certain people in your respective industry that make everything look and seem so natural. You think that they were born with this ability.

In reality, they have leaned into the fear of the unknown, put in the work so the skill now looks effortless. It happens with learning anything.


The first time I put skis on in North Carolina, I fell in the ski lift line and looked like an idiot. As I finally wobbled my way to the chair, the lift knocked me over when I was trying to get on and ride. They had to stop the lift and slowly let me on after I got back up.

Once I rode the lift to the top of the mountain, I had to get off and ski down the little exit ramp. Yep, I crossed skis with my friend that was sitting beside me on the lift and took him out exiting the lift.

But, I went down the hill, decided to take a lesson for an hour to have some kind of direction and guidance and then it was pure repetition.

I started to fall less and got better and better to the point where I wasn’t falling at all anymore and could make my way around and actually enjoy skiing.

The point is, you are going to suck when you first start. Everyone does. Everyone. You have to embrace looking like an idiot and lean into the failure and fear of embarrassment. Once you can start taking action on things that make you feel uncomfortable you start building that muscle and it gets easier and easier time after time.


I’m sitting in an airport lounge in Nassau in the Bahamas and I was able to build this muscle a bit on vacation with my wife and a bunch of entrepreneur friends and their families.

The boutique resort we stayed at on the island of Eleuthera had an inflatable stand up paddle board for the guests to use. While the water was relatively calm most days since the resort was on the Caribbean side of the island, there were still small waves breaking, adding to the complexity of learning to stand on this inflatable raft.

paddle-board-1122355_640The first day was terrible. I wasn’t quite sure how to stand or stay up, but I was out there giving it a go and falling repeatedly.


Once I came in from testing, learning and experimenting on my own, I got some guidance. Ben Greenfield’s wife, Jessica, has an SUP at home and she was cruising around on this inflatable with no issues. So, I did what I always do. I found someone that is good at the skill and reached out for guidance or advice. This might seem trivial or unimportant, but it’s HUGELY important, as subtle as it may seem. Getting guidance from someone that is good at what you want to be good at is the fastest way to accelerate learning.

Once I got out on the water the next day, I at least had a better sense of how to stand, how to position my weight and I was able to actually stand up, stay up and start navigating. If I wouldn’t have asked for help, I would still be floundering and wondering the proper way to stand on the board.

I can’t overstate the importance of getting guidance and advice from those that are skilled at what you want to achieve. Whether it’s business or learning to SUP, this is a transferrable lesson that will always stand the test of time.

This is the natural progression of trying, failing and learning anything. This is the epitome of Fail On.


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