I began writing goals back in 2002. After years of selling something that is legal in my state today (but not then) and paying the price for it, I spent 1994-2000 broke, mostly jobless, and completely useless. I even went though a short period of homelessness. In fact, if not for the kindness of a good woman, I would’ve probably been homeless a lot longer.
Most of the jobs I had were throwing drunks out of bars. The gigs were part-time and typically a buck or two over minimum wage. I usually didn’t stay very long.
At age 30 I threw a gorilla-sized monkey off my back that had been pushing me down for 15 years and moved in with my mother (bless her heart.)
I started with a minimum wage job at a print shop and then began building my own personal training biz. I wrote down my goals, reviewed them, visualized myself attaining them, believed I could and worked my ass off.
Within a year I was making six figures. The most I’d ever LEGALLY made in my life. A year after that, multiple six figures. A few years later I started putting out info products ( ebooks, Video courses, membership content programs) teaching other trainers how to market and grow their businesses. I learned a TON about marketing. And marketing is a GREAT skill to have.
I was soon bringing in a RIDICULOUS amount of money. I’d made a good income in my personal training biz, but info marketing trumped that.
I upgraded my lifestyle, moved into a McMansion, bought a fancy new sports car, a new Harley Davidson Cross Bones, all sorts of toys, had a fat savings, and felt I had “made it.”
And with the help of science (pharmaceuticals) I got ripped: at 6’6″ I was 265, shredded and strong. I even sported a Mohawk (Today I think the damn thing looked ridiculous for a 40-year old man. Not that it wouldn’t look great on someone else, though. See silly picture of me to the right.)
I bought into my own PR. I let my success go to my head. I got cocky.
I was empty inside. I no longer thanked my creator every day for what I had. I was no longer grateful. I was selfish, egotistical, and more miserable than I had ever been in my life. More miserable than during my period of homelessness and kicking my ass (with the help of that big ass monkey I mentioned) a decade earlier.
I’m fact, I was so empty inside I invited that monkey back into my life and onto my back once again (after having shook him off back in 2000.)
You see, I thought the money and material objects would fill a hole that today, for me at least, I believe can only be filled spiritually. But I ain’t here to preach about my spiritual beliefs. I hate when people preach to me, so don’t worry, I will say no more about that.
My (now) wife pulled me back to my feet a little over five years ago.
Climbing out of that seemingly bottomless pit led to a transformation. Funny how that works. Sometimes we gotta go through the darkest of nights to get to the brightest of days.
I took a long hard look at my life and realized that …
A) Money will not make me happy
B.) I’d be much more fulfilled and enjoy life so much more doing something I’d love than chasing money.
So I began writing full-time. Fortunately, for some reason, people are willing to pay me damn good money to write for them. I work on my own fiction in my off hours. Now I love the stuff I’m paid to write. A lot of it is GANGSTER. And I’m big into gangster.
But while the money IS great, it ain’t like it was back when I was living in the McMansion, selling my own info products.
I’m way happier today. Way more fulfilled. I enjoy what I do all day much more than I’ve enjoyed any other kind of work I’ve ever done. And I get paid to hone my craft. All. Day. Long. How cool is that? (Plus, the clients are work for are close friends and some of the coolest people you could ever meet.)
I would never have accomplished any of this stuff had I not set goals, believed I would achieve ’em, and then worked my ass off to hit ’em.
Today my goal is to earn enough money writing my own crime fiction that I don’t have to do anything else for money and never have to worry about money—that I make enough of my own fiction to be financially free and get to spend my days doing what I love: writing crime fiction. Because that IS what I want to do all day.
This goal is a bit more challenging than previous ones like “make six figures as a trainer” or “make millions as a info marketer.” I know a lot of damn good novelists who still work day jobs. I know a few others who bring in seven to multiple-seven figures per novel, and for the most part, they’re even better. But often times not by much.
What I have going for me is:
1. An obsession with hitting my goals
2. Fairly kickass marketing skills (it’s what i did for years)
3. The fact that I write 6 to 10 hours a day and get better every single day
4. My determination. When I set my sights on something, I am relentless. Dogged as a mofo.
5. Even though I’m an introvert I’m pretty damn good at making connections.
6. An awesome, supportive wife.
All that said, I am so grateful to get paid the money I do to write the kind of content I am for my clients. Their stuff is very similar to my own crime fiction, which is a giant blessing.
(By the way, any struggling writers who want to shoot me down for having financial goals tied to my writing or for believing that I can earn a damn good living as a novelist can go get fucked. Just cuz YOU ain’t made it yet doesn’t mean that I can’t. In fact, people telling me I can’t do something propels me forward. That shit’s like fuel to me. So bring it on.)
Moral of the story…
I never would have accomplished any of the cool stuff that I have had I not set goals in the first place. In fact, I’d probably still be making minimum wage.
So yeah, I guess you could say I’m big on goals and have benefited a ton from setting them.
Well, this is embarrassing. Not only have I not blogged in over two years, I also got FAT.
The pic on the left was taken late 2010. I’m 6’6″ and weighed 265lbs at the time. The pic on the right was taken three days ago. I’m 385lbs and need to do something about it…again.
My motivation this time is different than before, though. While back then it was 90% about how I looked, this time I need to do it for my health…so my wife and children can have me around.
Let’s face it, I’m 46, and I’m sure I have a bunch of crap built up in my arteries.
I used to NEVER worry about dying. Now I worry about it every day.
I’ve gone up and down to extreme ends of the spectrum three times in the last 20 or so years. I get ripped and then balloon up. Right now I’m a balloon. The biggest balloon I’ve ever been.
I eat WAY too many sugars/carbs, especially at night. The only exercise I’m getting right now is 45 minutes brisk walks with my dogs about five days a week.
Here’s the thing: I KNOW what to do. For years I owned a personal training business. I lifted obsessively, did cardio, ate like a bodybuilder, and read everything about fitness that I could find.
My struggle is embracing/living a healthy lifestyle. And I’ll be honest, in that pic in 2010, I did a lot of things to get into that kind of shape that were far from healthy. I also obsessed over everything I ate. I was way too OCD about it all, and believe that played a part in my inability to stay the course.
I want to do it healthy this time, and in moderation.
I have a lot of things going for me…
– Like I said, I know a lot of the “how.”
– Even though I haven’t lifted consistently in a while, I have a ton of muscle under my fat, and I’m damn strong
– For years I’ve been prescribed injectable testosterone and HCG. But not crazy amounts like a certain dude who looks like me was known to take in a past life.
– I have a badass home gym, tons Rogue equipment, power rack, all kinds of specialty bars, heavy DBs, boxes, bands, landmine, KBs, you name it.
– I have an amazing, supportive wife (Veronica) who will cook healthy meals on the reg. And for the most part, she already eats pretty well.
– Because of the years I spent in the fitness marketing “guru” arenas, I know HUNDREDS of trainers, bodybuilders, fitness gurus, CrossFitters, powerlifters, gym owners, etc. from all over the world.
– I have beautiful little children I love with my entire heart and know that if I don’t do something about my health, I’m not keeping their best interest at the forefront of my life and may end up robbing them of having me around until I’m a (big) little old man.
What I don’t have going for me…
– I write for a living, so every day I SIT on a couch or recliner writing and reading for approx 11 hours. NO EXCUSE.
– I have an insatiable hunger. Always have.
Again, that’s no excuse. So, I’m putting this post out to keep myself accountable to staying the course of a new, healthier path. And because if I don’t do something about it, now that I’ve posted this, I’ll feel like a major flake/jagoff /loser
So there you have it. This is where I’m at.
P.S. If you have any tips on what works best for not only losing fat, but also keeping it off FOREVER, please comment about it below. It seems to me less than five percent of the people who lose weight are able to keep it off for good. I’d love to hear why you think this is.
Also, words of encouragement are appreciated (and for some reason, I feel like a major wuss for saying that. It is, however, the truth.)
I rolled out of bed with panic running wild through my blood.
My to-do list stared me down like a crew of cranked-out, roided-up outlaw bikers about a half-second before they barrel down on me to flatten my skull for knocking over their choppers.
Deadlines for copywriting and ghostwriting clients loomed over me hard.
Emails anxiously laid in wait in my inbox, screaming to be opened, so urgent needs and pressing expectations could be attended to.
And I had to call both my tax lady and my attorney. God bless ‘em, but I’d rather eat shards of glass drenched in Ebola mucus than hop on the phone and discuss the issues at hand. Calls like that tend to send my blood pressure through the roof and throw my A.D.H.D. into overdrive.
RUN, my mind screamed at me. Race down the to-do list so you can get all this shit done before the sun goes down.
As I poured high-octane, black coffee down my gullet, I reminded myself…
1. Thank God I have clients willing to pay me good money to do what I love.
I make money writing marketing copy—how cool is that?
I’m also paid to ghostwrite crime stories about high-level gangsters. Stories that go out to hundreds of thousands and even millions of readers and entertain the heck out of ’em. I’ve wanted to write crime fiction since I first saw Death Wish when I was about five years old.
PLUS, I get to do it all from my home office, hanging out with dogs and an arsenal of southern rock jams.
And my two-year-old daughter Zoe is right downstairs and pops in from time to time to give me hugs and talk about princesses and fairies and show me pennies she found on the floor and ask me for a pen so she can draw on the walls.
This is a million times better than waking up and having to fight my way through traffic to that minimum wage job at the print shop, like I did 13 years ago. In fact…this is downright fucking awesome! It’s what I’ve always wanted.
2. Thank God I have emails flying my way.
My clients value my service, and communication is just part of business. Without communication, there would be no business. And hell, email beats chatting on the phone any day of the week—something my introverted nature rarely wants any part of.
3. Thank God I have taxes to pay.
That means I’m making money.
4. Hey, I can afford an attorney!
There was a time when I couldn’t, and that sure sucked.
5. And, remember Chris, you’re WAY more creative when you’re relaxed and not in a hurry to get 10,000 things done at once.
Your work is better and you typically get more accomplished when you just do your best, focus on one thing at time, and throw your fucking heart into it. So chill out, dude. One. Thing. At. A. Time.
6. Action Alleviates Anxiety
When you’re doing one thing at a time, moving forward, it eases the anxiety. Thinking about tasks is stressful. Doing them, one at time, in the zone, without worrying about the rest of the list, is both relaxing and rewarding.
Well, damn, doesn’t that shift in mindset—the gratitude, action, and present moment awareness—make all the difference in the world?
Hellyeah it does.
Looking at it this way feels sooo much better than freaking out just because my to-do list is the size of James Joyce’s Ulysses.
My to-do list is a reflection of all the awesome stuff I have going on in my life…
It’s a list of things I want to do. (Well, most of it I do.)
There was a time in my twenties when I didn’t have a to-do list. My entire days were spent hitting doctors’ offices and pharmacies so I could score opiods and benzos and keep the dark clouds of impending withdrawals at bay. I was miserable, broke, and defeated.
Today I’m sober and have a damn good life, living by the beach in Orange County, doing what I love.
Focus on that.
I have to admit, though, being relaxed is making me a little uncomfortable. Feels strange. Better dump some more coffee down my throat so I can ramp up the tension again. Tension has been running buddy for years and it just don’t feel right not having him around.
Maybe I’ll wait a few hours for the next cup. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll wait a few hours.
With Christmas barreling down on us like an out-of-control freight train manned by a couple of insane little elves hopped up on energy drinks, ephedrine, and PCP, I figured it would be a good time to do a post about making a difference in the world.
Now, I’m just going to throw this out there…
I’m selfish. Have been my whole life.
I remember in the 6th grade my football team won first place and we all went to Round Table Pizza to celebrate. Everyone on the team got two slices of pizza. However, I noticed that there was one slice left in the pan, so I gulped my two pieces down like a stray dog—not enjoying even one single bite—just so I could claim rights to that final piece and get three pieces of pizza instead of just two like the rest of my teammates.
Doesn’t matter what it is, I always seem to want more.
I also think about myself constantly—my goals, fears, image, what I gotta do today, what agitates me, what makes me happy, what I want to avoid and achieve. Me, me, me.
Now, it’s no secret that only thinking about oneself is a surefire path to misery. No matter how good you look, how much money you make, how big your house is, how much awesome stuff you do or own, or how much sex you have, without some kind of selfless contribution to the world, it just doesn’t seem to be enough.
There’s never enough.
Most of us play movies in our head all day where we’re trying to figure out how we can get a bigger pile of gold and a smaller pile of shit.
The pile of gold is what we want: money, recognition, admiration, sex, approval, success, food, comfort, etc.
And the pile of shit is what we don’t want: pain, embarrassment, fear, poverty, loneliness, drama, crisis, and lack of this, that, and the other thing. (OK, some people actually DO want the drama, but that’s a post for another day.)
Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way out of this continual mental loop. It’s by thinking about other people and doing something to help ’em from the raw goodness of our hearts.
Now, sure, you can make a contribution through your career, or through books or info-products you release, or through paid seminars or mastermind events you put on, and that can all be very fulfilling. But without some form of selfless giving—meaning doing something without compensation, recognition, or an angle—I don’t think life can be lived at 100%.
And sure, Continue reading
My favorite way to both start and end my day is by kickin’ back and enjoying a good book.
Here’s a list of my favorites—including personal development, business, fitness, and fiction. I’d love to hear what your favorites are in the comment section down below.
The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield
Turning Pro by Stephen Pressfield
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
The Charge by Brendon Burchard
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
Loving What Is by Byron KatieContinue reading
I had no place to run. I screamed, cried, and tried to hide under the table. The big nurse holding the syringe blocked the door, while my mom tried to apprehend my little seven-year old ass and subdue me long enough for the nurse to have her way with me.
The promise of getting a Mad Magazine after the visit wasn’t enough to coerce me into voluntarily surrendering to that godforsaken needle of fate. It took being overpowered and held down. Or at least that’s how I remember it.
However, the real hell didn’t begin until after the injection made it’s way out of my tiny, undeveloped medial deltoid muscle…
You see, at the front desk my mom scheduled another appointment. I had to come back in 30 days for a second stabbing.
As we walked out of the doctors office to go pick up my promised Mad Magazine, I thought about how I could run away. Possibly flee the country if I had to. Or maybe even do myself in. All to avoid the hell of another puncture wound being perpetrated on me by the evil medical professionals who seemed to be only interested in one thing—harming innocent and defenseless children like myself.Continue reading
My 5-month-old lab puppy Olive just taught me a powerful lesson about life….
When Olive was about 2 and 3 months old, we crate trained her—meaning, we put her in a little cage and every few hours would take her out to go potty and play some tug-of-war and fetch.
This helped her learn to control her bladder and not turn my carpet into something that looked like Jackson Pollock had painted with wide swaths of urine and dog turd.
At first, she would work like crazy to get out—feverishly trying to dig through the cage’s door with her paws as if she hadn’t been fed in three days and we were dangling a nice fat rib eye steak just outside theContinue reading
When you have a blog like this one—or are a coach, mentor, parent, boss, teacher, or even if you’re…well…anyone—it’s easy to become impressed with yourself and all the cool stuff you know.
Not only have you taken classes, attended lectures, read hundreds of books and thousands of articles, passed the exams, gotten the credentials, and have an entire case full of trophies (or at least a box full of em’ in the garage or somewhere at your mom’s house)…
…but you’ve also trudged a hard road. You’ve scrapped with the best of ’em, conquered demons, flattened opponents, walked through the fire, and have even stared death square in the eye more than a few times and lived to tell about it. You have the scars to prove it.
And let’s face it, you’ve Continue reading
This is probably the hardest blog post I’ve written.
It’s a fact of life that sometimes bad shit happens that reminds us of how downright awesome our lives are.
This is gonna get a little dark. But there’s beauty to be found here as well. And I promise, this post comes straight from my heart.
In 2002 I was working at a craft store called Tall Mouse, making minimum wage.
During my lunch hour I’d study for my personal training certification in the break room. While I buried my nose in my textbooks, my coworkers—mostly little old ladies—would eat their sack lunches and talk about their husbands, grandchildren, and what happened on American Idol last night.
The staff was made up of a bunch of cute-as-a-button grandmothers, teenagers who worked there after school, and dudes in their 30s and 40s whose dreams had died.
Christina Smith was 19, artistic, cute, and shy. She had an innocent little crush on me that she made known in the way bashful girls do.
However, I was more into bad girls at the time, and even though she was 19Continue reading
Money. We all want more of it. Hell, who doesn’t want it?
You can do so damn much cool stuff with it, ya know?
The problem is, most of us focus on the wrong things when we try to get it.
Goals are great, but making money the goal isn’t NEARLY as effective at actually getting money as doing this:
1. Figure out how much money you’d like to make
2. Figure out how many people’s lives you need to add value to and in what ways to reach that goal
I wanna share a five-word formula with you that can get you anything you want in life…or even something better than what you want.
I’m also gonna talk about something you’ll rarely ever hear discussed in the popular self-help circles—in fact, most of the gurus who teach the whole “attaining your goals”-type stuff aren’t even aware that this exists, and the ones who do treat it as taboo.
They’d rather just focus on the sugar-coating and stay away from the raw truth.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I like what many of the gurus have to say. But there’s a shadow side to goal-setting and going after dreams that hardly anyone ever talks about.
I guess the truth hurts books sales or something. I’m gonna address this shadow side down below and explain why the shadow actually holds the keys to our destiny.
I also gotta let you know, that I was hesitant to Continue reading
It’s a depressing march…tiptoeing along with the masses to the humdrum beat of mediocrity.
There’s a place inside that wants so much more. It’s that untouchable part of us that wants to soar.
Drowning it in busywork, worries, television, wine, or best intentions might be the popular choice, but what drowns dies…and before you know it, the days turn into nothing more than a mourning of what could be, should be, and ain’t-never-gonna-happen.
When you follow your heart, it may take you to places where you fall down and they laugh in your face. None of that will matter, though, because the beat of your own drum will be so loud you won’t even be able hear one word the critics, skeptics, or dogmatic followers of the status quo have in store for you.
If you’re doing what makes you happy, it doesn’t matter one bit what anybody else thinks, says, or does.
In my own life, I have a deep and overwhelming urge to write about the shit I’m going through, what I’m learning from it, and then to share it with others. It’s what makes me Continue reading
There are people who expect you to live by their rules. Often, it’s because they have no control of their own lives and find it more soothing to their sad little hearts to try to get others to live up to their expectations. And you happen to be one of those “others.”
There are people to whom you mean nothing more than what you can do for them. There are A LOT of these people. They see you as a pawn in their self-indulgent little chess game.
There are people who want to see you fail. Your setbacks make them feel a tiny bit better about their own life, even if just for a few seconds. In their eyes, your suffering is worth that little rush of superiority they get. I’ve encountered a lot of this in the business and marketing world, where oftentimes one’s success is measured by how much better he’s doing than everybody else.
Now I’m not just talking about your competitors, rivals, and enemies here.
Some of these people are probably close to you—amongst your coworkers, friends, and maybe even in your own family.
And then there’s you.
Now, if you’re like me, you’ve Continue reading
Many of them got their weed from me. I had a network of about 25 dealers who I sold to—quarter pounds, pounds, 5 pounds, and some in the 10-50 pounds range. It was a good little business for a 20-year-old with no skills or values.
One time my friend Scott came over to pick up a batch. He walks into my place, breathing fast and heavy and tells me that some crazy guy in another car was chasing him, yelling at him and trying to run him off the road.
He said he thinks he lost him, but there’s a chance the guy might’ve followed him into my complex.
I take Scott upstairs to chill on my couch. He can’t sit still—he clenches his fists and keeps rocking back and forth, repeating to himself “Fuck that guy”
Just thenContinue reading
Whatever it is that you want in life, I wanna let you know something…
I believe in you.
I absolutely 100% have no doubt that you can do this.
AS LONG AS you’re willing to do what it takes…especially if that means working your ass off, walking through your fears, and confronting your inner demons.
If you’re willing to do that, you got this.
If guys with no legs can break dance, high school dropouts can make hundreds of millions of dollars, and we can send men and women into outer space, then surely you can Continue reading
How to Create Content That Inspires, Changes Lives, and Keeps ‘Em Coming Back for More…
We live in an incredible time where anyone who has something important to say can share his or her message with the masses, build a following, help a ton of people, and make an impact on the world.
The problem is, very few people are successful at it. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be this way.
If you’ve been trying to build a following online who loves and shares your content, but it’s just not going as well as you’d like to, there’s a good reason for this.
The majority of the information out there on how to do this is completely misleading.
There’s seemingly no end to the number of “gurus” who will tell you that you just need to write regular blog posts, do guest posts and list posts, write catchy subject lines that are optimized for the search engines, build an email list using opt-in boxes and pop-ups, and share your content on Facebook and Twitter.
And while this is all great stuff, it’s simply not enough these days.
This post is different…
It is NOT about how to Continue reading
There’s a list things that crave your worry. Don’t give it to them.
There are things that beg for your control. Keep your control to yourself.
There are 10,000 days ahead of you—maybe more, maybe less—each with something for you to think about. Do not think much of these days and the things in them.
Break Free from the Prison of Trying to Live 10,000 Days in One
Keep your focus right here.
The stress, frustration, and doom on the horizon can only exist when you leave today and try to live in the Great Then and There.
Be tenacious in staying in this day and this day only. Those other days hold nothing for you right now. And who knows, you may never even get around to seeing ’em. You might die before you do. Don’t die without having lived today.
When you Continue reading
We’re going DEEP today…
If you want more success in life—whatever that may mean to you—but you just feel like the chips are stacked against you right now, then you’re definitely gonna wanna read this…
…Especially if you’re not one of “them”—the ones who seem to get everything right.
They make it all look so damn easy, don’t they?
It’s like somehow they’ve got it all figured out.
And more often than not, it seems like you don’t even have a clue. Well maybe you do, and if so, would you please let me know?—cuz I sure don’t.
They’re like super-humans or something. At least they appear to be.
They say just the right things at just the right times.
They solve problems with certainty, grace, and style.
They’re good at, like…well, fucking just about everything.
They’re in amazing shape, make great money, and hop out of bed each morning at 4:15am sharp with stunning hair, a winning smile, and that “can-do” swagger. By 4:20am they’re ready to take on the world with an undying confidence that shines through in everything they do.
You probably see theirContinue reading
Are there goals you wanna achieve but are having trouble staying motivated enough to do the things that need to be done to reach those goals?
Maybe it’s time for an entirely new approach…
Today I drove up to L.A.
For some strange reason, because of my blogs, I’ve been getting approached by different production companies about the possibility of doing a TV show. Each time I’m honored and humbled…and politely decline.
I’m just a writer, ya know?
So I talked the first two production companies out of it by saying that I don’t think TV is for me, and then referred them to someone I felt was a better fit for what they were looking to do.
But it was a different story with the 3rd company that contacted me…
Not so much because the company is responsible for many of the biggest shows on television, but more becauseContinue reading
Your own mind is out to get you. It’s constantly throwing sucker-punches at you, harassing you, and just downright fucking with you.
Comforting ain’t it?
Whatever you do don’t believe its stories of doom and gloom, its endless shenanigans trying to distract you from your path, and its constant doubts about just how awesome you truly are.
Don’t get caught up in the never-ending comparisons of how you’re better than this guy over here, but not as good as that dude over there.
Don’t listen to the self-criticism and incessant mental fuckery no matter how loud they’re screaming at ya.
But don’t tell yourself that you’re wise either, when there is still so much to learn. Life has a way of showing you just how little you know.
Don’t get suckered into the Continue reading