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.