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I was working with a client and asked how she wants her business to feel.

She said, “I want it to feel…easy. I look at what you’ve created, and it’s like you’re part of this online group of friends, and if you put it out there that you need help promoting your new offering, people just step in to help. Or you decide that you want to work on a book proposal or that you’re going to start a training program or a new whatever, and then you just do that, and it works.”

I had to take a brief moment then to share with her that while it might appear this way, this is only about half true.

What people see, on the outside, are the successes, the collaborations, the friendships, the joint ventures, the invites to be a guest on the podcast.

What people don’t see is that like everyone else, I’m told “no.” I pitch something out, and someone never responds to the email. I try to connect with someone who I think I’d be great friends with, and they let me know through silence that they’re, well, just not that into me.

I’ve created programs and offerings that are wildly successful (like this and this). I also create programs that, while I felt they had a ton of value, never really picked up traction.

“You should tell everyone that,” she said. “I think most of us doing the online business thing think that whatever someone else is up to, they’re just rocking out at it. That they always get told ‘yes’ and that everything flows easily.”

So after getting her permission to write about this dialogue, I’m sharing just that–I get told ‘no,
I experience rejection, I produce flops that go nowhere, I have periods of lackluster sales, and I experience all kinds of things in business that are difficult, despite the successes.

And–despite the flops of business that I encounter, I do feel that I’m rocking out at it. Here’s the secret to rocking out your life (air quotes around “secret” of course) and business:

You do your thing, and that’s that.

Don’t make doing your thing about whether or not someone else will say “yes.” Do your thing, whether they say yes, or not. Make the request because it’s important to you and your personal evolution, not because they are your gatekeeper.

Don’t extend yourself in friendship only when you’re guaranteed to have a spark with someone. Do your thing, extending yourself, because it’s what you want to do, and how you want to live.

Don’t decide to put your program or offering out there only when you have some kind of “evidence” that it’ll be a hit. Put yourself out there because you do your thing, and your thing in that moment is putting yourself out there. Create the offering because you can’t NOT create the offering.

There is no exact recipe for success, but I know that I’ll always feel successful in my life if I create everything because I genuinely wanted to create it–because, frankly, I couldn’t stop thinking about creating it. In an interview, I once described the feeling I have when I’m creating a new course or digital program as being very much like pulling together a surprise gift for someone.

The fun is in the surprising and the scheming and the plotting. There’s zero fun in the space of “Will they like me/it?”

Plenty of people with huge platforms and all the connections in the world still get passed over, or hear “no” or just have their emails ignored. Plenty of people who are the most charming, interesting, engaging people reach out to connect with someone, and it just doesn’t quite gel.

A successful life is not lived by whether or not you get the external “yes,” and everyone approves.

The successful life is all about whether or not you do things because you genuinely want to.