No Excuses and No Rationalizations:
How to Live a Life of No Regrets

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined."

– Henry David Thoreau

Amazing things happen when you start taking complete responsibility for your success and failure in life.

In the summer of 1989, between college semesters, I made a little over $20,000.

There were a few factors that aligned that summer to produce those results.

But more than anything, it was a decision to reinvent myself from head to toe that made the difference. And that started with eliminating the excuses and rationalizations that had been holding me back.

Let me explain …

I had gotten involved with a great organization that works with a couple of thousand college students every summer. It gave me a chance to learn sales and business skills, apply them in the real world by working my tail off for 12 weeks, and make some pretty good money.

Even though I did fairly well my first three summers, there was something holding me back. It was hard to admit, but I had a whole slew of justifications for not doing better. Nothing I ever verbalized, but internally I thought:

"I'm not a natural salesperson. This isn't my thing."
"I don't really need to make that much money. I'm getting by okay."
"My situation is different. My prospects just don't get it. If I worked where Frank does, I'd have his success, too."

Have you made these excuses in your writing career?

The fact is, I've had the same excuses and rationalizations in my copywriting career, plus more …

"This isn't happening the way they said it would. I'm not sure if I made the right decision."
"I know it's called the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, but I can get by with less than $100k easily."
"I bet those A-level copywriters don't have the demands on their schedule like I do. If I could focus on copywriting all the time, I'd be doing well, too."
"Sure, I'd love to have the writer's life, but how realistic is that? I mean, who gets to hang out at the beach all the time?"
"If I had gotten started when Bob Bly did, I'd be making good money, too. It's way too saturated now."
"It's hard to get started when you don't have any contacts in the business."
"Of course, Paul Hollingshead is good. He was personally mentored by Michael Masterson."
"When this economy turns around, it'll be easier to get clients."

And my overarching, grand excuse: "Maybe I'm just not cut out for this."

Can you relate to any of these?

Here's what turned it around …

A complete transformation

In the case of my college summer job, it was a heart-to-heart talk with my sales manager. He knew I could be a top producer if I just did everything the company told me to do. But there was one thing that had to change first.

"It's time to stop making excuses for your failures," he said.

I vowed from that moment forward that I was going to take full responsibility for my success or failure in everything I did.

No more excuses. No more rationalizations. And down the road … no regrets.

I no longer saw myself as the "underdog." And no matter what obstacles came my way, I didn't use them as an excuse not to succeed.

A few months later, I had money to burn (enough to graduate with no debt and take a three-month trip to Europe), sky-high confidence, and the start of a blossoming career.

It all started by getting rid of excuses and rationalizations.

Reinvented as … a copywriter

I wish I could tell you that my copywriting transformation was just as quick, but it wasn't. More like two years (and it's still in process, I assure you!).

I registered for Bootcamp in 2006, but then cancelled because I didn't feel "ready."

A year later, I came to Bootcamp, but I still didn't see myself as a copywriter.

What finally made the difference was seeing other people who were making it happen. Real, live people who had just as many obstacles as I had but had somehow decided to grab their share of the writer's life. People like Pam Foster, Sean McCool, Penny Thomas, and many more.

Once again, just like back in my colllege days, I determined to stop making excuses for not succeeding. And this time, I took it a step further.

I developed what I now call …

The "No Regrets" system

Are you tired of seeing other people become successful writers while you continue to struggle?

Has your initial enthusiasm for living the writer's life started to fade?

Do you feel "stuck" in your current situation and not sure how to move forward?

The steps that I used (both in college and recently to become a full-time copywriter) to leave my past life behind might help you, too:

  1. Acknowledge your excuses and rationalizations

    Identify what's been holding you back.

    Write down a list of self-limiting beliefs and rationalizations you've been making.

    This takes a real soul-searching session with yourself (perhaps a mini-sabbatical?).

    Once they're written down – burn 'em! Throw them in the fire along with your old life.

  2. Take responsibility

    Decide that you are no longer going to have any regrets. Instead, as Thoreau says, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined."

    Does it mean you'll never encounter setbacks? Of course not. Eliminating the excuses, however, means that you're always in a forward mode, not looking back with regret.

  3. Choose your pain

    Reinventing yourself is painful. Change and growth don't come about without it.

    You'll either experience the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.

    I've been in both places, and I'm sure you have, too.

    When my copywriting career is going swimmingly, it's usually because I'm doing something daily to get ahead, which can be tough.

    On the flipside, when I "slack off," I feel guilty.

    Choosing daily discipline always wins in the end.

  4. Do what successful people do

    After attending four Bootcamps so far, I've noticed that top people …

    • Prospect on a regular basis. In today's world, that could include social media, email marketing, guest blogging, writing articles, or sending out a self-promotional piece online or off.
    • Claim a niche. If you haven't done this yet, I'd highly recommend a program I just went through, Niche Yourself.
    • Work hard. Plain and simple, successful people pay their dues by working hard, especially in the beginning.
    • Write every day. If you don't have a current project you're working on, work on a Writing Challenge or write out (by hand) examples of great copy from your swipe file.

I'm not sure where I'd be right now if I hadn't made the life-changing decision 22 years ago (and again three years ago) to eliminate excuses and rub out rationalizations.

I probably wouldn't have reinvented myself into a copywriter, and I wouldn't be fulfilling my dream of traveling the world.

Ready to reinvent yourself?

Follow these four simple rules and you'll be off to a great start.

I hope you join me in the land of no excuses, no rationalizations, and no regrets.

Six-Figure Copywriting Program

The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting

Turn the ability to write a simple sales letter into a successful freelance career. Find out how you can make a six-figure income working from anywhere you want as a direct response copywriter. Learn More »

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Published: August 16, 2011

8 Responses to “No Excuses and No Rationalizations: How to Live a Life of No Regrets ”

  1. This is a wonderful way to get me to understand that copywriting is for me. I just started the program and have read all the articles sent to me and I am trying to get my niche in a couple of different fields. I can't wait to start writing and I have a few articles already that I write daily to myself. I would like to go to bootcamp but don't have the money to attend and was looking for a sponsor to help me through this. I know that I will be a great copywriter just like you. Thanks for listening.

    Guest (Carmen)

  2. The older you get, the harder it is to reinvent yourself, particularly since that accident that nearly broke my neck. When I was young the people around me were basically negative toward new ideas that didn't seem to make sense; so when I thought of something, I got shot down with tons of disconnected criticism. Broke and unable to relocate, I just shut up to cut out the nonsense and try to make do the best way I could -- which in the end, didn't get me anywhere.

    Guest (PAC-Stonington)

  3. Not sure about others...But I need a boost periodically to stay on the path to success.

    Excellent article. Good Vision. Many thanks to Mr. Roller.

    Marshall Frank Carmel

    Guest (Marshall Frank)

  4. Much of what you have written is true. But I am a firm believer in getting out of life what we put into it. I am 62 and just starting to live and changing horses in the middle of the stream.I am going to be a top writer.


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