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Too successful, so they kicked her out

Ramit Sethi

Look at this horrifying story: “I got kicked out of my mom fitness group for losing too much weight.

Yep, it’s exactly what you think. This woman joined a “plus size and active/fitness moms” group with about 10 other members. She started to lose weight — first 50lbs, then 50 more pounds.

Guess what happened?

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They kicked her out of the group.

“So when I asked what was happening, one of the girls replied that they’d rather me no longer to come. That they felt I didn’t really belong to the group anymore and that I can clearly do it on my own. She added that most moms felt that I was demotivating because I lost a lot of weight and was now able to do more things at a faster rate and that they weren’t able to follow.”

Notice how you feel right now. If you’re like me, there’s this indescribable outrage — are you kidding me??

ramitfitnessgroupI wonder if the fitness group would accept me?

Well, sorry. I’m not going to indulge the internet’s nutty love of feeling outraged. Instead, we’re going to analyze what’s really going on here.

  • Surface level: “Ugh, people are so petty! They can’t stand when you actually achieve something. They’re like crabs in a bucket. Also, women hate each other.”
  • Dig deeper: “As you excel, you’ll inevitably change. It’s not that you’re better than anybody, or that you’re ‘leaving anybody behind’…your values have just changed.”
  • Keep digging: “If I just lose weight, I’ll be happy. Wait, what? I actually did it and I never realized I’d have a whole new set of problems. F THIS LIFE!!”

Everybody knows about the fear of failure.

What few people talk about is the fear of success.

What happens when you actually start to succeed at something? As you get more advanced, the strategies you need to win — and what you need to be happy — change.

This happened to me just a few years ago.

*  *  *

A few years ago, my life changed.

For first time, I realized I had a successful business — something bigger than I’d ever imagined. We’d launched Earn1K and generated something like $500,000 in a few days, blowing away my expectations. It seemed like a good time to step back and take stock of what I’d created.

Suddenly, I realized my business was bigger than I had ever thought it would be. I felt happy for about 2 days…until I realized I had no idea what to do next.

Do I just stop here? I was making more than I ever thought I would. Shouldn’t I just be happy?

Do I just do more of what works? (But how many times can you pitch one product?)

I know, I know. Boohoo, Ramit, your business grew more than you thought you would. Cry me a river.

But these are real issues — whether it’s business, or losing weight, or anything you decide to do (and do it well).

I realized I had no idea what to do next to grow my business.

It had all seemed so easy when I was just starting out. I would study the big guys, worry about getting my opt-in box right, and just focus on writing great stuff. But now, I had actually grown more than the people I used to study. Without some guide book, some target, I felt like an astronaut floating alone in space.

Plus, there was the guilt.

The few people who knew about my success said, “Man, you should be happy” at how big my business had grown. I guess I was, but I had no idea what was next.

So now I had no models to look towards — I’d outgrown the ones I’d been studying. I felt guilty for not just being satisfied, and I had the uncertainty of not knowing what the hell to do.

If you’ve gotten good at something, this is a pivotal moment. If you’ve lost 50lbs, your friends will say, “You should be happy! Stop losing weight! You’ll get too skinny!”

If you’re running a business, people around you will say exactly the same thing. “Why are you killing yourself? That’s more than enough. You should just take a vacation!”

Guys, my fucking goal in life is not to take a vacation. It’s to make an impact.

That’s why after a lot of thinking, I narrowed my choices down:

  1. Stay where I was, satisfied with the level I’d hit
  2. Make the decision to grow

I made the decision to keep growing. That single decision has been one of the best, most difficult decisions I’ve ever made.

And that decision lead to a whole slew of more difficult situations. Just like the mom whose weight-loss group kicked her out, it was time for me to stop and think about who I was surrounding myself with. It didn’t mean I was better or worse than my past mentors that I looked up to — it just meant values change (like going to the beach), and that’s OK.

I came to realize how important it was to surround myself with the right people. You’ve all heard that great Jim Rohn quote: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

This turns out to be really important.

For example, I went to a conference where literally everyone introduced themselves by talking about (1) how much money they made, and (2) how little they worked (“My business is ___ and it generates $XXX,XXX in about 2 days/week”)

VOMIT.

Those are not the kind of people I want to be around. (Kind of like how that mom probably doesn’t really want to be around moms who don’t support her hard work.)

Who are the people around you? Do they support you when you read self-development books, or do they think it’s “weird”? Are they ahead of you, and happy to teach you what they know? Or are they protective of their small piece of this world, because they don’t want to see you succeed?

The people around you matter because they can change the way you think about success.

When I surrounded myself with the best, I rewrote all these Invisible Scripts I’d held about business and success.

For example, I thought my ~$500K business was big. In the grand scheme, it was tiny! I learned to dream bigger.

With my fitness, I learned that what I used to think was a “hard” workout wasn’t…and I got to see what a real workout looked like. Awesome.

Even with style, I used to have certain thoughts like, “I better save that blazer for a special occasion.” Then I met a friend who dresses impeccably even when he grabs coffee on Sunday morning. BOOM — he showed me another level of what excellence really meant.

My takeaway:

A big success isn’t the ceiling. It’s the foundation for your next leap.

Whether it’s this woman losing 100lbs and changing her life, or me growing my business 10x, then even more…you can choose growth in your life. It’s not an accident. It’s not the world or your genetics (if you ever use genetics as your excuse, I’m going to kill you). It’s your choice.

 

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