My Mom’s Worst Nightmares

At 16 I decided to start binge drinking.

Somehow, my logic at that time was: Get drunk = Get girls.

Unfortunately, it often worked.

Yet it also often yielded awkward, embarrassing, and stressful Saturday mornings when  my mom would find me passed out on the stairs or getting sick in the bathroom.

Things were not going according to her plan.

In fact, that was her worst nightmare, I’m sure…that I would end up drinking like my dad.

Fortunately, I reined that stupidity in over the years.

This allowed my mom to focus on her next nightmare for me, that I would end up working in a factory.

You see, when I was 23, and just finishing up a relatively useless degree in Kinesiology, a young man went to work on the factory floor of FAG Bearings, the unfortunately named company where my mother worked as a secretary for 27 years.

That young man’s background: A degree in Kinesiology.

This terrified my mother. She thought I would suffer the same fate…resigned to making $12 an hour and always wondering if I was going to get laid off during down years.

She was almost certain that I had wasted four years and tens of thousands of dollars getting a degree that would lead me back to the factory (where I had spent each summer earning the money that I’d then ‘waste’ on my degree).

But that was her nightmare, and her nightmare only.

I knew everything was going to workout just fine.


Because I knew. I just knew.

I never, ever, not for a single second, EVER-EVER had any doubts about my future. There were ZERO self-limiting beliefs in my mind.

When I started McMaster University (we don’t call it “college”
in Canada), I had full intentions of becoming a Strength and Conditioning Coach in the NHL. (I know, weird huh?)

When I was 24, I sent a letter and a resume to every team in the league, and they all sent me a rejection letter back.

I still have those letters.

Every single one of them, including the nicest rejection letter ever written. It was from Ken Dryden, then the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It’s pretty cool…since my mom is moving out of the farmhouse where she’s lived for over 40 years, she’s been going through the closets and getting ready to trash stuff.

And she found those rejection letters.

I think I’m going to keep them.

Around the same time I was getting ‘rejected’, I discovered my calling.

It all started when I stumbled upon a website while using the computers in the Health Sciences Library at McMaster.

The website was called, and it simply posted fitness articles. I thought, “I can do that“, and started writing in ’99.

Eventually I sold my first manuals via Paypal in 2001 to guys who had found me on the website forum.

And the rest is history.

But again, through this entire journey, no matter how many rejection ‘letters’ I’d get or tough days I had to endure, there was never doubt that I would succeed.

That said, there’s nothing exceptional about me.

I’m average height, average intelligence, average physical ability, and far-BELOW-average in decision-making (seriously, I’ve made some extremely stupid decisions in my life).

I suppose, if anything, I’m exceptional in my ability to persevere. To take a licking and keep on ticking.

But that’s it. Nothing else.

You are likely smarter and better looking than I am, or at least you can make better decisions.

The question is, will you have the same “never quit attitude”?

Because that is what REALLY sets the success stories apart from the folks who struggle.

The BIG LESSON is this:

The only thing exceptional about successful people is their ability to do the work. To be a ‘workhorse’, as my friend Bedros Keuilian describes himself.

Few Internet success stories occur because the person is a super-genius. None of my good friends who make great money online are rocket surgeons.

My business partner at ETR, Matt Smith, is a college dropout.

Most people who make good money with a website business are just average guys and gals who commit to doing the work, consistently, and who believe in themselves.

Listen, when you get started, there are always going to be what Seth Godin calls, “The Dips”.

That’s where you struggle, and that’s were some people do – and should – give up.

Yes, that’s right. Sometimes people should give up, because what they are offering isn’t right, or its not their passion.

But with a good idea and passion, you’ll get through that dip.

As long as you believe in yourself.

Never let self-limiting beliefs get in the way of success,

Craig Ballantyne

Wisdom from Matt Smith’s 4-year old daughter:

“Everyone’s stronger than they think they are.”

Don’t forget that this week, no matter what happens. You’re stronger than you think. You can persevere.