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2017: Be The Exception
Last Updated January 5th, 2015

When I was a kid, my mom was on welfare. And my dad was in jail. And I was surrounded by other drug addicts in my family who would steal money from my mom.

Things were bad.

One time I came home from school, walked up the stairs to my bedroom, and my drug addicted uncle was drunk and passed out in MY bed.

What’s sad was, it wasn’t one time. It was several times a week. It was so common that I’d sit on the floor and play Super Nintendo while he snored away his drug-alcohol-induced coma.

And later, when I went to sleep, I’d smell the unsavory smell of alcohol on my pillowcase.

Welcome to my childhood.

But I got lucky.


Because I had TWO STRONG WOMEN in my life.

And these strong women showed me an important lesson: no matter how bleak your life looks, you always have the opportunity to turn things around and be the exception.

Here’s what happened…

My grandma wanted more for my mom, and convinced her to go back to school.

And she did.

She worked full time, raised two kids full time, and went to nursing school full time. And by the time I graduated high school, she pulled us from the brink of poverty into a middle class life. I got computers, Jnco jeans, and most important: a clean bed.

My mom was a high school drop out. My mom married the wrong man and divorced him. My mom was surrounded by people pulling her down, and yet, she became the exception…

…And you can be the exception too.

That’s why, when I hear stats like:

* 9 out of 10 people fail their New Years Resolutions 1

* 17 out of 18 women make less than $100,000 per year 2

* 7 out of 10 adults age 20+ are overweight or obese 3

* 7 out of 10 long distance relationships fail when changes aren’t planned for 4

* About 9.6 out of 10 households pull in less than $85,000 per year 5

I get passionate.

Like you, I know what they say about stats. They’re not always right. But let’s table the validity of these numbers for a second…

What do you notice?

I’ll tell you what I see:

I see that things appear bleak for most people, but there are some people who DEFY the odds and become the exception.

You could be the 9 out of 10 people who fail their resolution…

…or you can be the one that CRUSHES IT.

You could be the woman who makes less than her male counterpart…

…or you can be the woman who forges the path for all women.

You can be the exception and 2017 is the year to do it.

Be the exception.

It will not be easy. And it will take a huge commitment from yourself to yourself.

But look at it like this: ever since I started Social Triggers, I’ve reached about 5 million people around the world. Out of 7 billion people, that’s basically 0%. It appears you’re already the exception to the rule in at least one way ;-).

You see, the last few months have been a huge learning experience for me, from both a personal and business perspective.

Maybe it’s because I turned 30. Maybe it’s because I was diagnosed with a heart condition (and luckily had it cured). Maybe there’s something else going on. I don’t know.

But things are real clear for me right now – and that’s great news for you… because I have a new mission here at Social Triggers.

And my mission is to help you be the exception. In all parts of your life.

You see, I’ve always struggled with the reason why I do what I do at Social Triggers.

Do I like the notoriety? Do I like the monetary success? Do I like helping people?

Of course. I LOVE IT.

I’ve been very fortunate. Yes, I came from an abusive childhood. Yes, I saw my mom turn it around by the time I turned 18. But this left a hunger deep inside of me that needs to be fed.

And I realized the only way I can feed it is by helping people be the exception.

That’s why:

* I want to help you make six figures (or yes, even seven figures) with your business.

* I want to help you become confident in everything you do.

* I want you to live off your passion and wake up everyday with a smile on your face.

In 2017, I want you to be the exception, and my goal is to help you do it.

So pay close attention to emails from me over the next few weeks. I’ve got a lot of stuff coming your way, and you’ll hear more about it soon.

Now here’s what I want from you:

What part of your life would you like to “be the exception?”

Leave a comment now.

Share your story.

And if you know anyone else who needs this burst of inspiration, make sure you pass this on.

And if you’re new here, sign up for the mailing list. You’ll get tons of great stuff just like this.

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259 comments Leave a comment

Currently working on building my post-corporate business while living the 2 young young kids life. Building my own business… a few months ago I would have said I don’t know what to do next. My previous idea bombed. This one has started out extremely well and until I hit a rough patch I’m just going to keep pushing forward with it. I guess my answer would be, I don’t know what I’m going to run into yet! Not the scariest thing, though. It would be scarier to be back where I was a year ago with no clients and no idea if it would pan out.


I was living the dream until about a year ago. My husband got fired and then he fell sick and has been unable to do anything since but lie on the bathroom floor in pain and nausea. I work two jobs now and barely get to see my 3 children, who are basically raising themselves. I don’t make enough money to make ends meet, and all my family lives in another state. I am almost 50 years old, and I have no money saved nor do I have assets anymore. We sold our wedding bands to make ends meet. Still, I feel blessed for what I do have. Everyone in my home loves me deeply, and I love them. I am not homeless yet. I get great satisfaction from my second job, and my first job is not bad. I am healthy, strong, and have an indomitable spirit. I believe things will get better and I am teaching myself new skills in preparation for the better days to come. I will take as many hits as I have to but I will never stop moving forward, I will never give in to despair. I hope these words reach someone and inspire him. Namaste.


Inspiring story. I have a similar one. But not as drastic. My mum is the exception to the family, the one everyone turns to. I wish I could be half as accomplished.
Still working to get healthy and free through my online biz. Failing thus far


I also want to be the exception dearly. My situation is real bad at the moment. I am 56 and currently broke and unemployed. In my country, if you’re male, over 40 and the wrong skin colour, your chances to get employment are slim to none. I am divorced and had a business which went under recently and I lost everything including the place where I lived. Now I’m living under the roof of an old colleague of mine as my family turned a blind side on me and my friends disappeared. Now my time is coming to an end where I stay now as this guy wants his space so he asks me often when I’m gonna move on. Problem is I don’t have any money or income to get my own place, even if I would love to move out. I want to but simply can’t. I don’t get any answers on my CV’s sent out and even if I ask people I know to see if they can get me in somewhere, they just say there is nothing now. Now I’ve decided to try the internet to see if I can build an income but that too costs money. If you don’t have money, nobody will give you the time of day. I’m not asking for help, I’m merely venting.


I have always been fascinated by the choices we make. Why does one person choose to remain in that low level of consciousness and another choose to believe that they can. Is it because our Why’s are big enough to keep us going? Is it your awareness to know that this journey is not only about finding yourself but also about how you can influence everyone around you? My biggest struggle is to overcome my own belief system. I’ve been running my own business since 2011 but if I had to measure the success of it in money then it’s not a successful business. If I had to measure it in the positive effect I’ve had on woman’s life’s then I think it’s been successful. Now I just have to balance it and really it starts with me. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge – very happy I stumbled upon you ๐Ÿ™‚


Your mom is the real entrepreneur!

She disrupted your life for forever!


hi Derek, great story and bounce back to life. i need help with customer acquisition for a physical product and i live in NJ/NYC area. We can meet/talk, if you can help.

Dr. Murray

Well, I did not have the horrible background like you Derek, but none of my sisters or brothers became a doctor like myself. The Doctor of Education is my NICKNAME. My family was definitely dysfunctional in many ways, I had nine sisters and brothers. My mother was a narcissistic, always focusing on herself, never expressed love to her children but I had a loving, kind, and compassionate father, who told me I was special, and his words have made me strong throughout my life. I was able to raise 3 boys alone in a country that looks down on African American men, They are 17, 24, and 34. They are wise and very successful, my youngest Mater Dei graduate, He has over 25 offers to all D1 colleges for a full scholarship in football, He has a 3.8 GPA. Baylor Graduate who major in Bio_ Chemistry, going to medical to be a research medical doctor, and my oldest son live in Japan and plays professional football teaches at a major university. They all went to private schools. I need encouragement with finishing my call and purpose, I ended up with 3 Masters and a Doctorate, but i don’t have the salary to match my educational success, so I just completed my 4 series course on how to train teachers online to teach primarily INTERNATIONAL students. No one has bought my courses yet, but I will keep believing that one day they will SELL!


Hi Derek
What an exceptional human being. I am meant to be retired but foundI have to start again. I paid off my first home at 21. Trained as a nurse and became a Director of Nursing . Went back to University at 40 and became a Psychologist. Owned several homes and a good lifestyle. My husband died and I continued to Cowell for ten years. I remarried a man who I later found was a con artist. I became sick and lost everything . I am now renting working a few hours each week and on a pension. While I have a few good years left I would love to be able to build up my wealth again . I have being following you for a while and attempted to do build an online business yet seems to be a block. It is hard to work on your own and costly to pay for mentors.


Thank you for sharing your story, Derek! You look a lot like your mom.
I am working on my fitness (am really overweight), also I am working on my income because I am on benefits, a single mom and hating being poor.
I’ve learned tons from you and really appreciate how genuine you are. Thank you.


Thanks for the lovely and honest story, Derek. Here’s to the strong women in your life and to you!

Toni Nelson

I love hearing about women who make better lives for themselves and their children. When I started my first business it was before YouTube and Google existed. As a woman I was told I couldn’t start and run a business. The only two people who believed in me where my husband and my daughter who was 11. I defied all the naysayers and the same people who told me I couldn’t do it were coming to me 6 months later asking how I could help them start a business. When I wrote my first book: Sexy, Savvy and Successful: A Woman’s Guide On How To Start A Business, Gain Financial Freedom and Buy More Shoes! women were starting businesses at the rate of about 587 a day. Today that number is up to 1200 women a day starting their businesses. My goal is to help even more women start, grow and succeed in their business. Since recently finding your Zippy Courses I can now do that with my online business courses and marketing membership. My greatest accomplishment has been helping my own daughter start and grow her business.


First off Derek, I have to start by saying that I am blown away by your story but more by how far you and your Mom have come despite all the road blocks that were in your way and that as you mentioned would have easily derailed the majority of people.

My story is not as dramatic as yours but there was a childhood growing up in the Hood in South Jersey with a Drunk Father and a basically Victim-y/Loser Mother. I hated my childhood and vowed that once I left I would never look back. I grew up in an Environment where Men are assholes to Women (I grew up in A Sexist Hispanic household and Culture) (When you see Ricky Ricardo spanking his wife Lucy on I Love Lucy, I can tell you that that actually happens and was not written as just a funny bit for the show). I remember thinking that I would NEVER allow any MAN to humiliate me like that by spanking me or hitting me or whatever. I also vowed to NEVER touch alcohol because of my Father and can proudly say that I don’t drink and don’t allow it in my house EVER and I have been happily married to my love for over 20 years now and he is NOTHING like the men that I grew up around. He is a Gringo who treats me like his friend and equal and love. So I am the Exception in those 2 things….. But I still need to work on the other thing…MONEY or lack there of…. Unlike the lazy people that I saw that got pregnant on purpose so that they can get a bigger Welfare check I want to create freedom for myself and my hubby in a way that is helpful to as many people as possible. I want to make a difference in people’s lives and help them to be able to pay if forward and in turn help other people’s lives until we are like a BIG TEAM just helping each other be successful and prospering and living life with freedom, peace and joy.

Shun Jackson

As a single mom, I don’t want to become a statistic and I don’t want my children to become a statistic. In the U.S., 45% of children in single mother households live in poverty. The median income for single mother households is $26K.

On the children of single mother homes:
-63% of youth suicides
-90% of runaways
-71% of all high school dropouts
-Twice as likely to drop out of school

While I don’t have the data to support, I know from experience and from interacting with other single moms, single moms with poor support systems struggle to keep themselves healthy. They tend to have huge amounts of stress and don’t get much sleep. They often feel that their day never ends and even when they do fall out in exhaustion, they leave a lot undone. A lot can fall through the cracks, even their children.

I don’t want this to be my life and even though I experience exhaustion, endless days, stress, I am going to continue to do what I can to put myself and my kids in a better situation. Over the past 14 years, I’ve more than doubled my income, have obtain multiple university degrees and am well on my way to quitting and working from home. I’ve been trucking it at a very slow pace….but now, I feel I see the light at the end of the tunnel. My prayer is to continue the momentum and not allow myself to give up.


It’s passed midnight while im reading this. Just came home from a 16 hour shift. I need to be the exception in my own life realized. . My kids need me to be that..


I do not want to be the exception… because I already am! If there are two things that I have learned from studying things like the law of attraction or reading your stories (which have been immensely helpful) , its that 1. When you believe it to be true, the results will follow… no matter what. Just believe in yourself and the universe will answer. and 2. Always wear red Dorothy shoes.

This year will be huge for me. I just purchased my first website after months of developing my marketing plan where I plan to share my gift of recording knowledge with the world. When you have a gift it is your job to give it back into the world!


Hi Susanne,

Thank you for the encouragement! I donโ€™t have a blog but I am launching a website that sells unique wedding rings for men and it will contain a blog about that niche. It will launch in April! Im really excited about it and am putting my whole heart into it. I can taste the success and Iโ€™m very fired up ๐Ÿ™‚
Many blessings to you and your daughter!


Im a single mom. I share my life with a very intelligent, curious and passionate son who is 8 and a fiery, stubborn, genius of a daughter who is 3, going on 16. I am happy and I am tired. I want so desperately to be THE EXCEPTION! I have been reading and reading and digesting articles and information since my son was born, on how to become a successful entrepreneur online. I feel like I am so close. I can taste it. Like your mom, I am on with welfare but I am beyond ready to leave that life and set my family free! I dream of traveling and taking my son to see all the places he dreams of visiting.. I want freedom.. I WILL BE THE Exception this year. This is MY year!!!!


    Hello Kayia, You are awesome Mum and never give up on your dreams, you can do this! I can relate cause I was in your situation when I gave birth to my daughter in 2013 and she was the very reason why I decided to be successful no matter what and it has paid off. Do You have a blog Kayia? ๐Ÿ™‚


I want to be the exception of the 53 year old woman who started and succeds an online business in helping people-professionals cure their belly problems. Thank Derek for all you share with us.

Miss H

Looking forward to walking in my call in 2015 which is to help, encourage, motivate or inspire people especially our young people GenX, GenY aka Millennials etc. to find out why they’re here on this planet and to do their passion. Life is too short to walk around humdrum :-0)

Jerome Stone

Hey Derek –

First of all, thank you SO MUCH for your storytelling; you rock it! Everyone’s got a story to tell, but not everyone has learned how to tell it. Obviously, you’ve got this one by the….words!

So, I want to be the exception…in my profession of nursing. Too many, so many, yikes – THOUSANDS of nurses show up at the bedside, give their heart and soul, get the crap knocked out of them by heavy patient loads, low pay, and thankless work!

I want to inspire and empower nurses to be more of who they are, less stressed…wait, did I emphasize that enough?, LESS STRESSED, and to be able to continue in their profession, rather than burning out or – even worse – staying in their career but pissing and moaning about it to everyone, even their patients!!

I want to help nurses to access their wellspring of compassion and mindfulness, and to do so in a way that is accessible and down to earth.

And……I want to get paid a helluvalot more than I made killing myself at the bedside and ruining my back and neck in the process!!

Okay, nuff said.

Thanks for all that you do to empower people by helping them to express their innate talents and gifts. You’re a living example of teachin’ what your preachin’.

Take care,

Jerome Stone
Author – Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind

Kevin Puls

The article above is an inspiration to us all.

Thank you for wearing your heart on your sleeve and baring your soul about your childhood & growing up in that environment; I know that it could NOT have been easy.

BTW,… is you Mom still a nurse?

Karen Agufana

I love your story and this year I want to make a difference in my life.

My year started on a good note, I have a new job that I really enjoy. The only big issue is that it does not pay much ,I love the learning experience though. I really want this year to be a great year for me. First ,I want to revive my cleaning business which was mainly advertised online, I would like to learn new ways and great ways to interact with customers and increase their numbers.

I am greatful for the insight i get on Social Triggers.

AL Spaulding

Your story was quite moving Derek. Growing up in The Bronx and then at 16 moving to Miami, Fl I made quite a few choices that I ultimately had to pay the piper for.

I have learned that it’s not always the situations that come about that define us, it is how We react to those situations that will ultimately determine our outcome.

I have not let my early mistakes as a youth determine who I would become as a Man. Not for a ling time now. I chose instead to use that as fuel to become a better Man, a Real Entreprener, & a Business Owner.

Thanks for posting this piece about your Mom and how she chose to be the exception to the rule, to the statistics.

It was well received and appreciated.




Thank you Derek. From where I am sitting, that is exactly what life is all about. All of us reaching out to one and other to help wherever we can and improve each others situation. Amen. You rock, keep it going and let us know how we can help.

Amy Birks

Derek, so excited for you and this new direction for Social Triggers. You’ve always added tremendous value, but this energy behind your business can only mean bigger and better things going forward. (Who knew “bigger and better” was even possible at Social Triggers; it’s already so good!?)

Your passion and commitment to helping others Be the Exception is outstanding. Reading what you wrote about “…being the woman who forges the path for all women” quite literally gave me chills. I’m inspired in a new way by your new mission and can’t wait to see what 2015 brings over here.

PS… I gave you lots of feedback in your survey and look forward to what’s to come based on what your audience shares. Cheers to Social Triggers!


What an inspirational story. Thank you for being vulnerable, and sharing! Thank you for the reminder, to be the exception!


Derek, thank you for sharing this part of your journey with us..your mom and grandma are women of valor!
I look forward to your emails, they are truly encouraging and motivating.

This year would be exceptional by my actions – increase my clientele of my coaching practice which would translate to presence, by being more consistent with solid content and marketing.


I have a similar story Derek. Brought up by Alcoholic father and and awesome mother who did fight for us. I am blessed to be able to travel the world with my baby and help other mums blog about their passion and earn an income online at the same time and this year 2015 is going to be HUGE! Awesome post from an Awesome Guy ๐Ÿ™‚


Hi Derek,

I check your email from time to time. But this article is touching that I decided to write back to you. I am a housewife taking care of 2 years and half son. I have just started an online shop for about a month. I don’t have much experience on business as my degree is in Computer Science. I am trying against all odds to become exception.

Thank you for sharing your childhood story.



Rebecca Edwards

I want to be the exception in my family and break out of poverty. I want to show my kids that if they work at it they can achieve their goals and dreams. I am 30 years old, wife to a disabled vet, homeschool teacher to 3 of my 4 kids (4th one is only 2). I hate being one disaster or bill away from losing it all. I am willing to work hard, i just need to stop self doubting. I am selling Candles as an independant rep and someday plan to figure out my way of helping others. right now i enjoy every way of helping. ๐Ÿ˜€

Zenee Miller

Great post Derek! thanks!


I will be the exception and become a self employed, filmmaker, making at least 4k a month. And get out of my 9 to 5 sales job.

This is quite hard as most film school grads here in NZ will hardly make money by themselves, let alone find employment in the industry, so they keep their part time job as security.

I want to create the opportunities and employ them to do what they do best.

Helle Buttrup

Thanks Derek

I am in the middle of a lot of turmoil in my personal life – everything is up in the air. And i am running my business in the middle of chaos. But i feel confident i call pull it through. It is so true that people need community and you provide that, besides your awesome advice. Thanks

Cathy Sirvatka

Well this is the first post of yours that made me cry. I think your personal story softened me up and then when I read “17 out of 18 women make less than $100,000” the tears welled up. I am so tired from working so hard in my web design business and making barely enough to pay my bills. I’m 52 and getting divorced, and I’m mad that at this point in my life I feel like I’m starting all over.

You are an inspiration to me and I hope I can pull myself up to “be the exception.” Thank you.


Hi, Derek,
Thanks for this post, it is very inspiring. I would like to be the exception in my family in becoming self-employed through my ideas (blogging and information products). Nobody in my family that I know of is self-employed. I want to be the exception in breaking a pattern of poverty and a poverty mindset that seems to go back several generations on both my husband’s and my side. I want to prove I can be a good mom and have online success at the same time. To prove that being self-motivated and confident in doing something you love to serve others, thinking outside the box, will lead to prosperity. I want to inspire my family to pursue work they love and to see wealth in a whole new light. I want to be the exception in that I will be able to do something for helpless people because I will be a person of means and resources.

david cykoski

Derek, Great article. I have been trying to find my niche with online marketing. I sell on eBay and have an eBay store. Also putting the finishing touches on a separate site specializing in Binoculars, Rifle Scopes, Range Finders and Spotting scopes as I am an avid outdoors man and am knowledgeable about these items. I am also studying for my Cruise Agent license. My concern is that I have several irons in the fire and can not focus on what is most important. I have coaches but they have not been very helpful. Suggestions? The Bourbonman


Wow. I have new found respect for you Derek. And your mum reminds me of mine. She is the exception in the family too. To this day she is the go to person whenever the others have financial problems…
Having such a role model, I should be much further in life.
This year I’d like to be the exception. I want to create something to help people be more creative, productive and entrepreneurial. I want to be able to afford to visit mum and family more often. I want to go back to being super fit and healthy. I want to turn my writing and songwriting passion into businesses.
Tall order…
I need an accountability partner…

Peter Marsella

Hi Derek
Love the posts and I gotta say i have always been the exception, at 17 I was a punk in London going against the grain and doing what I wanted to do and that attitude has always been with me. I have my own business’s one an online retail one supplying the carpet cleaning industry and the other a carpet cleaning franchise both of which are doing well. That’s great and pays the bills and provides me with a low stress 20 hours of work a week, but…my real passion is trading the share markets and more specifically helping others learn how to do it safely. That’s why 2015 is going to be the year I really make an exception and get my blog and site really happening. Really appreciate all your info and keep them posts and emails coming. Love it! Cheers from Australia!


What a cutie patooty you were, Derek!
My hope for this year is to become more organized. Had to re-invent myself lately, and things are all jumbled from the brain on out, clear to the closets, and yard, and beyond.
Also, I want to be among the very few who return to the great old days when women had help at home. Yep.
Want to free me up to do the rest in peace of mind. Hate messy. ๐Ÿ˜‰


I want to be the exception by creating a profitable business in Croatia, a country I was born and raised in, but where at the moment more and more people face unemployment and most highschool and college students plan to emigrate from.

I want to stay. I want to create quality jobs for local women. I want to be sucessful here, by doing oposite than almost everybody.


Derek, a great post. Here’s to you and the women in your life who made themselves the exception, in turn leading you to be too.
To an exceptional year.


I love to hear peoples’ stories about how they made it! Congratulations for staying true to what you believe in.

I’d like to be an exception by proving to myself, my kids and others that I can make a living (and thrive) from doing what I love. My passion lies in my leatherwork and Viking re-enactment. I created my own business based on this passion and am now entering my third year. It’s been a bit of a struggle but towards the end of last year I decided to get some help in the form of a Business Coach and I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. For me it’s about creating a balanced life and following what makes me happy. I believe that, then, everything else will fall into place. I’m looking forward to a great year and being the exception! ๐Ÿ™‚

Wishing you, and all those who are wanting to be an exception, all the very best for success and happiness! ๐Ÿ™‚


I want to be exceptional in areas of finance, love, and charity


I would like to run a successful blog from anywhere in the world with my daughter!


What an inspiring story! Thank you. I want to be exceptional in earnings and have a six figure year in 2015. Hope you’re feeling better Derek!


Derek, wow!!!!! What an awesome article! Kudos to you for your enthusiasm and passion! Kudos to your mom for what she did. And kudos to you for what you are doing and building! What an amazing story. Incredibly inspiring and uplifting. Keep up the AWESOME work!


I’d like to be the exception in an industry – songwriting – that’s imploding fast.

I’d like to he one to make money and create beautiful stuff anyway. But I wouldn’t mind if all of us working so hard would be fortunate, rewarded for our time and talent as ever.


Hey Derek,
GREAT post, as usual! Mine is:
CONSISTENTLY turning the volume down on my inner critic. What a pain in the ass she is. :0) Sometimes when that doesn’t work, I send her to bingo.


Derek, thanks for opening up and giving hope to those of us who sometimes feel like we are at the end of our rope.


This year I’m being let go from my job, more than likely by the end of this month. Ironically it happened the exact same way last year, same day same reason. I feel this is happening for a very good reason and that is because I need to just kick ass this year.

This year I will be the exception and really turn my passion into an incredible success both in terms of money but also in terms on impact. I specialize in game development and I’m passionate about VR so my plan for this year is to be one of the top developers in this field that takes it to the next level.

I’ve been slowly building up to this for the past few years and I feel like this year will finally explode with success. I’m sure I’ll look back and wonder why I didn’t do this sooner.



I want to be the exception in my family of actually making REAL money without a job. I have drug dealers, pimps, and prostitutes in my family. Not all of them are like that. My mom is about to retire after working 30 years as a crossing guard.

She’s the one who believed in me enough to allow me to quit my job in 2008 and pursue IM full-time. I’ve had a lot of bumps in the road. But I’ve become a freelancer and an eBay/Amazon seller. I’m not making life changing money (about $2K per month thus far) but I would like to get to about $1K per day. I actually even have a plan to do it THIS YEAR.

I already am the exception in my family because nobody else can do or is willing to put up with the stuff I’ve put up with over the last 6.5 years. It’s all good though. I got this.

Thanks for everything you do Derek. I appreciate you.


This year, I want to bring happiness to my family and like you said, smiles on our faces when we wake up in the morning. Get passionate about my business again. Business is six years old, never made money and has brought huge stress….I want the passion back, make changes and see it succeed so I have something to offer my young daughters in the future. Make life fun again…its a bike shop for goodness sakes….we should be having fun!


I’m getting divorced and concerned about the financial strain this will put on my daughter and myself. I’m grateful to have a beautiful website that was designed by Jen Hansard of Simple Green Smoothie fame. I’ve written all of the content for the site and sell a superfood supplement I’m over the moon about, but I still don’t really know how to turn this into a business.

Angela Alcorn

This year, I plan on doubling my income and putting a dozen great plans in action. Maybe even lose a few kilos. ๐Ÿ™‚


Beautiful story Derek – thanks for sharing, I know that putting it all out there isn’t always easy to do.

I think this year I’d like to be the year I teach this very thing to other people – that being the exception is not only possible, but to do any less would be doing the world a great disservice. Too many people are content with getting by and they don’t have to – they can be smashing it, in whatever way they choose.


Keith LeBlanc

Independent Pharmacists (you know, the Mom and Pop drugstores on the corner) have been a decreasing lot for years now. They’re holding steady, somewhat, the past couple of years at about 23,000 across the country but there used to be over 60,000.
While the common perception is that they are dinousaurs on the edge of extinction, I plan to be the exception that helps these pillars of the community thrive once again.
Your BTC course if helping me reach these entrepreneurs.
Thanks for your encouragement.


First of all, very inspiring post Derek!

What I want to be an exception to is best said by Henry David Thoreau, “The mass of men lead lives of quite desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation”.

The majority of people surrounding me (parents, aunts, friends, etc) are just going through the motions of life. Through out their lives they have learned, “Learned Helplessness”.

I want to be the exception and show that you can step out of the confines of your mind.


Hello. I have especially enjoyed this post because I feel like I have been the exception in my age group for the last few years. While my friends were doing sports and worrying about high school drama, I started a furniture refinishing business at age 16. Now at age 18, I have many more customers than I ever could have imagined. I have branched out into doing some interior decorating work. I hope to continue to be the exception in my age group this year. Going to college and running a full-time business can be hard work, but I think it will pay off in the long run.


I do want to be the exception. I want to show people close to me how to stop holding themselves back. I want to influence greatly with my own success. I am on a huge learning path and quite frankly can’t get enough of your advice. But I need to work on those things that hold me back. Like poor time management and prioritising. This affects me and all those around me. But Derek you’ve already helped me little in that area. Your words are inspiring and I have never looked forward to anyones emails more than yours. If I retain only 50% of what you teach then I am already hugely in front. I am very positive about this year and hugely inspired.

Dawn L

My goals for 2015 require me to be the exception and build my Personal Wellness Coach business to a level that only 1% of my fellow coaches have achieved. A level of success that will allow me to take my family on a trip to the Bahamas as well as buying a house for my parents. 2015 is a money year (or so I’m told) and it will be my year to make the kind of money I need to make my dreams, and my families dreams, come true.

Shawn Augustine

Derek, first, I am happy to hear you are doing well after your crazy heart ordeal! And for me, I had a similar childhood, but I have never let that hold me back, instead, be a lesson of what I don’t want MY kids to go through. My word (instead of a list of resolutions) of the year is “Freedom”. Freedom from debt, stress, feeling bad about the extra twenty pounds I’ve been carrying since I had my kids, etc. etc…and I want to be the exception in my family, that I get to bring home the biggest paychecks this year! I closed a business last year and became a Realtor, something I should have done years ago! I LOVE this business! Anyway, my husband had provided for us for the past 15 years and now it’s my turn to rock it out! I am excited to see what you have in store for 2015! Cheers!


Great post Derek. Very inspiring. I have decided this year not to look at my negative past and create a positive future.


I’ve been making over 6 figures for several years now and this year – my 40th year – I will be leaving it all to travel the world with the love of my life. Our adventures start in June! Check out my blog: kickingoutwindows.com !!

Shanika Journey

WOW! GO MOMS!! Of course that counted grandma ๐Ÿ™‚

Now we see who inspires YOU! Hope I inspire my son the same.

What part of my life I would like to e the exception is the debut of my new site and it surpassing even the vision I have for it right now. I love art. I love visual media. And I love to tell stories that entertain, educate, inform, and sell with it. I’ve done all of it over the years. And it beats in my heart daily.

Thing is it is seen more offline than online. And that is where the exception will be this year. Where my knowledge and skill of the craft of visual storytelling, marketing, and interaction will help people create the visual content people WANT to see and be a part of. My voice in this craft of mine will no longer be invisible in 2015.

And thank you Derek for giving me the means to get it out there the way it can be seen and heard even more. You’ll know the deets and results soon!


I quit my job, quit my apartment and moved to Peru in order to pursue a dream. I want to be independent and have the freedom to work from all parts of the world. I want to succeed in NOT belonging in one place only. I want to be a world residence. I want to continue to contribute where ever I am. For this reason, I am building two businesses in parallel. A consultancy helping Danish (Scandinavian, Northern Europe) to do business in South America. And an online business after your receipe. Still struggling with the scope though. But I will get there! ๐Ÿ™‚

Julie Stubblefield

Derek, I’ve been following you for quite a while, and I’ve always loved your content. But your last few posts have really lit me up. THANK YOU!

In 2015, I will be the exception to this rule: 17 out of 18 women make less than $100,000 per year

And I aim to help many busy, frazzled moms beat this one: 7 out of 10 adults age 20+ are overweight or obese

Keep up the great inspiration!

Mary McClure

Hi Derek,
Mums are amazing. I was a 17yr old unmarried mum. I went back to Uni, studied, got a job, climbed the ladder and managed to get a masters degree with 4 kids, working full time and earn over $100,000 a year. Had to make some changes so currently working for less, but planning this year to earn that much working for myself and not as a corporate slave!! Finding my niche as we speak

Carmen Amato

There were 4 of us raised by a single mom who worked as a secretary and then sold life insurance. We always joked that she would have made a greeat drill sergeant but we learned perseverance and organization from her, both things that are keeping me on track with my writing career. As for being the exception–I won’t be the indie author who stays on the midlist. I am dreaming bigger than that.

Tania Marchand

Wow! And she did…So powerful, I had to cry ๐Ÿ˜‰ Amazing and so inspiring. Thank you for opening and sharing. May I add that I am happy you are still alive and healthy. An amazing year to you and your family!!!

N Barrera

Great post and all the better for the openness. I look forward to next updates!

Ms Terry Ash

I would like to earn a 6 figure income from the Internet business I am planning. I’m tired of being in poverty on Social Security Disability.

cory huff

This story closely parallels my own. Family with drug problems. A mother who sacrificed a lot to help me have more.

I chose not to throw that away, and I’m grateful every day that I’m where I’m at – I’m grateful for my mom’s choices.

Marcie Paige

I would like to be the exceptions and bring home a healthy income working at home, teaching moms how to communicate with their baby before words kick in, through baby sign language.

Bill Loganeski

It is amazing how much you look like your Mother, I wish I looked like mine.
My birthday is in a few days and my days in my sixties is coming down to a precious few. On January 15 , I will be 70 years old, it is hard to believe because in my mind I am only 40. In April of last year I un-retired after 10 months of working on my online business because I was not making any money. I have been working on my weight loss website for over 4 years. I currently have 614 videos on YouTube and over 1.6 million views. It sounds good but am not making much income for the amount of effort that goes into it to produce the content and videos. I saw a documentary about the struggles of the poor in India and saw a uneducated old lady say these words, “Life is long, but it is short” I leave you with that. Best wishes to you and your followers in the new year.


Thanks for the inspiring post! I’ve been married for over 37 years to a really great guy who works his butt off as a carpenter, and we’ve raised four kids. All my life I worked in the non-profit sector; the last 10 years running an organization that rescues children and builds orphanages and schools in third-world countries, until I got burnt right out. I feel like this is MY TIME to make some real money! I’m 56 years old, and, because we’ve been so consumed with charity work (meaning we’ve always given everything we made away), we have nothing for retirement and a big mortgage. I’ve started a photography business specializing in architectural and interiors photography but it’s been really slow, and I don’t know how to market myself. I need to be the exception and get it cranked up! I’m excited to see your upcoming posts!

Karen Wiley Sider

I enjoy all of your blogs. They are wonderfully inspirational during a time when I’m seriously considering giving up.

I would like my books to sell. I’d love to build a dedicated group of readers that enjoy my writing enough to look forward to the next book. I’d be thrilled if I could make a comfortable living writing and publishing.

Sergio Felix

Hey Derek, it’s been some time I haven’t commented on your posts but I still check ’em out and this one resonated a lot with me.

I’d like (well, not “like”… more like “I’m committed”) to be the exception in the idea that I’m recently married, I’m 38 years old already and I recently got a full time working job which is making me completely miserable.

It’s awesome to pay the bills on time and don’t worry about that but I’ve never felt more stuck in my life than right now.

I need to do something different ASAP as I want to start a family with my wife (we’d love to have a baby) and even though maybe there will never be something as the “perfect time” to have a baby, I’m 100% sure at least I could make way more money without being this miserable.

So the exception for 2015 is quitting my job, fixing this bad situation and get ready to stop being afraid and making important things happen.

Thanks for the inspirational post man.



I want to be the exception by combining my passions for coaching and drumming and making my career and my lifestyle become a masterpiece. I will do this by walking my talk and being the best example of the ideas and philosophies I teach.
(And blogging-thanks for the SYBR course-implementation time!)


I’d like to be an exception of English majors (even though I switched to Marketing) who make 6 figures.

I loved philosophy classes in college. I like writing and creating art and crazy ideas for music projects and blogs and cartoons. The problem is, most people would categorize my type as a “starving artist.”

In 2015, I’m going to get a great job, and get out of scarcity. Then, when I can think clearly again, I’m going to dedicate nights and weekends to making art and learning skills that I really want.

By the end of 2015 I plan to have improved leaps and bounds in my skills and to finally have some financial breathing room in my life, which I’ve never felt before.

    Derek Halpern

    I’m an English major, and I spent most of it learning Shakespeare, Chaucer, Spencer, etc. ๐Ÿ˜€


I am looking to be the exception this year. My goal has always to be successful doing something I love doing. I just never knew what that was. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer from the age of 8. I realised in my second year of law studies that I wouldn’t enjoy the lifestyle. I had lost my job at KFC before I decided to stop law because I was getting older and its cheaper to put on younger staff. I am 1 of 7 children and my mum was single and didn’t work. I was unemployed for about 6 months, not knowing what to do next. I worked some odd jobs here and there trying to find something I would be good at and liked doing. I got a job eventually at an internationally recognised meat factory. I started as a packer and figured I could learn my way around and work my way up in the meat industry somehow. About 3 weeks I tore some muscles between my shoulder blades to the middle of my back. I didn’t say anything because I knew that people that complained were frowned upon and some let go. I thought it was minor and didn’t want to appear to be a complainer so kept working. Big Mistake. Two weeks later I was so much pain and had back spasms and excruciating pain. HR picked up that I was struggling with the work and let me go. I was told by my chiropractor after some tests that I was fine and the pain would go away after some time. That didn’t happen and just kept relapsing. I had tried some things but nothing seemed to work and I had an impression that exercising would stress my muscles more so I learned to accept things the way they were. When I started getting headaches January 2014 I was devastated, I had been in a sales role in a call centre and made it to team leader. I was waiting for higher opportunities to come up in the company and was stressing myself out so much that my work performance plummeted and all I could do was go to work, then come home and lay on the couch so I could rest my burning muscles and also hoping my chronic headache would go away. I was involved with a nutrition company but never took it seriously. I was at a point in my life where I just wanted to give up on everything and go to my no pain zone in all my spare time (sleep). Something inside me told me that I will succeed no matter what. Earlier this year I committed to taking my nutrition products properly and exercising without worrying about the business side of things. I am not completely pain free but I don’t have headaches any more and my muscle pain has dramatically decreased. I want to be that exception that doesn’t end up on a pension bitching about how I could have never succeeded because of a bad hand that was dealt and an injury that some would consider life long. I have chosen to help people realise the importance of looking after the health of their body and mind and want to succeed with my nutrition business. Sorry for the essay Derek, but you have inspired me in the past and after seeing this particular post I felt I had to share some of my story with you

Avril Oliver

Wow Derek! Thanks for keeping it real, such a powerful post. In 2015 I will continue helping small businesses rock up their brand in every corner of the world! I plan to kick-off my weekly video blog starting end of Jan and really dig in deeper to help boost business for my peeps.


I would like my career to be the exception. My husband supported me well for the first 20 years of our lives together, and now it is my turn to give back. I am a nurse– a supervisor, actually, but my goal is to grow my business as a health coach. I am smart, Derek, I know what it takes to live healthfully with good food and healthy habits and without drugs! But I lack the time, energy, drive and confidence to make it all come together. Thats’ why I minister to only a small group of people. I know I could do more. I know I am called to do more. That’s why I am drawn to your site and all those who contribute their thoughts and ideas to it. Keep ’em coming, Derek!


Great story Derek. My mum is an inspiration too. I hope to be exceptional by combining my current career in teaching and my blogging. Let it grow!!


such an inspiration!


I want to be the exception this year by being financially independent and debt free!

Nitin Aggarwal

I want to come out from 9 to 5 schedule and start my own venture. I am thinking about it from a long time but i want to be an exception and want to make it happen in 2015.

Cheers for 2015 and lets make it.


I’m gonna be the single mum who raises her kids solo and crushes it in business so the kids don’t miss out and have a great role model. My girls mean the world to me and I’m doing it for them. I get your mum Derek… We can rise above and choose to be brave. No victims here

Carole Hilton-Stone

I want to enjoy exceptional business success this year.


I want to build my photography career to a point I don’t need to stress every month and people begin to see the value in what I do. To have them not think they can do it cheaper or that I’m not worth what I charge. I’d like to build a demand for my service and my business in 2015.


Thanks for sharing your experiences, Derek.

This fires me up, too. I’ve found that a little bit of fire in my gut is fueling some of my own determinations.

I’m sick of working 70 hours a week making someone else rich and being one of those women making less than $100k.
I’m sick of being viewed as not knowing what I’m talking about when I’m nice or as a bitch when I’m running the room.
I’m sick seeing friendships fade due to lack of attention.
I’m sick of knowing I’m not at my full potential yet.

I’m so sick of it. I don’t consider myself to be an entitled person by any means but life is worth so much more than this.

So, here goes.

2015 is this year each of these things end. To accomplish things you’ve never done you need to do things you’ve never done, right?

To the slightly scary, unknown and triumphant future,


Hi Derek,

I love your article. its a good read and very inspiring.

I want to be an exceptional sales person this year. I deal with internet solutions and I would like to be able to sell to as many clients as possible.

last year was not good. I want a excellent year this year! I need to be exceptional!

Arman Assadi

Stellar post, Derek! Awesome story. It’s clear why you’re such a strong dude.

Cheers to an exceptional 2015!

Amanda Sue

This is such an awesome post!!! I’m very determined that this year, I change my family’s stars (Knight’s Tale reference). I turn 30 this year, and I’ve spent my entire adult life just getting by. I was in an abusive marriage, got out of it, divorced him, got remarried to an awesome guy…but we’ve had so many struggles. He separated from the military, but then struggled to find good paying work (his military experience made him “overqualified”). He found work, but it barely paid enough. But we worked it out…then he got laid off. Now he’s reemployed but it pays even less.

Meanwhile, I’ve tried to get my biz up and running, but I had too any naysayers in my ears, and I dang near bailed on the whole thing last year. But my desire to have something awesome, and to create wealth for my family, and to use that wealth to support anti domestic violence organizations, and to create jobs for women in shelters…it’s still something I desperately want to do!

This is it. 2015 is my year.

Melissa Gill

Wow. That was really inspirational. It’s easy to let the negative Nancys get you down, but I think that the people who fail are the ones who give up. Thanks for reminding me.


You’re mom & grandmother is so brave. Great personal story. Thanks so much for sharing.

So I launched my company, launch. And you guessed it, we launch “things”. Concepts, fashion shows, launch parties, product launches, launch events in undisclosed locations, launch clothing lines for brands, etc. all within the fashion and lifestyle realm. My boldest idea yet is a fashion store INSIDE of a hotel room. My absolute strongest trait is being able to think of amazing concepts and ideas…with the hopes of launching them for others to enjoy. Where I struggle most is believing in myself enough to not care if others don’t believe in me. I have a serious case of FEAR.

I’d like to become the exception, that one person that believes in me. If success is about persistence, having faith and being focused (amongst other attributes) then I have to believe in me. I don’t mind being the one people doubt because they simply do not “get” what I do, but I want to be that person that is crazy enough follow through with launch anyway.



I would like to no scratch that I am GOING to be the exception that makes a high six figure income from my passion which is music. I am a music producer who creates instrumentals and licenses them to singers and rappers as well as to music supervisors looking for music for films, tv, video games and pretty much anywhere where music is consumed. I know there are guys making six figure salaries doing it so I I know it is possible.


1) I want to be a calm in the storm. I WAN

1) I want to be the calm in the storm. Passionate serenity. Crazy productive without the attention. Getting g DRAMA. I want to be noticed for re-igniting my own childlike dream machine and achiding those dreams. I want to inspire others to dream again and take action!
2) what happened to the red hair?
3 ) This is going to become one of your biggest blog posts


I was really moved by your choice to share your story. Thank you..

I want to inspire artists to be the exception to the rules by teaching them how to design a thriving business, their way.

Nina Cashman

AWESOME post, Derek. I’ve been enjoying your content over the last few months and I’m looking forward to your 2015 news!


p.s. – Your mom sounds like an amazing woman!


I love this story Derek. And I love even more that you shared it.

Helping women see that they have choices is my “thing”.

My “exception” is in my use of personal adversity as my ally and spring board to a life of value and contribution to others.

Here’s to you and your Mother and Grandmother xx


Great job by your Mother.

I want to start some online or social media business in 2015.



I really don’t know much about you, but that’s about to change. Excellent article.

Don Karp

I want to be a part of the trend that is saving the world by creating a movement of millions, where we help each other towards greater connection:
connecting the disparate parts of ourselves, connecting to each other and connecting with nature.

Cody Horton

Wow Derek – you are an exceptional being for sure. I have always been a trailblazer and I will continue doing research on how our subconscious is the driving force in our lives! So this is where I want to crush it! To your best year yet!


So inspiring. Best article you’ve ever written! Congrats!

Faith Mutiri

Hi Derek. Thank you for this post. You and Ramit’s approach to mediocrity has taken my life to a COMPLETELY different level. Both of my parents just passed away, and the people in my life expect me to fall into the statistics for 17 year old black girls (I’m not even black, I’m African! ๐Ÿ™‚ Fortunately, I’ve been absorbing the mentorship of some amazing people (ie. you. you’re welcome ๐Ÿ™‚ I graduated high school at age 16, and am now employed at $14/hr, a rate that is UNHEARD of for adults that buy into societal norms. I’m also in the beginning stages of launching my own business and becoming the exception. Thank you so much.


Derek, I’ve been on your list for a while (along with so many other email lists), but in the end, I rarely read any of the 100s of emails that pour into my inbox each week. Then at the end of 2014 I clicked on one of yours and I was hooked. Since that point, I’ve been watching your content non-stop over the last few days. I will never miss another email by you ever again. Thank you for all you do.

This year, I want to be the exception by breaking the rules of what I’ve been told: that I can’t be financially successful, that I can’t do what I love and still make money, or that I won’t be a successful entrepreneur. I want to f***ing crush it.


I would love to be the exception in one area of life: building a web design and online marketing agency that earns enough money for me to be able to tell my wife to quit her job and stay at home instead.

Liza Ingram

Thats amazing! I am so glad to see you thriving dispite such a tough upbringing. Your story is inspirational. Props to your Mom, that is so hard to do.
All the best in 2015

Jason E Mathes

Wow, at first I wanted to say you are a fellow survivor. But that would be wrong to say it like that. Sure you survived the ordeal. But you were able to move past it, learn from it and turn it to your advantage.

I went through the same type of stuff but didn’t have anyone to help pull me out until much later in life.

Its important to say I live the life I have and not survive it. Thanks for sharing and the message!

Heres to an awesome 2015!

Jeremy Montoya

I think it’s awesome that you’re giving us a look into your personal life.. And judging by the comments here, a whole new kind of reader is ready to engage with you because of your human-ness.

We all have our own adversaries to conquer… Mine is tapping into my potential.

I’m realizing now how every great situation in my life came when others held me to a higher standard and helped me to see it for myself.

In 2015, I’ve already hired a mentor to help me crush it and am re-going through Blog That Converts (for anyone reading, I HIGHLY recommend signing up if Derek opens it back up).

You’re an inspiration for hustlers everywhere, even if it’s 0% of them ๐Ÿ˜‰



You just never know someone’s journey without standing in their shoes. Your mom did not have it easy, but she made the right choices and encourage success in you as well! Thanks for sharing your story. It is inspiring. After a major career change in my late 30’s, then 20 years in the corporate world, I went out on my own in 2013 and moved across the country for a better environment. 2014 was about settling in, finding my way, and figuring it out (and running out of money!). 2015 will be the year to “kill it!”

Mellisa T Brown

Hi Derek!

I have read your post you send me by email. What I want to be exception for 2015 is to go global for my t-shirt’s, wake up everyday smiling with joy, laughter, connect with my customers daily, and make 7 figures and collaborate with amazing entrepreneurs in computer software, t-shirt graphics, and much more. I want to do trade shows in U.S and International to represent my business in a fun, exciting adventure. I am always learning something new everyday and loved it! I want to tell you thank you for sharing so much about yourself and business goals. I like to know how can I get customers to sign up on my email list? I have one on my Facebook, and website. Thank you for being honest with business/personal life.

Eileen Purdy

I have followed and learned from you for a long time. You never cease to amaze and inspire me. Thank you for sharing your story and challenging me to not let anything stand in my way!

Super cute Halloween picture! Best to your mom and grandma!

Allyson Scammell

That was incredible. Thank you for telling your story. I have several stories that I’m just too afraid to tell. But I’d like my exception for 2015 to be: “have the courage.”


How blessed are you to have two wonderful “exceptions” in your life as examples. Thanks for sharing your story. Look forward to what’s to come. Oh, and say hello to your mother. ; )

Jo Guerra

Inspiring! Loved reading your story and knowing that you, like all of us, did not have the perfect “Facebook” life. Thank you for sharing it. Where do I want to be the exception? I know for me it is to be kinder to and gentler with myself.

Patrick Wagner

Thanks for writing this, Derek. I knew there was more to your story and I appreciate you taking the time to be honest and open up about what you’ve learned from your experiences. This is the type of quality content that both engage and are a catalyst for action in some many, myself included. This reminds me of a great quote from the late Jim Rohn (one of my personal mentors)

โ€œDon’t wish it was easier wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge wish for more wisdomโ€
โ€• Jim Rohn

Thank you & Happy New Year all the best in 2015!


As per your question, this is one of the first years I feel I have no new yearยดs resolutions, and that is no good….what I am sure about is I want to dramatically change the way I eat and exercise more… I am feeling that is the key to feeling better overall, and whe I feel good… I can get REALLY creative! Lets see if I can beat the odds…


I loved your post Derek! Thank you!


Derek et al.,

wish you all the best year yet. Be exceptional, set the new norm, new standard in all you do.


I want to be the over-50 woman who figures it all out, gets it all together, and starts opening some big cans of whoop-ass on the goals she suddenly sees clear as day (although Techy Becky might have beat me to it). Thanks, Derek, for helping me realize the exceptions are as important and real as the norms.


Derek, thanks for sharing a little bit of your story…I, like your mom, married and subsequently divorced “the wrong man” (unbeknownst to me despite my M.S. in Psychology & years of experience diagnosing and working with personality-disordered patients, turned out to be Narcissistic Personality-Disordered….a grossly misunderstood affliction, unfortunately). Because of his NPD (which, of course, he refuses to acknowledge, not that there are any effective forms of treatment, at this point), I’ve spent the past 5 years getting “bulldozed” by him, particularly financially, as keeping me financially dependent upon him is the only leverage he has in his grave need to control me to keep his anxiety at bay. Every time I’d find myself in financial crisis due to his tireless antics, I’d kick into “solution” mode. I’m resourceful, for sure, so I’d always manage to find and implement some way to resolve the issue which, rather than making him happy, only made him more determined to up the ante & squeeze tighter. As a result, at each turn, in spite of the many “solutions” I’ve implemented in an attempt to free myself financially from his grasp, I’ve ended up worse off than before, as I try to be everything – mom, dad, provider, career counselor, disciplinarian, etc. – to my two kids which, of course, comes with a price, both in money and in time. It’s been maddening, to say the least, despite my convictions that told me I was doing what was best for my kids & their future. My future (both alone & with my wonderfully supportive significant other, who’s been my guardian angel and my hero at the same time) was in jeopardy and my bitterness really began to bubble up, as I vainly tried to hold him accountable for his responsibilities as a father & ex-husband.

Recently, I had an epiphany. As a result of a text conversation with my son a week or so ago, I realized something very critical to my and my kids’ mental well-being: I am NEVER going to win this battle with him (and come out “even,” never mind ahead) because I’m not willing to sacrifice ANYTHING & EVERYTHING to “win,” while he is. And that’s okay. So I’ve resolved myself to stop battling, trying to hold the line on lunch money or college tuition or medical bills and to just do what I must to provide what my kids need for a strong start.

Of course, that requires money. Something I’ve had woefully little of for quite some time. So, I’ve resolved to CRUSH IT this year and be the exception in my work as an author and educator for job hunters and, eventually for others who exist in the hiring space…and after that, who knows? I’ve got so much valuable knowledge & information to share, the biggest challenge for me is staying focused on just one at a time!

I appreciate all of your guidance as I gear up for what I commit to making my best year EVER!!

Jason Moffatt

I’m so incredibly lucky that my mother struggled so hard when she was a child and then became the exception when she had me at 17 years old. Her work ethic has always rubbed off on me and I’m beyond stoked for the sacrifices and hustle she displayed while raising me.

I remember when I was 12 years old and I wanted a pair of Nike’s, but we couldn’t afford them and I was about to get stuck with the 4 striped Adidas knock-offs. There was no way in hell I was going to let the kids at school tease me for wearing the uncool kicks, but my mom refused to buy them for me.

Instead of buying them she said I could earn the extra money by picking berries in the fields. On my first day of berry picking I instantly learned one of the most valuable lessons ever…. A days work equals a days pay! Since that day I’ve always held down some sort of job or way of generating income.


I haven’t started the business yet but I want to. I am currently making a business plan and have already started making inquiries as to whether or not people think it’s a good idea (without giving up to much.) I want to thank you for all of your information. I read every e-mail you send and appreciate it all. So glad you are doing better healthwise and pray you continue to enjoy good health. Happy New Year to you and yours!


I want to buy back more time to work on establishing a business while in university, and get academic credit for it.
I want more opportunities to develop as a 21st century adult outside of university borders, and receive academic credit for it.
I want to be so valuable to my college that they have to convince me to stay by reducing my tuition, housing, meal plan, and pay me to pursue opportunities in the study abroad tradition.
I want to get off the meal plan and/or change what the cafeteria serves.
I want to book a flight and hotel for the driver who always helps me with my bags upon my return to college. He works 12 hours a day driving because the desk job ruined his knees. It would be such a pleasure to fulfill his dream of going to San Francisco.
I want to say- Although I am a college student, I am Olivia. I am rich. I will not graduate with student debt, and can pay for those $13 insomnia cookies without batting an eye and feeling guilty.

James Cook

Derek – great story. Thanks for sharing. My exception would be to breakthrough financially and to do it by living my passion.
My wife just went through a medical ordeal. Thankfully she’s fine but lots of missed work and thousands in copays have set us back after just breaking even from losing my job during the recession. Not whining just sick of this underground. Thanks for kicking my butt when I need it.

    James Cook

    Merry-go-round NOT underground LOL


I am a stay at home single mother. I support myself and my daughter off of book royalties. I’ve done well for myself, but I want to do even better. I want to be exceptional and even more of a success than I am. ๐Ÿ™‚


Our new concept of the Marketing Salon will become the exception when small businesses decide to market themselves. Instead of start-ups, smaller businesses and non profits trying to pay agency rates or asking a niece or nephew to design their website they will choose to work with the Marketing Salon and finally get professional services and real person to help guide them through the process. Derek, thanks for the inspiration!

Karen P

Sounds like a transition for you and am looking forward to what comes out of it! Great post!

Kim McNeil

Thank you for this inspiring blog post Derek. I understand how a health scare can jolt us awake and I can certainly attest to being a statistic, several in fact from the list you shared. I’m a woman who brings home less than $100K a year and my long distance relationship barely lasted two months.

Time to be the exception. I will woman who will never have to rely on an employer, partner, or anyone else for that matter to help pay the bills. Let the fear of having to use overdraft to propel me to greatness – ha!

My new mantra for myself is, “Patience Grasshopper, you’re hard work will pay off very, very soon.”

Thanks for your honestly, vulnerability, and support in sharing your post.


Jadah Sellner

And this is why I love what you’re up to in the world Derek. I remember when you told me this story in person. You’re changing people’s lives in a really big way (including mine). Keep telling your story and giving people the tools to be the exception. I know I step up my game on how I connect and inspire the people I serve every time I follow your posts and courses. I want to be the exception of staying authentic and connected to my audience as we spread the green smoothie movement worldwide. I want to see blenders in every classroom, so kids can be fueled by real foods and not junk foods. I want to be the exception for my daughter, so she believes she can achieve anything she puts her mind to. Sending you big hugs Derek!


    Very nice Jadah! I admire your story and mission, too. #bschool #wds ๐Ÿ˜‰

Todd Bowen

Derek, great read! Thanks for sharing!

My mission is to help 1 million people heal, prevent, and understand their pain caused by sitting at a computer desk. I published a book on it titled HIGH SPEED HEALTH. Now, I’m creating an online course called HEAL SITTING PAIN.

I’m a Blog That Converts student, also a student of David Siteman Garland’s Create Awesome Online Courses.

Anyone who is on the fence about buying Derek’s Blog That Converts course, I’ll say this: his Module 2 on Content Archetypes is worth the price of admission by itself. And there are 3 other modules plus some bonus stuff.

Thanks for doing what you do Derek (:


Dear Derek,

Thanks for your post! As a single mom parts of it really hit home.
I’m the nr 1 Dutch babywearing consultant and social media blogger. Last year I decided 2015 is going to be MY year! Working on two sites and this is just part of what is going to happen this year:
– I’m going from 3.861 to 15.000 followers on Facebook
– I’m earning โ‚ฌ 2.250,- a month
– I’m the face of babywearing worldwide
– my 3 year old son and I have been to Disneyland in Paris. That’s the only thing I’ve ever promised him and besides keeping my head above water without any financial help from his father, that is something that will happen this year!

Derek, I love the way you do your thang and even though I could use the money for other important things, I chose to use it for your course. No regrets AT ALL!!

Keep up the good work!!

Love from Amsterdam


Derek I have been receiving your emails for years. I am probably a little older than your Mom, but I understand the early life of hard knocks. I am a Mom of a 34, 24 and 14 year old and I am considered a โ€œBaby Boomerโ€ I have been in business for myself for over 25 years, but have not made it to the point where I am prosperous. I have the freedom, but the money is not coming in as I’d like.

This is a hard economy for all ages, but in my case older isnโ€™t better … Itโ€™s been brutal out here. We Boomers have lost the most earning power of any working age group and our household incomes, forget about it! We are earning 10 percent below what we made almost four years ago.
Like most of my Boomer counterparts we are making less than half of what we made while employed, working 1 to 3 temp jobs, and I mean temp! Pushed into entrepreneurship because we no longer fit or babysitting our grand kids, some of us that is. And most of us are too young to retire and have little or no medical benefits. Most of my fellow boomers have degrees and wouldnโ€™t benefit at all from more education. But I digress. I am healthy, I donโ€™t look my age, I am not tired, I am still on my grind, I am not giving up and I want to do more!!! I said all of this because you inspired me today! Honestly, I thought that you were my age! You inspire me to keep going. I am looking forward to learning more. Thanks and Think about us Boomers!


I love this article. Thank you!

For me, I want to expand further the amount of clients I take on and help them and their projects be successful and amazing. I did well last year, but I want to do even better.

Aureola Buzi

First of all, let me send u back that overseas hug; cause this post for sure was a warm, motivating one.

I’m writing you from Albania; love ur vibe.

My resolution would be losing few kilograms and getting into fit live, and enhancing my blogs audience. Im of the fiew non-fashion bloggers in here, and i love my targets at all. Yet, this last months got me a little into lazziness, into fading colors and yes i would love to fix this up.

Thank you for making ur life worth being lived.

P.s. Albania’s somewhere between Italy and Greece in EU.


Derek, thanks for sharing YOUR story.

Now I think everybody should make his/her life exceptional. Live the dream.
Since my childhood I was very interested in design and interior design. When I was about 8, my parents decided they needed new furniture, we all went to the shop and I was advising them what was the best in our home although than I had no idea about a profession called interior designer. Later on at high-school I came to the idea of studying aero dynamics but in fact what I wanted was studying design and so I did.
Now I a running an design studio and an online furniture shop. I think that specially in the online business there is still a lot to gain and improve when it comes down to customer service and personal attention for the client. That’s where I want and am going to be exceptional and the whole world to talk about our business without boundaries.

Ruth Currah

My parents were so poor, and there was no welfare, so I nearly died 6 times. Once, I was 6, I was so sick with high fevers for months. The neighbor lady sent her doctor when she seen I was almost dead. He saved me but I had no short term memory. I had to learn to hear speech and couldn’t read until I by luck got into college. I have a PhD in Educational Psychology and Counseling and have had a career but paid little. You see when you are handicapped the competition takes advantage of you by telling others lies about you using your handicaps as proof, some were so rude and cruel. I have worked with mostly street kids, poor families, and felons. They do not pay much but I learned a lot about people and their plights. I do not expect to hear from you other then wanting me to join and pay for seminars, which I still can not hear well. I gave away a business and home to help my family. I am poor again but they were worth it. I need help to get my sites on psychology, family help, and human trafficking up and seen. I am not pessimistic just know there is not enough money in helping me in the way my handicaps require. I love people and have came close to dying for street kids. But they too are throw away. I will not waste anymore of your time. If you happen to read this and you happen to have exceptional ways I can learn from you with handicaps, well, I have been exceptional on both ends of the scale, poor and top achiever, just not profitable enough to help as many people as I would like to. I still enjoy your emails. Wish you all the greatness you can achieve.

Kimberly Crawford


I am SO excited to see that you have discovered your purpose!! With that focus and your intense passion; you are Unstoppable! I am grateful you are motivated to share your gift with the world. We are lucky to have you as a role model.

My Exceptional achievement in 2015?
Serve the world through my writing and tools I’ve created via lastmomstanding.com. This year I will publish my “Golden Mind Project” and the “Caregivers Manual”. Help other mothers know they are not alone, crazy and doing it all wrong. Helping humans find their purpose while laughing along the way.
Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve!


I loved your email. Thank you! I see your heart.

I already am the exception. My parents divorced when I was 13 and it led to downward spiral that statistically should’ve had a very negative impact on me. I grew up with verbal and physical abuse. Both of my parents were hospitalized due to mental illnesses and were going through treatment for over a decade. I had no mentors, aside from a few good teachers who believed in me and a few good books.

Statistics say I should have been a drug addict, alcoholic, a victim, abused or promiscuous or a mental patient myself. But instead at age 13, I found God, I became interested in positive psychology, personal development and self – help and I sought it out. I found purpose in leading others and uplifting my community and peers.

I got the best opportunities in my life, relationships travel, career, home, husband, kid, etc.

I want to continue to be exceptional. And have sought out ways to do this-
Seeking ways to acquire more wealth, better health, vibrant and purposeful each day, but it all leaves me feeling like “that’s not enough.” I think I just need to go back to what got me to be exceptional in the first place – faith and love.


Great post Derek. You’re a winner and I’m sure there’s still so much more to come.

Annora Brennan

I want to be the one who treats my parents for dinner. I had a very fortunate childhood. My parents are amazing and very successful, they have been the ones in both of their families that anyone can turn to for help, guidance, love, anything and I want to GIVE BACK TO THEM.
I am an entrepreneur in the fitness industry, just finished my first ebook and have high hopes to own my own studio in 5 years. These goals are lofty but I know if I accomplish them and am smart about building my wealth I can eventually be the one who takes the tab at dinner or who can treat my parents to a vacation. That would just be AMAZING!

Kate McCormack

Derek this is such a huge story for you to share good on you! I really just wanted to say thanks so much for pointing out to people that they can be the exception – so true! Such a strong philosophy to start a new year on. Break the mould, the apple can get up and run away from that tree it falls from!

Kate ๐Ÿ™‚

Famous Ashley Grant

I want to be the exception to poor finances and bleak outlooks that have become the norm in my family. I want to make my business a success this year and finally pay down my debts and be free of negativity!


I want to be the exception in that I help people make positive lifestyle & health changes *without* relying on selling gimmick products that I don’t believe in.

Helping other people (without pushy selling) and being financially successful have, so far, seemed to be mutually exclusive goals for me.

I want to change that.

Caroline Meyer

Derek, thank you so much for your honesty in sharing your personal story. It is truly inspiring! In 2015, I want to defy the odds and go from being a best-kept secret to a leader in natural medicine. I want to charge what I am worth and expand my reach to help even more people heal naturally. I look forward to engaging with you to smash these goals.


I love this post! I once sat in calculus class and on day one the instructor said “look to your right now look to your left, only 1 of the 3 of you will pass this course”. Rather than feeling defeated i felt revved up.. ready to take on the challenge of being that one in 3. being the exception is definitely the way to goโ€ฆ but as the story goes I ended up failing like crazy and having to drop out of the class and take it over the summer at at easier university. alas.. sometimes its a curvy path to become that exception ๐Ÿ™‚


Hi Derek.

I’m really pleased your operation worked out well for you. And given that my dad had open heart surgery a few months ago, I know a bit about what those close to you may have gone through, including the intense relief at the ordeal’s positive conclusion.

In our family, my sister and I had to become exceptions, or we wouldn’t have made it, least of all to where we both are today. Thank you for the reminder of what is still possible in the prolific sea of statistics and infographics that seem to discourage more than simply inform (thanks to people’s inner-scripts of course).

My goal for 2015 is to meet the needs of our customers in beneficial ways, as we journey into the second year of our ecommerce venture. I have been guided by your research, analyses, strategies and yes, your tactics too, since well before our launch and so feel as though you’ve been a part of the successes of our first year, which included tackling the internet business world and becoming an entity with credibility in our industry. We’ve a long way to go though and I’ll be trying my best to work both harder and smarter in 2015 to achieve greater results.


I will build a job creating business, I will effect the lives of teens in foster care, I will help build a better traffic system to positively impact the environment as well as the quality of life for commuters.


This year I know I made a tangible difference in the lives of 2 women and 6 children. By selling jewelry I was able to raise money for 2 women in Rwanda to start a home based sewing business…huge difference maker in their lives. I was also able to raise support for 6 children in Rwanda to go to school. Many kids live on the street there and don’t have the money to pay even the small fees for a uniform and school supplies. We raised money for other things throughout the year as well, but these 8 people I KNOW I helped make a huge difference in their lives and futures. That meant the world to me. This year I want to be the exception by increasing that number to 20 people or more. Thanks for sharing your story.


I have a Travel agency in a small town. Its been doing fairly well, but I want to prove to everyone that I can be a VERY successful Travel Agency (which is difficult in this day and age with the internet and the companies not paying us much commission), but I know I can do it!

    Famous Ashley Grant

    My friend Tammy Levent could totally help you with your travel agency! She runs an amazing business in Tampa Bay. If you google Elite Travel you will find all kinds of stuff about her and her business. She is seriously awesome! Tell her the Famous Ashley Grant sent you! Good luck with your biz in 2015 Laurie!


I am so happy you chose a different path! I want to be the exception as well, and lead women to the top, to believe in themselves, and hold their hand while they do it.


Derek – talk about rising above it all.

I look forward to implementing my first online business. Changing mental perspectives and giving back to my customers.


I want to be a trailblazer for women entrepreneurs. I love BEING the exception to the rule. Helping women step into their own assertiveness and confidence through coaching and facilitating mastermind groups online.

Thank you for sharing such personal and intimate details about your childhood. Happy to hear you got the surgery and cured your heart condition. Lots of LOVE to you Derek from one BSchooler to another! This post and the one about DYING on this treadmill have been my favorites. I think about “Dying on this treadmill everyday!” Thanks for the inspiration.

Euridice Monteiro

I am a single mum, living in a council flat, I have a criminal record and earn ยฃ200 a week, I do have a degree (third) in Psychology. I struggle! I am in constant pain because I cant get a decent job, I am in pain when I see my daughter attending a mediocre school when I should be able to pay for her private school. I am in pain when they ask me to go to Eurodisney and I cannot get any money together to do any fun activities, so its park, again! I’ve signed on to your website maybe about a year ago and never read any of the emails, finally I’ve gotten so tired that during Christmas I made the decision to be the exception to the statistics. I will conquer financial freedom! This is my New Year Revolution! I need your help!


Thank’s for sharing. I don’t easily knocked by just test of fate. Probably I’m a workaholic, but sometimes frustrating working all of this social media ads with tons of promising potential income. If its going to help people, give them a direct destination. If its not, don’t let them show roads,that leads them with falls promises.


Great article- thank you for being authentic and genuine! Kudos to your mom! I’m working at being the exception… by never saying “I can’t”. Going to Costa Rica for two months for starters! Many people would love to do that but have a million reasons why they can’t. I believe if you want anything badly enough you find a way and I have (no I’m not wealthy)! Thank goodness the internet will allow for online work and schooling. I hope this inspires more people to say they can (and find a way) instead of saying they can’t…. just like your mom did!

Karen Renee

“Be the exception.” — Yes!
Thank you for the encouragement and the inspiring personal story. I’m going to forge my non-traditional path and act on the crazy ideas that so many never even try because they check the odds and decide to fail by default.

I’m glad you were healed. That’s such a wonderful concept, isn’t it? Healing. I think your words healed some tears in my heart that had me on the verge of giving up. Thanks.

Wendy Strain

Hey Derek,

Have been pulling inspiration from your emails for a while. I’m going to be that 18th woman who breaks the six figure income threshold this year in spite of health restrictions that keep me out of the corporate office (or maybe because of it!). Thanks for everything you do!


Hi Derek, that was an exceptional story. Almost brought tears to my eyes. Wow, what a hard life you had to put up with. Yeah, exceptional life.. I think we are all living in exceptional times, all of us. Chemtrails, government shenanigans, end-of-the-world-is-nigh predictions.. all of that aside, it’s a miracle some of us have ‘hope’ for the future and make this year a time of radical change. We want better than what the world has so far offered us. You seem much older ๐Ÿ™‚ than your years, wiser and stronger I’m sure than most people your age, due to the hardships you went through. Such trials as you lived through make you a better person, and that much more valuable to others struggling to make it. I am very proud of your courage in sharing your personal story. More power to you! Let us encourage each other to help others be the best they can be, and feel honored to be a part of that process of change. Love everything you do Derek. I know you hardly need to hear this from us, but don’t stop. You are a great inspiration.. and I bet your family is proud of you too. You are a star..!


I have no word for your mom! But i would definitely say she is awesome.

As exception, I have decided to increase my blog traffic by 10,000 per month by the end of year. Another one is I will add new skill in my LinkedIn profile that would be web development and management.

Jack Bendahan

Way to open up 2015 by really putting yourself out there and reveal your past pains. Its quite a story and very inspiring. I think this makes things real and allows people to really connect to you. Funny enough my definite purpose which I read every morning and at night before bed was always centered around making more money and for whatever reason it didn’t sit right. I decided to make it more focused on adding more value and really helping people break out of their everyday struggles. My blog thanks to BTC and my value based content has increased its traffic drastically. Looking forward to reading your posts.

John Page


Thanks in advance for what you will send me I know it will be good. I want to be the retired person who lost everything and is now working to do it again. I will do more good for people than I ever have before and succeed because of it.




What an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing it Derek!
My gift is in strategy. I am amazing at determining how to get from A to Z and how to overcome obstacles that make want to be entrepreneurs think that they cannot achieve their dreams but for some reason I cannot seem to define my own path. I want to help entrepreneurs with their business strategies but I can’t seem to pin down my own. In 2015, I want to start my own business helping entrepreneur’s with strategy. I want to achieve my dream by helping others achieve their’s.


Hey Derek, thanks for this! I just turned 30 last year too I’ll tell you something that turning 30 really gets me thinking about… it’s time to start a family! I have a great job and make decent money, enough to support my family and live comfortably. But when I have a baby, if I want to take my full maternity leave, I’ll be making 1/4 of what I make now, and in 1 year I’ll have to go back to work. I don’t want to hold off any longer on starting my family. I bought zippycourses because I know I have some great ideas that I can totally crush 2015 with, and make it the year of the family, the year of self-employment, and the year of the start of the life I want. It’s time to stop thinking about starting a business and start doing. I want to make my family’s life exceptional. I hope we can work together this year to make it happen!


I want to be the one who is able to break the mold and earn a living with an online business so I have more time to spend with family and the people I choose to surround myself with. I want to join the crowd of webpreneurers instead of only reading about them.

Anne Stirling Hastings, Ph.D.

I write wonderful posts for an online magazine, and have had something like 50,000 readers. I have a 4% bounce rate on my website. A quarter of visitors are returning. Yet I have very few sales of my Transformational Fiction novels regarding the healing of shame and sexuality on Kindle. I will discover how to increase my conversion by finding experts in my subject to guide me. At the same time, though, I have the immense satisfaction of knowing I have impacted the lives of many even without financial benefit.


I want to be the exceptional author who becomes famous and can live off her writing.


Thanks so much for the awesome testimonies of yourself & your mother, Derek. Grandma’s are such a saving grace. Trust me, I know.

I’m working towards being the exception. Recently ended a joke of a relationship / even-bigger-joke-of-a-so-called business partnership.

Having read Robert Greene’s “The 48 Laws of Power,” I now read the synopsis of the 48 Laws DAILY. I also digest Mark Manson’s blog “F— Yes” daily to strengthen what my Mom calls “good ‘ol fashioned horse sense.”

Minus the dead-weight, I truly can position myself to finally be said exception.

SO glad your health scare was a set-up for an ever stronger come-back, Derek. Stay Blessed!


I want to be the one person that inspires other people that they too can build their own business, follow their mission, and live life on their own terms..I want to be the exception.


    I second what you said Josue. To the precise letter that is what I want for myself. Good luck. I am sure you will get it as will I!

Julie Hinton

Your email was inspiring and makes we want to read more of your content. I’m rather new to your work. This year I want to figure out how to make my dream a reality. I’ve been a little beaten down in recent years and I want to turn my thinking around and promote actions that will help me turn my life around. I’m determined to make 2015 a different kind of year.


Hi Derek:

I loved this post! I would like to have a part-time business that helps people and earns me a great supplemental income (like so many others). I know there are many opportunities, just focusing and applying yourself seems to be the biggest problem. Your mom’s story is great and has a bit of similarity to mine. I have re-trained and make a greater income which of course helps me and my children, however, it seems these days you need to have a significant income or side hustle to live comfortably. I think anything is possible, particularly with on-line marketing and sales (people are selling $65,000 worth of stuff on Etsy per month-how is that possible)

Craig Morrison

Damn Derek! That’s a long journey from there to where you are now.

Thanks for sharing that.

This year it’s less procrastination and more productivity.

Focusing only on what moves me towards my goals in the most efficient way possible and nothing else.

Easier said than done as I’m already finding 5 days into it.


Hi Derek,
I love you story. I usually don’t read most emails especially affiliate marketing , because most seem to be trying to sell something in every email, so I just unscribe to most. I just turn 40 yesterday and I just want to stop living a few dollars here a few dollars there. I need to go back to college and finish what I started which would be an accomplishment for me. Anyways I still have a long way to go. I want to be an exception, I have to be an exception for my kids. Again great story and Happy New Year.

Elaine Puma


That was a super intense email and the only one that I’ve actually read from beginning to end, with intense curiosity. Well done. I say that because I have a very short attention span. I hate canned emails with *specials* *sales* *yay-you/us* drivel.

Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it. You got me inspired to do something cool today. We’ve all had our challenges, thanks for sharing yours. I feel like I know you a little bit more, whoever you are.


Hey Derek!
I was the first person in my family to graduate college. Now I want to be the exception online. I want to create an online course that can help me make 6 figures. I’ve made 5 figures online before but want to push it to 6 for 2015!

Ps: would love to see you make a course or post on how you prep for your videos you shoot! I want to start making videos for some of my readers topics but don’t know how to start. Keep up the great work!


Hi Derek

Way to go! And happy 2015. I would also like the exception to be for the way I see myself – as never quite measuring up, especially in work and manifesting what I truly dream of – to transform into trusting ever-increasing abundance and success.

Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

Jeff Jones

Hey Derek,

I’d like to be the exception by completely recovering from my recent health problems so I’m able to:
1. Get at least 10,000 email subscribers by year end
2. Begin one on one coaching and expand it to at least 20 students
3. Get more comments/engagement on blog posts
4. Really be able to feel like an entrepreneur again.

Your stuff really helps me focus and I know I’ll get there!

Best to you in 2015,



ummm, I thought someone was a playing a joke and then when I realized that this was for real, I became very emotional because this is the story of my childhood. my father went to prison and there was all this drama and terrible situations.
I am inspired because i am trying not to continue the legacy my father gave to me. i haven’t been quite successful, but i am trying.

Montina Portis

Strong story Derek! My mother walked away when I was 18 months old and my father died while serving 19 years of a 20 year prison sentence. Your grandmother gave your mother hope and your mother took action. I LOVE stories of triumph! I will โ€œbe the exceptionโ€ and leave generational wealth to my 3 children. Stories through books (I have 4 published), videos (I have over 400 on YouTube and generational wealth. My children will NEVER have to live in a homeless shelter or the YWCA like I had or endure domestic violence because no one cared. You’re getting more personal with your posts and I think it’s great!


I want to be the exception in the way that I think. My intention is to have an abundance mentality!

Thanks Derek!

Rachel Cunliffe

Hi Derek,

Love you seeing the exception to the rule in those stats and using that to drive you to be the exceptional success story. That photo is priceless too. Thanks for sharing it – and I’ve never commented on your blog before but I’ve noticed a shift in your writing since your heart condition diagnosis… it seems to have made you more focused and energetic than ever.

This year I want to grow my web design business even more. I’ve been working with bloggers and business owners for almost 8 years full time now and while I still love it and it’s doing well, I feel like I haven’t been taking it to the next level… increasing the number of new clients, doing more ongoing work for past clients and building my audience through my blog. I know I can write well when I put the time into it and I know I offer something unique and amazing to my clients but often I’ve been holding back from pointing that out. I’m going to release some short ebooks for the first time and I hope to finally finish writing the book I’ve been saying I’m going to write (and have started writing a few chapters of) for the past few years.

Thanks for the encouragement and a very Happy New Year to you!

Geniece Brown

Hi Derek,

Thank you so much for sharing that personal story. I want to be the exception in my family as an online business owner who earns 6 figures. I want to be an example for women and moms who desire to work from home and make the income they desire without sacrificing time with their children and families in order to do it.


So pleased that you came through your health crisis to good health. That’s a major one, as was your mother’s journey to raise two children and get education and a good job/profession. Inspiring. You learned early from good example and overcame the bad ones. If I could find a better way to promote fiction in 2015, I would be pleased about that. It is notoriously not a money maker, but there seem to be a lot of roadblocks to making it even a minor source of revenue. By the way, my first book was published when I was 70 in 2007. The third was published in 2014 and I have others almost ready to submit.


I’m a year away from retiring from military service and about to have a second baby all before the age of 30. People say I won’t be able to make ends meet without working full time for someone. I say I want to work part time to earn what I need (I also have a pension) and spend most of my time with my wife and kids. I have the skills to sell a product online, and my high hourly rate for side business will make up for less hours at a desk. Not everyone can pull this off, so I need to be the exception. Thank you for your help.

Angela Todd

Huh. I want my work to be exceptional. I want to build courses and other products for professional women, career women, on how to manage sticky situations at home. I have just started marketing a meal makeover plan where I’ll do the research and hook you up with menus to assist… with your kids’ food allergies, your arthritis, your spouse’s crazy meat-and-potatoes diet, and your superfussy kids. I’m working on a course on moving your kids to a new school. I want to hand over the plan THEY design and I research. I will worry about all the stuff we all have to do so that they can go do what they do best … lawyers, doctors, librarians, teachers, whatever it is. And once I get my bills paid, I want to figure out a way to give those services to working poor women who have far more fragile food infrastructures (access to grocery stores, affordable healthy food, etc).
I’m surprised at the personal info you’ve shared here, and moved. Thank you for your generosity with all of us.


Very compelling post. Thank you for sharing your story in such a remarkable way.

Lise Cook


I want to be the exception in several areas. One of those is in the non-profit with which I work. I want to achieve double the goals for which they have set for me. I partner churches with elementary schools and our organization teaches the church how have a sustainable ministry that recruits, screens and trains mentors to work with at-risk students in the public school system. My desire to double my goals doesn’t win me any big financial bonus or awards. Instead, doubling my goals would mean twice as many kids who are growing up in homes like you did, would have someone like your grandmother who believed in you and your mom. Praying for more and more churches to say “yes” to reaching out to these children and changing the world, maybe not the whole world, but the world in which each of these kiddos live.

In order to double my “work” goal, I must be the exception and strive for excellence! My work and days must be efficient. Any suggestions, help and encouragement is greatly appreciated!


i need to figure out how to monetize my knowledge and become exceptional in how it’s done.


I’m looking to be the exception in my town. I recently moved to rural town where most people don’t make or expect very much. I’m going to be the exception. I’m going to build a successful podcast and online business, and show my husband, my kids, and this town that there are more possibilities then they know.


Hi Derek,

Your story was an inspiration! Good for you! I want to be the exception when it comes to putting my healing arts practice on-line this year.

I’ll be looking for more things from you.


Hi Derek! This post struck an emotional cord with me.

Four years ago, I found out that all of my health issues from a young age had to do with a severe gluten allergy. All at once, my health had taken a turn for the worst and I was in and out of the emergency room. I was afraid for my life. It took being in this state of desperation for me to even be open to alternative healing methods.

Feeling what healthy actually felt like for the first time in my lifeโ€ฆ well, my whole world changed.

The part of my life I would like to be the exception in, is my mission in helping people realize they have more choices than they think when it comes to their health and wellbeing, that they are not alone, and that they do not have to live with pain.

I do this with Sound Healing Therapy, which is an alternative healing method that is just peaking its head in and out of the limelight. My goal is to be leading pioneer in this industry, the exception that inspires a revolution in Alternative Care.

Whoa! This is a huge goal! Ha! Thanks again for the question. I look forward to what you are rolling out, and happy to hear about your successful recovery!


Hi Derek –

Awesome inspiring post. Thank you!

Having surmounted three rounds of metastatic breast cancer and integrated some amazing lessons about life, my goal in 2015 is to finish my book on how to see disease as way towards living an incredible life. I also plan to find a new job in the area of my passion instead of in the area of my ‘should’.

Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us in 2015!



I love your story. I’m a widowed, singe mother of 3, 1 in college. During the day I’m a public school art teacher. Last year I started my business. I’m committed to growing it because let’s face it, I need the money! I would like to build a business where I don’t wake up at 3 o ‘clock in the morning worried about money. I love my business, I design fan scarves, and I’m passionate about growing it by giving my customers a stylishly designed quality product.

Heidi Cohen


What a personally inspiring story! It shows that everyone has the ability to beat the statistics.

Thank you for being brave enough to share it.

Kudos to your grandmother and mother for having the strength to turn your family around. Your mother is a very strong woman. Give her a hug for all of your readers.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Sarah Jones

Hi Derek,

I love your angle on, “Hey, I’ve reached 2.5M, which is about 0%. So let’s all be the exception.” Yes!

The way I plan on being the exception this year is by integrating launches into my new business. In 6 months from start, I got to a full client load, which is great.

Now I want to transition to a full launch-style business in 2015, so I can leverage and have clearly defined periods for selling, fulfillment, and list-building.

I love what I do – now I’m going to love *how* I do it even more. Thanks for all you do! I love your work <3



The exception, let me think… I want to make things happen, and do whatever I want to do, thats it.

I might have difficulties very unique to me (anyone has) I dont want them to become an excuse. If I want to get in shape, if I want to build a business and get money, if I want to travel. I just want to do it.

Thats the exception I want this year, its a “meta” thinking which requires a true change from the inside, that is not easy, its like dropping what we are and change it, build it again.

I hope in this 2015 I will keep it burning in my chest. A new habit will help? lets try it. If not then lets look for a way to make things happen, an app in the phone, a system to follow step by step or maybe help from someone, but things have to happen.


Thanks for sharing your story and passion! It’s a blessing when it seems so bleak! Happy new year for joy and being an exception!

Rachel Dimaggio

I want to be the exception this year by finishing the last edits on my novel manuscript and finding an agent! I’ve been working on it for a long time, but this is the year I finally complete it.

Walter Meislohn

Thanks for all the information that you give us. Looking forward to 2015 and ready to make changes as needed.


Derek – you’re incredible. I am so happy that you are healthy and challenging us to be our very best this year. This post was really inspiring. Your mom must be so proud.

Everything about my life has been an exception. Doctors told my parents I wouldn’t even live past 12. So, I’m constantly pushing past fear everyday.

I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in 2015. I just listened to you SYBR courses again — SO SO FREAKING GOOD!! Thank you for everything that you do. I love your work and think you’re A++++ STAR!


Because I don’t know you and this post is related to a business. But I’m open to hearing more. I’d love to have my 2015 be the year of my business and I’d love to pull myself out like you stated your mother did. So I’m listening. You’ve successfully moved me from an ignore. I get a lot of emails from businesses like yours that I have signed up with to get some bit of information. They are all a mash in my head and I’ve not moved beyond just getting the bit of information I wanted in the first place. Maybe this one will be different.

    Scott McMahon (@filmtrooper)

    Hey David,
    I hear ya about having too many emails from different business experts piling up the “in box”. But I will say, if you need to declutter and focus on just one person for one month … I’d recommend Derek’s site.

    Derek does a great job of entertaining and educating you at the same time.

    And, based on conversations I’ve had with people who know Derek … the story is true ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck on your business ventures for 2015!


My writing will be my exception. I have said for years I have a book in me and this is the year. Every day, I will spend time writing about my family’s experiences and sharing them in hopes they help another family avoid the pitfalls we have encountered. It would be great to make some money, but this year is about writing. Thanks for your great post!

Gabriel Ducharme

This post made me want to get back in the social triggers train. Can’t wait for more


Whether this is true or not, I like this post. You’ve captured my attention and look forward to what more you have to share.

    Derek Halpern

    Uh? Why would it be untrue?


Inspiring article! And I’m glad to hear your health is doing better. Eat healthy and exercise regularly, and you should be OK.

As for me, I would like to finish that book I’ve been working on for years. And I would like Google to restore my rankings to what they used to be before Panda.

I can finish the book. But I can’t make Google change a thing. Nevertheless, I will continue to give my best in whatever I do.

Kirsty Burton

Hey Derek,
An amazing read. I also get very passionate when people reel off these stats. I come under a lot of really damning stats as well, that I just personally can’t accept. There’s something that happens to you when you realise that it’s you that make the stats true, not that the stats make you true. I’ve also dedicated my life to helping people be the exception in a different way, and so I’m excited to follow your emails and blogs (admittedly) more closely in 2015, and I’ll support you in any way I can. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love your work, so thank you.


I am the exception in that with my income we have zoomed past the $85,000 (and I was 50+ when I became techy-Becky – I used to HATE computers)! Now, I want to go over $100,000 for the year.


    Becky, you’ve already inspired ME.


      Inspired me, too. I’ve been hanging on for way too long. Time to pull up and climb to the top.

Zach Franke


I want my life to be the exception in the following ways this year…

These are my 6-12 month objectives which when I accomplish will definitely feel exceptional for me:

– To make $6 Million Dollars with the Healthy Human brand ($125,000/week)-webinars, guest blog posts, youtube channel interviews, podcasts, HHA, sideways sales funnels, ebooks/giveaways, affiliate marketing, youtube channels, blogging, google adwords, facebook ads; get multiple interns,
– To run a successful Transformed program and HH kids program in the summer, get at least 150 kids in the program
-Do at least 5 paid speaking engagements; get on the news at least 3 times
-Travel at least 4 times for pleasure/business combo
-Donโ€™t drink/stay out late unless for primary food reasons (friends in town, special party, etc..)
-Get really good at olympic lifting and boxing
-To not let the reactions/expectations/comments, real or anticipated, influence your decisions or the truth
-Redo Health Coach Zach website (Shorter term objective, by end of January)
-Have a thriving presence in the local Cincinnati area
-Get at least 1,000+ local health coach zach subscribers

Thanks for all you do and I wish you all the success in the world this upcoming year!


    Derek Halpern

    I applaud those LOFTY goals. Are you just getting started and starting from zero or are you already in motion?

Sarah Coiner

I’m disabled. But I want to work. I want to make my own way in life. I am starting as a travel agent, and I want to get many more clients this year..

Alicia Bostic

I really loved this article! I am also a divorced, single mom, and it is effing hard. Your mom and grandmother are incredible women. I hope my daughter grows up to be an exception as well. You have no idea how encouraging it is to hear stories like this. I often wonder if my daughter will look back negatively on her childhood, but knowing where you’ve come from and where you are today gives me hope that things will turn out OK – look at YOU! ๐Ÿ™‚ The thing I struggle with most is prioritizing my passions. When life is coming at you from every angle, the urgent things win over the truly important things and you start to ask, “Why should I do this? Does it really matter? Can I actually make a difference?”

Jenna Soard

Seeing you open up and talk about really important things makes me very happ!!! My commitment this year (based on something a wise person once told me,) — was that I need to flipping focus, and I mean like millionaire style focusing. No more mucking around oversharing on Facebook….. Clear messaging, everything going towards a clear vision.

My biz did 106k this last year, for 2015 I’m shooting for $97,979 a month. Lofty? Well I believe in shooting for the stars and if I hit the moon, whatevs….it’s better than wasting time. I don’t want to get caught in the 100k trap that other unfocused individuals get into!

I changed the concept of the pilot tv show I’m filming instead of dating to focused on documenting women entrepreneurs changing the world, since all the cast members are my students / clients, this will be really good for my brand and for theirs…

Thanks for the clarity!! Thanks for leading by example. 2015 is going to be the best year yet, for both of us, methinks!

Fernando Garrido

Really nice D.H. thanks for sharing!


I’ve been receiving your emails for quite some time and have always enjoyed what you have to say. This post was a little more personal and very powerful. I applaud your mom and grandmother.
I understand all too well what it feels like to make huge sacrifices and changes to make a big change in your journey. Some people love to say “Oh you are so lucky”, without knowing what road you walked on the way or what you may have given up.
Change and success do not come easily or without sacrifice and a lot of sleepless nights.
It’s the people that keep their faith and vision strong that finish the race.
I’m going to keep being the exception no matter what.

Thanks for your inspirational post!


To gain financial independence through my poetry blogging.


    Yoshiko, You do it, it is easier today than it has ever been before! ๐Ÿ™‚

Jake Olson

Derek, this is one of your best emails ever! Thanks for being so real and thanks for being the exception.

I had a conversation with my boss the other day – he’d been talking about getting into house flipping – I thought it was an awesome idea. I mentioned it in a conversation and he said: forget about that, we’re not going to do that.

I was like “Why?” he goes “I talked to this guy at our church who used to do that, he said that we’d probably fail and that most people who get into that kind of business regret it.”

I was floored. I was “Dude – WE’RE NOT MOST PEOPLE!” We’re the ones who spent the summer in Turkey and ran our company remotely from a cafe and swam in the Mediterranean with our kids every afternoon. We’re the ones who are killing it it in e-commerce, when I’m sure ’90 % of all e-commerce ventures fail in the first year’ or some stat like that. ”

I’ve been thinking along those lines ever since. We’re the ones who defy the odds, and that’s what makes us special.

I’m glad you do too!


Loved that email! Never knew that about you. I plan on being an exception this year by taking my “side gig” (i.e. style blog and business) full time and making a living off of an online business that has nothing to do with success coaching or showing other people how to make money.

Zippy Courses (just bought this) will be a big part of this.

After the course, I’m getting into apparel. It’s happening! Who knows, you may even see Derek wearing one of my shirts soon (I promise, it will fit perfectly).

Here’s to 2015!



As a social worker, I’ve been told for many years that I’ll never be able to make decent money. That I’m supposed to just accept the fact that social workers are underpaid and overworked. I love my profession and I love helping people, but I want to use my degree and be valued for my work–monetarily and otherwise.

I want to be a social worker who makes six figures. I probably won’t be able to do this by practicing social work in the traditional sense, so I want to create a career for myself that allows me to to be a kickass social worker and be wealthy.

That is how I will be the exception.


    Hey Akirah,
    wishing you success in future sucessful career!!!
    I know a few social workers, but non of them dream what you do, think it’s imposible to have it all. But, you know everything you can imagine and visualise is possible! Do it ๐Ÿ™‚

Akash Thakkar

Definitely one of your best posts to date!


Wow Derek! You are my inspiration now!! Thank you!
I want to make a profit…at least 10% to start….I am still at a 9-5 job…and it sucks! Help me please!


What a story! Very inspiring, Derek.

Gordon Firemark

My commitment is to be the exception OVERALL. I’m working to live an extraordinary life by making positive steps in all aspects of my life.

For me, that starts with establishing a very early morning routine of meditation, visualization, affirmation, exercise, journaling, and goal review.
Today is day 5 and the habit is already starting to form.

This is the year! This is the beginning of the new chapter in my life, where I will be the exception. No longer settling for “average” or “mediocrity”. With the statistics you’ve listed, Derek, it’s clear that doing what everyone else does, being “average” isn’t a recipe for success, but instead… for that other thing.

So, each day, in each thing that I do, I’m striving to do just a little bit better than I have before. Every day. Every task.

This is the year I prove to myself that I’m extraordinary… exceptional.

Thanks for the great work you do! I look forward to your inspirational, informative messages each week!


    Hi Derek,
    Thank you for your emails! I want to be the exception in that I want to change the direction of my life. I have raised 3 kids and now have 9 grandchildren. But now I want to go out into the world and make a difference. I want to leave my part-time Elementary School Secretary job and build a business.
    There’s nothing that makes me happier then when I am helping others achieve greatness. Now it’s my turn to do the same.

    Derek Halpern



Wow man… what a story and what a turn for your business. You always have something else to surprise me.

Now to the question: I want to be the exception in my business niche.

Happy new year and all the best for you and your team

Andrea Beltrami

Your storytelling abilities are top notch Derek – you always manage to engage my emotions!

For me this year is about stepping out from behind the computer and conquering video. Exception or not cracking my irrational fears will free me from self imposed boundaries that have been stunting my success and OVER IT. Watch out world cause here comes my mug!


    I’d like to be financially independent and have time for my two youngest kids. I’d like to discover my purpose and do great things ๐Ÿ™‚


    Thats my goal too, thanks for a reminder! ( i need reminders:)

    Jeremy Montoya

    With your spunk and drive you’ll kill it Dre!


I’m not sure what you mean by your question. I want to answer it but it’s not clear. I don’t know – maybe that’s part of my problem.

    Derek Halpern

    Let me rephrase it: what do you want to achieve this year?

      Lori Vogt

      Making it to the top of my upline in a 2 year old cosmetics company.


I would like to be the exception and break out of the 9-5 rut! Make my own life, run a successful blog that sustains my family and me so I can have more time to enjoy my kids, live a more satisfying life and no longer feel stuck working for someone else and dragging myself to work each day feeling unfulfilled and feeling like a prisoner in my own day-to-day life. I want to go on vacations and make memories for my kids so they too grow up being go-getters and are independent and not reliant on finding a job, but doing something great for the world and inspiring others!


    Amanda… I wish all your dreams come thru. You can start now, doing something for this project every day. Even 15-60 min over a year will accumulate into massive work.


      Amanda, you absolutely can have all of that! Just as Joanna said, start NOW at little disciplines, & changing small habits. Use a journal, give yourself points, & be sure to track your achievements, & failures, to hold yourself accountable. Also, make a vision board of exactly where you want to be, & write out milestones, & a timeline. This works! Wake up to positive affirmations, & say them all day, everyday. Read your affirmations before bed also, instead of watching negativity on the news. I have an amazing list of affirmations on my blog, if you’d like to take a look. ๐Ÿ™‚ much love hun, & God bless!

    Derek Halpern

    That’s always a great goal!

Scott McMahon (@filmtrooper)

Derek, I’m only now catching up on your whole ordeal. Thank goodness your recovering.

Plain and simple … you rock! You may be turning 30, but there is a bunch of us who are a generation older, who are feeling the pressure to catch up where you youngsters have exploded.

Thanks for pushing us to be the “exception”. And I absolutely love the photo. You look so much like your mom!

Scott McMahon
Portland, Oregon

    Derek Halpern

    Thank you scott! Not turning 30, am 30. Uh oh ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Scott McMahon (@filmtrooper)

      I’m 42, and just pulled my back out putting my socks on in the morning, so you’ve got 12 years to look forward to that kind of crap. Haha.

      2015! Going big and look forward to being the exception … even in my 40’s.


        Do more hot yoga Scott! ๐Ÿ™‚ i just turned 40 and im amazed how great i feel on all levels ( well, maybe i need a little bit more Of hot yoga:)

        Derek and whoever reads…
        Looking forward to be an exception in:
        A) sticking to my commitments
        B) creating something that REALLY helps people create more inner peace. And joy. (emotional, spiritual work)
        C) surprising myself with much bigger ideas that i had so far ( and not to be scared by them)
        D) having exceptionally sexy, healthy, passionate 40’s !


Awesome, my wife and I saw you on the Creative Live course with Lewis Howes…and since them have devoured all your content online.

Very powerful and great to read that you will be expanding your focus from just building online brand/presence to living more powerfully overall.

Ravi Raman
Bend, Oregon

Samar | Freelance Flyer

Derek, can I just say – your grandmother and mother are remarkable!

The part of my life that I want to be the exception is my freelance business and blog. I’m not looking to make it big (though if that’s the byproduct then cool), but I am looking to make a difference in my client’s and readers life. Real difference. The kind where they say “We couldn’t have done this without you.”

It isn’t easy to do because everyone sees that kind of commitment with cynicism. But if I can help one client change their image through their copy or blog and convince one freelancer to treat their freelancing as a business and not a hobby, then I’d consider my year a good one.

    Derek Halpern

    Great mission. It’s similar to what I do. And 2015 is to take it big ;-).

      Janet Star

      I am looking forward to being the exception!

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