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This is why people fail to Be The Exception
Last Updated January 7th, 2015

The bank manager told me, “When you get older, you will be an entrepreneur.”

I was in second grade. And earlier that day, I marched into the bank with about hundred bucks and tried to open a savings account. But the bank denied me. They asked me to sign on the dotted line, and I didn’t know how to write in cursive.

“How did you get all this money anyway,” the bank teller said. I told her about my newly started iced tea stand at the post office.

And I’ll never forget her response: “You should start one here at the bank corner too!”

Then, it was official. I had two iced tea stands. One at the post office, one at the bank, and I was rolling in the dough!

This might seem like a silly story about my childhood but I’m sharing it with you today for one reason:

When you’re a kid, people encourage you to pursue different things like iced tea stands… they encourage you to Be The Exception

…But when you’re an adult, they’ll talk you out of it.

I started my first business in college. And even though I graduated from college in 2006, and the business just pulled in five figures in a month (IN A MONTH), many people told me to “get a real job.”

I ignored them. I knew I was doing the right thing because I saw my bank accounts. And I proceeded to live an exceptional life: I bought a place on Long Island, visited 40 states over the course of a summer, and continued crushing it with my business.

But the nagging never ceased. “What you’re doing won’t last forever. You need a real job,” they said.

Graduate high school, go to college, go to law school, and become a lawyer was the path my family wanted me to take. It’s what my one aunt did and she was making a lot of money. The entrepreneur thing made people uncomfortable. And instead of providing support, they wanted me to quit.

My desire to Be The Exception hit a brick wall.

What’s strange is, even when I worked in corporate america, and I’d tell my boss, “I plan on becoming a CEO of a large company,” she’d fire back, “There’s more to life than work you know.”

Again. The brick wall.

And even though I’ve always seen this with my career aspirations, maybe you’re looking to “Be The Exception” in another area of your life.

Maybe you’re looking to get fit this year and you’re eating healthy. I’m sure you’re going to have a friend or two saying, “Why are you eating like that? Don’t you want to LIVE a little?”

Or maybe you’ll do something crazy like spend $310 on a haircut, feel great about it, and people will barrage you with “That haircut doesn’t look worth it” type comments.

The question is WHY?

Why do people take a figurative piss all over your plans to Be The Exception?

I don’t believe people do it maliciously. Instead, I believe they’re projecting how they feel about your desire to beat the odds on you.

Not how you should feel, but how THEY feel.

Maybe they already gave up. Maybe they have different priorities. Maybe they have the same goal and don’t want the competition. Whatever the reason, people will try to talk you out of what you believe you should do…

…and it’s up to you to listen, nod them to death, and do what you want to do anyway. Especially if you believe it’s worth it.

But I have a word of warning:

There’s an even BIGGER enemy that tries to prevent you from pursuing your desire to “Be The Exception.”

It’s not other people, it’s not technology, it’s not lack of time, it’s not lack of funds, it’s not any of those things.

The enemy is you.

If there was a Most Wanted List for people who will try and stop you from pursuing your dream to Be The Exception, YOU are public enemy #1.

I started Social Triggers in March of 2011, a little more than three years ago. I knew the market needed what I planned to create, and I’ve since built this company from scratch to more than 7 figures in revenue.

But here’s what you don’t know: I had the idea to create Social Triggers, and registered the domain for the first time, back in 2009, a few years earlier.

Why did I wait so long to pull the trigger?

Yes, I’m doing real well right now. Social Triggers has launched 4 successful products. I also splurge on vacations, expensive suits, and dinners at fancy restaurants.

Also, just recently, I moved into an apartment overlooking Central Park in NYC. It’s real expensive, but hey, I work for it.

However, I can’t stop thinking, if I had started earlier, I could be doing MUCH better than I’m doing right now. MUCH BETTER.

(Isn’t that true for most of us? If we start doing something sooner rather than later we’d be better off, right?)

But I didn’t.

I waited. And waited. And waited.


At the time, I told myself I had other priorities. I was in the international division of a Fortune 100 company and I didn’t have any time.

Plus, even though I was ready to quit this job, had already registered SocialTriggers.com as a domain, and wrote 2 unpublished articles, I told myself:

“How would I make enough to live?”

“What if this idea is a complete failiure?”

“I have a mortgage! I NEED this job.”

“There’s NO WAY this will work.”

“Am I just running away from a good thing?”

And other EXCUSES.

I regret it, but now I know I righted the ship and feel GREAT.

I tell myself that I’ll never be the person that talks myself out of doing something again…

…but I know that’s a lie. Just last year I told myself I was going to take fitness seriously. And while I did go to the gym about 100 more times than the previous year, I didn’t hit my goal to go 3 times per week because I lied to myself and said, “I just don’t have the time.”


The other day I challenged you to “Be The Exception.”

And many of you accepted.

I appreciate that. Seriously. A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to surround myself with people who inspire me – and nothing inspires me more than people who strive to be the exception.

Even if you’re not there yet, it’s the hunger that makes me feel alive. Just take a look at the BIG PLANS some of your peers shared:

Plan #1

Plan #2

Plan #3

Now look closely at each comment.

Whether you’re trying to write a book, put blenders in every classroom, or quit the 9-5, it’s clear that financial success can make things MUCH easier.

That doesn’t mean you need Forbes money. In some cases, like with my mom, financial success meant getting off welfare and supporting her family on a middle class wage.

And whatever your number is, I can be sure it will be a lot easier if you start – and grow – your business.

I believe running a successful business is one of the secrets to happiness in life.

Especially when you’re running a business that you’re passionate about, a business that gives you the freedom to do what you want when you want, a business that you love.

Now since you subscribe to Social Triggers, you likely already have a business – or have a business idea.

And in my next email/post, I’ll share the #1 reason why people make less than they deserve. (If you’re new here, make sure you sign up for the newsletter. If you don’t you’ll miss it).

But for now, here’s what I want from you:

I know you want to Be The Exception. However, I’d love to hear what’s holding you back…

Is it lack of support? Is it yourself? Whatever it is, I’d love for you to share the specifics in the comments.

And, then, I want you to say it with me: “Yes, this was holding me back, but NO MORE!”

So leave a comment now.

And also: if you know anyone else who wants to Be The Exception this year, do them a favor and pass this on.

Spread the love!

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145 comments Leave a comment

Hello Derek,

I am a subscriber of Social Triggers, I wanna be a writer but the fact to quit the job and become a writer seems to be a bit risk. I doubt whether I will succeed. I wanna be a blogger like you and want to share knowledge with the world, inspire other like the way you do. But my job takes a lot of time, daily routine household work, fitness routine all things mug up all the time and then i feel very bad about everything and feel sad and confused that how am I going to full fill my dream to become a blogger & writer like you. Any suggestion plz..?


Hi Derek, I just came across your blog and I must say that I totally agree with you. I want to be the exception too. I’ve always wanted to. I have done things differently and done different things from my peers all my life. Sometimes, I’ve achieved success and sometimes I just failed. But it gave me solace to know that I did things MY way even if I failed. I am currently in one of the most prestigious law schools in my country, a law school many would kill to get through. Though I cracked the entrance quite easily, I found out that the way I had prepared was entirely different from the way most of my peers prepared. But now, I am not sure what I want to do with my life after law school. Corporate jobs which pay a lot of money seemed good enough until now. I’ve always been interested in writing and have a great passion for animals. I think these two passions define me and I really want to start a business venture on similar lines. I haven’t exactly figured it out yet, but your article gives me inspiration. People around me have often mocked me for my passions and told me that it will never work and that I should focus on landing a regular job which pays. I want to be the exception but at the same time I do not want to build castles in thin air. I realize that screwing up my law school career could have terrible consequences later, but I don’t really know what to do about it. I would be extremely grateful for any advice you could give me.


Plain olé fear was stopping me, plain olé lack of confidence was stopping, plain olé running tapes of I don’t deserve it, you are not good enough! Where do I begin, I don’t have a road map and the safety in not trying so I can say I never failed!


Slowly but surely I decided to ignore folks who are NOT in business telling you not to start your own business. So i continue to post blogs, run a side painting company that only works with apartment complexes because they pay on time and Apartment locator in central texas. Money will always be tight if you do not invest in yourself and your business. I just convinced myself 10 dollars a day on FB will keep the leads rolling in, 10 personal visits to future clients will keep the painting contracts rolling in, etc. Step by step.


thank you so much for being a cheerleader for those of us motivating for the next phase of our lives. I lack the marketing skills needed to get my products in front of the right people. I absolutely love what I do and believe that I will someday run my business full time. I have a very wide target audience I just havent learned how to reach them. But I will and I am taking in everything that you are teaching. Here’s to a more EXCEPTIONAL 2015

Bilal Khan

Hey Derek,
Great post Derek. Thanks for the motivation.Beacuse i am Fail all the time i don’t know why i am not get success. i learn alot new things from this post
Thanks again For motivation


Wow. What a brilliant article- thank you!
This year I’m breaking free from my ‘normal’ life with the goal of becoming the exception. In 7 weeks (yes, I’m counting) I’ll be free from my 9-5 job and will be travelling the world, working on my blog as I go.
I’m terrified. That what ifs always creep in- but you know what? I’ve achieved a lot so far, and that means there’s no reason I can’t achieve my next goals.
Thanks again for the inspirational read.

Arthur Palac

I think the whole notion of people puking on your ideas or thoughts of doing something different comes from the societal programming of not making mistakes and not taking risks.
God forbid you fail. Which opens the door for everyone telling you “I told you so” instead of asking you “so what did you learn, what will you do differently, do you need any help or advice to succeed moving forward?”


Thanks for the motivation Derek.
I’m 24, i’m working part-time and i’m studying International Economy at University.. and i am a Dj. Music is my passion. I love how i feel when i perform or simply when i listen to a new record that i like but, you know, no words can explain the term PASSION.
I started producing my own music 7 years ago from myself and i didn’t released any of my works yet, even though i know that my music is appreciated. I’m using the excuses like lack of time, lack of inspiration, artistical perfectionism (that is a bit true) and so on.. when i know deep down that i’m scared. Scared of what could happen if i will succeed because i know i will in some way. I would probably stop studying (that will represent a waste of money to my parents) and i will not fulfil the expectations of my family. When i say that i lack of inspiration i know that it is the result of my behaviours, when i say to my self “you should study for a real job instead of making music”. And it hurts. How can i be scared of something that i like to do?


So, so true. I do a great job of letting everyone else’s thoughts and opinions roll off my back, but I can’t even count the number of times I’ve let myself stand in my own way. Whether it’s through procrastination, distraction, or (my favorite) telling myself that I don’t have anything to offer because it’s all been said and done before, I’m the one who has prevented myself from going after my own dreams and following my passion. This is the year that I’m taking my business from side dish to main dish status, and so far it’s going great (amazing what can when you actually commit and align your actions with your intentions). I’m really excited for this new series you’re doing, the timing couldn’t be better! xox

Christopher Solimine

Rising entrepreneurs are almost always the exception when they are starting out. After a while, we all join together with other great entrepreneurs like you, Derek. I love your blog and your unique personality on Social Triggers TV.

Tony Jay

Hey Derek,

It’s pretty basic for me, what was holding me back was my addiction to a number of other things. I work full time, so when I get home after being with the family and putting the two young kids to bed, all that I wanted to do was veg out on the couch watching TV. I’d have a glass (or two) of wine and then all motivation to do anything was gone.

What I’m going to do about it is get up at 5am each day. Get some of my own work done before the family is even awake. I’m also going to give up TV. It’s just evil.

I’ve already given up the wine each night. 🙂

Love your work, keep it coming.





I was suffering from this(lack of action and impostor syndrome) for a long time and for a long time. Once I made the switch a LOT of stuff started going my way.

Here’s my question

How do you convince a friend that you know is in the exact same place you where to do the same? I’ve tried telling my story and tried tried giving deadlines. No luck,


I’ve made so many steps toward my dream – I quit my job and work for myself making art. I have a retail shop. I’m not afraid to work hard and my business supports itself. That’s all great – but what’s missing is a real income for myself. This is the year that I want to be able to draw an actual, reasonable, adult-person salary from my business. In order to do that, I think I need to delegate. Right now I try to do most everything myself and I need to start focusing on parts of my business I can trust others to do. That’s what is holding me back right now.

Peg Hubbard

Wow, this hit home with me! I procrastinate. “I’ll sit down and get some work done after I vacuum the dog hair up.” or “I’ll spend four hours just writing today, but first, I’d better check my email and Facebook page…” The possibilities are endless; I am a Master of Distraction and Procrastination. The result? I’m not getting where I want to be!!

Yes, this has been holding me back, BUT NO MORE! I’m burning my degree in distraction, and stepping into my own power and ability!


You’re stepping up! Great post!
You’re right, I’m my own enemy. The lack of support isn’t so much an issue. I don’t expect my friends to understand what I’m trying to do. But I doubt my ability to be of real value in a market I love but is crowded (self development ). I don’t see myself doing anything else at the moment though.
So I might as well carry on, develop my personal twist on things, do a lot of research but also a lot of visualising and affirmations!

Matt L.

Dear Derek, and anyone else who reads this comment,

I have always had a desire to be the exception, and was the exception all throughout college and grad school. However, I bought into, and prepared for the idea of having a stable 9-5 to provide for my family. My wife and I do not have children yet, but they are quite soon on the horizon assuming everything goes according to plan. I have had a business plan for quite some time to start a day care business of my own but have been afraid to “pull the trigger” (pun intended) until now.

My reluctance to go forward with the plan was for one reason and one reason only: I chose to listen to the people who are close to me telling me not to put time and effort into something without a guaranteed payout. I allowed myself to succumb to imaginary fear rather than just giving it my best shot.

Yes, this was holding me back, but NO MORE! Thank you Derek for providing the necessary kick-in-the-rear-end to get me going. I now have five clear-cut objectives to accomplish in the next seven days and am about ready to go for objective #1.

Once again, thank you Derek,

-Matt L.

Mark C.

What holds me back from going forward is almost always the lack of a plan that I know will work. I’m terribly risk averse. But, when I have a plan that I trust will work and that has a clear set of actions I will do it. I’m doing it currently, in fact. This is how I am in almost every aspect of life and it has turned into analysis paralysis more often than not. But, over the past few years I have learned that no amount of analysis can predict more than a few inches out. The rest is to complex to analyze until I get there.

To any of you analytical types, please stop analyzing and just do something. Failing is how we win. Man, that took a long time for me to learn.

Peter Marsella

Great post Derek and so very true. In my instance I have never had anyone else hold me back because I’ve always ignored what other people have thought and got on with it. I have held myself back though in pursuing my current business idea, mainly with the excuse of not enough time. Not for 2015 though, its full steam ahead from here! Cheers from Australia!

Kristin Osborn

I waited two years after getting my yoga teacher training certificate before even attempting to teach one class. Then two years ago almost to the day my company merged and I had an offer severance of the burbs…I took the severance and haven’t looked back. I’m now owning and managing my own clients, running a paddleboard yoga program in the summer, and overall NOT STARVING which is what every single person in my life told me would happen. I’ve “failed”, I’ve cried, I lost a “serious” boyfriend, and even had my grandmother tell me I’ve joined a hippy cult (which she is kind of right there haha!) but you know what I’m figuring it out. It is a struggle but I feel ALIVE. Thank you for this – and giving me the encouragement to keep it up in 2015. Namaste friends and if you are ever in Chicago – look me up and let’s zen!


Firstly I’d like to congratulate you on all your wonderful success and a lovely blog.
As for me I have attempted many businessss over the past 10 years and some have not worked out, others I’ve been burned by former partners whom have the business now and are making fortunes.

I still believe I’ll make it big one day but I’m stuck now with as you say paying the rent, I have two kids and a wife that unfortunately sees me as a failure.
I don’t mean failure as I’m a bum, I mean she has seen me lose all our money on my past ventures and doesn’t believe I can become super successful (which is what I believe I will become one day soon).

So my issues now is that I’m scared to take big risks again, as I did in the past, fear of failure or being burned again and my wife restricting my commitment level.

So I have started another business ontop of my 9-5 job (eBatt) I believe in the business but I lack the funds to market it properly and it does not generate enough revenue for me to quit my job.

So I read your emails and blogs and fully agree with everything you say but lack that one thing (risk) I can’t risk it all I have a family who depend on me. If I was single I would happily risk everything over and over again until I hit the jackpot.

Warm regards

P.s. I’m a professional table tennjs coach, I also play ping pong which I will be competing at the world ping pong championship in two weeks

Eli Baraty


I’ll be honest, Derek. There are a lot of things that hold me back – some are important and some are stupid. But I want to start clearing the deck.

Interested in your take on ONE thing that significantly holds me back:

I have too many ideas, too many things going on in my head (hello, ADD!), too many interests to really lean into one of them. How would you suggest breaking out of that particular rut?


Great post, Derek. I have been the Exception at other times in my life, and I’m ready to Be The Exception again now. My buds and I saw an opportunity and developed a product that has gotten great reviews from industry insiders and we’ve sold a little of it — but we haven’t gotten the wide distribution our product deserves because we’ve planned poorly and procrastinated on this less-fun part of the business.

Not any more. I committed to developing a Distribution Attack Plan and am doing the work on it now — and getting more charged up each day when I see all the channels that are open to us. Funny how commitment changes your view of possibility versus barriers.


What’s holding me back is not confronting the money part of my business, as in keeping track of expenses and planing for expenses and profit.
Also, not being clear on my niche, done that wrong twice and stopped there.

But NO MORE! This is the core of sucessful busines, unles I deal with it – I won’t have a business. And I’m n ot ready to part from it, I love my business!!!!

Lisa Neumann

Great article. I have had that a “no excuse attitude” for 5 years now as I have pursued my work. After what seems like more lows than highs, I am finally seeing the rewards. Thanks for teaching me to persevere. Because there will be tough times.
Lisa Neumann
Life Skills Coach
Author of Sober Identity


Great post 🙂
I’m right now in the place You were in 2009 with Your SocialTriggers idea ;] While I was reading this post I felt like You’re reading in my mind. But now I have more courge to just start and not to postpone anymore. Just little steps and the goal is closer every time
Thanks 😀

Kristin Misik

Derek I love your flavor of motivation and inspiration. I think I’ve been on your list since the beginning… Which makes me wonder: if you are going to be the exception, do you think intelligence or sheer determination gives you an upper hand. I ask because I have been slogging along with a lot of determination and a mere fraction of your income for more years than you. And what I notice is you are exceptionally intelligent. As is Marie Forleo and Jonathan Fields, both graduating at the tippy top of their classes. I posed Jonathan this same question last year when he wrote a similar post. He said he was going to get back to me in the form of a post/podcast or whatever, but I don’t think he has done so yet. Some people have the advantage, and I can’t help but think it always boils down to intelligence over determination. Thoughts? Thanks so much for your genius, it has made me smarter!


    If success only boiled down to exceptional intelligence, then any university professor or researcher with a lick of drive could easily become a millionaire — and we know that the majority are not.

    In my experience, determination has been the much more important factor. I worked for 15 years as a financial advisor and realized that my wealthier business clients were certainly not dumb, but far from exceptionally intelligent.

    But if you want move out of the “opinion” stage of this argument and would like empirical back-up, check out this short-but-fantastic TED Talk from Angela Lee Duckworth about “grit” — it will erase your doubts that you don’t have what it takes to reach your goals… IF you have the passion and drive to keep you moving forward.

    Check it out at:

      Kristin Misik

      Thanks Dave for your perspective. I just hope for myself and anyone else out there who wants to be the exception but finds themself being the rule, that determination is an asset and not a liability. You know when some is determined to make a failed idea/company/project a success? That’s a slippery slope. I’m chrocking out the TED talk now:)


Just what I needed to hear! All that’s required is a new plan of attack. Thanks again…


Derek, thank you so much for all that you share. I agree wholeheartedly with what you bring to light in this article. It’s not new information by any means, but it is in the positive way you say these things and the way that you motivate and remind a lot of us of what we already know that rings true. Thank you again for that.

I am, too, victim of my own mental floggings, always running around in my own head telling myself, “I just can’t fit one more thing in,” or on my better days but still not great, “If only I get this done, then I can start doing what I really want to do.” I am a homeschooling stay at home mom of 3 happy tornadoes and have run my own businesses over the years. Running a business has always taken a back seat to my family duties and unfortunately it’s sometimes in a different car altogether. Having only discovered in recent years that I have adhd, I have troubles with staying on task as well and as Sarah Jordan put it above, ” I act FAST and then think later. I have TOO MANY IDEAS syndrome.” That sums me up nicely.

My entire life I have heard, ” you have too many ideas/things on your plate/projects, slow down” or as my husband used to tell me when I asked him why he didn’t support my ideas, “I can’t support something until I see results.” Down side is I started to listen to everyone even though I knew, I KNEW, that life is what you make it and you should always, always, always reach for the stars. So the mental battle within me began and lasted for many years.

Your article is perfect for me at the perfect time. While I still want to do ‘everything’ I now have a’partner in crime’ that will help me stay laser focused. You see my husband and I decided to take our 3 children and live on a sailboat for a year as a trial period and learning curve to quite probably become live aboards, abroad. (quite out of character for my straight laced husband, but right up my alley 🙂 ) While that, in itself, is enough of an exception to the norm, I am running with this and making it something more.

I am currently developing my business plan around this new adventure. I plan to blog/vlog, use social media and network like crazy (in a good way) to document this coming year. We are a family of 5 that live in a congested metropolitan city in a extremely full 4 bedroom house. We are selling practically everything that we have amassed for the last 18 years, (nothing that can’t be replaced of course) buying a sailboat and moving in it in the next 3 months. Oh, and did I mention we have never sailed?


This is so true, Derek. Each day I strive to get out of my own way. What’s holding me back is definitely me and the thoughts and doubt I feed myself. What ends up happening is, I talk myself out of an awesome idea. I too have delayed the launch of my company, and guess what the name of the company is: “LAUNCH!” How Ironic that I named a company launch, when I’m afraid to launch myself. I am working on this more and more each day, by creating to do lists and staying on task. Also positive affirmations do help too.


I have a good full-time job, and it has been primarily the sole income for my husband and I for several years. it is very unfulfilling. I own a health coaching business. My fulltime job is emotionally draining and I have convinced myself that I don’t need another thing on my plate. I have convinced myself that I can’t make enough money to quit the office job to pursue full-time coaching and writing. But coaching is what I LOVE and am good at. No more putting it aside and sighing. This is the year. You have been a huge inspiration. I am my biggest critic and procrastinator in this area. I am a great educator and motivator—just not obviously myself in relation to my business. NO MORE.


Great post. What has held me back in the past is saying ‘yes’ to other people and not realising that often means saying ‘no’ to myself. But since I started reading your blogs and watching your videos, that’s all changing. And 2014 saw improvements when I’d expected a real downturn.
I will no longer allow other people to feel entitled to spend my time for me.


Hi Derek, may I ask if you’re still single? The reason I asked is because you didn’t make any as one of the things that’s holding you back aside from mortgage, etc… i’ve worked for 16 yrs, married with 2 kids, and the thing that prevented me from doing what i had to do is the daily grind of life, i.e., the bills, tuition, mortgage, insurance, etc
It hurts to think thay working for 16 yrs didnt give me the financial freed that i so deserve, but now i’ve made that leap of faith- quit my job and start working on my website. Were living on one-income right now…

Aurelie Chazal

I’m holding myself back because I don’t think I have what it takes to make it. I keep looking at what others do and how they become successful so quick and I am struggling and think that maybe I don’t have what it takes.

But as you said “NO MORE”.
I am not working for myself yet but doing marketing for an awesome startup. This year I will manage to make our blog a success and bring in at least 100 new paying customers! This might sound like nothing but it would be a huge success for me.


Awesome post, Derek, I just got more inspired!

I followed the natural path – I graduated from college, twice actually and cum laude as well, and got a 9-5 job. And lots of people expected me to go and get the MBA degree which I planned to do. However, I changed my mind. I had enough of studying.

I wanted more TIME. Time is something we cannot buy and whether you are rich or poor, we all have 1440 minutes per day. I want to use these 1440 minutes wisely. As most people, I want to work whenever and wherever, and have the freedom and time to spend with my family and friends.

So, this is how I am an exception – I started a blog. You might think that this is not an exception, but it is. I tell you why. I am from Northern Europe, and blogging is not common here. Sure, many people blog here as well, but they don’t make money this way. It is more about sharing their kids’ activities etc and the only readers are grandparents.

Can I be an exception in blogging? I am from Estonia, and I only know 1 Estonian who has a successful blog in the US, and who is making good money with it. I want my blog to be my business, and most of my friends are saying “yeah, right..”. You know what I mean. Some think I am irresponsible, because I am also a single parent, so I must have a full-time job.

What is holding me back? My writing in English! This is pretty much the only thing. I have tons of ideas, but no blog posts yet. I am writing in English that is my third language, and I am afraid to make mistakes. I have hired an editor as well, but it is quite expensive when you are just starting out with a new blog. So far I have only few posts published. As I am writing about personal finance and financial management etc, I want to make sure my English is perfect. But I am confident that once I START, then I will build up the confidence and it will work out just fine.

Thanks for inspiring!


Hi Derek,
Thank you for the great post! This is an issue I am working on with my office team. I dream big and I am trying to get my boss and coworker to see that its time for us to do bigger deals instead of more volume of little deals. Big or small, either way, the deals take the same amount of work to complete but the pay off and deal failure rate is much lower with the bigger deals! The big deals are out there and there is a real lack of personal service in our field at that level. Our rep is built on personal service so we have an opportunity to really fill an empty niche and make some good money doing it! This is the year that we are going to do it one way or another!


I’m a single, homeschooling mom whose been the primary provider for my family for the past 4 years (random to zero child support anyone?) My excuses have been no time and soooooo many responsibilities. Like you, Derek, I registered my website several years ago and let it pretty much sit. No more! I’ve begun building and will continue to be the exception! 😀

I help women who are overwhelmed & feel stuck in lives that other people say they should have follow their passions and embrace a brilliant future! Sound familiar? LOL I’ve been doing this work for decades on an individual basis and now I’m ready to bring that light out in as many people as I can possibly reach!

Thank you for this very timely reminder.

Shaun Supreme

NOT knowing whether anyone will respond to what I have to give them…will I be exceptional? Yes, this is what is holding me back…BUT NO MORE!


Derek, great blog post. I’ve really enjoyed this series. Thanks so much. I’m inspired. Last year I took the leap, started before I was ready. And felt so energised as a result. 2015 is about taking the leap and turning it into power.

Dawn L

Like so many who have commented before me, and you pointed out in the blog, the biggest think holding me back is myself. My lack of bird in myself and my ability to be successful. I get going on a good streak of building and promoting and as soon as I start seeing rests I back off – like I don’t think I can adequately help more than 1 person at a time, when the truth is I can.

Thank you for challenging me to be the exception. While others prove my story to be true I’ll prove them wrong!

Amanda French

Hi Derek,

I looked up your site because it was part of an exercise for course I’m doing on Fizzle and I must say you have put a fire under me. I have started several business doing what I thought was my passion but like you I kept using the no time excuse, so none of them were successful.
Now I have just started to put together a website for my blog The Joy Directive and with the help of Fizzle and others I am going to do this right this time and not use excuses to let it fizzle out (no pun intended).
I really like your style of writing and intend to subscribe so I can get regular updates.

Thanks for the kick up the you know what!


Just quit a successful captive insurance agency that I owned because it was no longer aligning with my long term goal and passion. Amongst other things it was also eating me alive with headaches to a point where the money is no longer worth the trouble. Everyone thinks I’m crazy! Well I found a better way.


Derek .

I think what is holding me back is I keep over analyzing my work and keeop waiting for the elusive “perfect” time that will no doubt NEVER come.


How have I been holding myself back…the list goes on and on. Money has been a big excuse, but also a fear of failure. I hav bad habits that I don’t want to break because of fear of failure, so for a while now, I haven’t been putting my all into anything. I recently quit a job that I hated. I know I could have done better, but I aso knew that the job was not my life calling. I thought I knew my life calling (writing), but now I am not sure anymore. Anyway, I need to find another job asap and am awaiting a decision from one that actually relates to what I wanted to do years ago-journalism. It’s not a big time news agency or anything like that, but it could be a start. If nothing else, it could help me figure out if journalism is something I still want to pursue. The only reason I kept my last job so long was the money. I needed the money and still do…If I get the journalism job, it won’t pay as much, starts at an awkward tim in th year and won’t start until a month from now…I have car insurance and loans to pay, and my family cannot afford to help me…I think a step in the right direction would be taking it if I do get it-depsitemy fears.

Debbie Harris

Yes, it is pretty amazing that I read this article that put into words what I’ve been feeling for some time. I haven’t set deadlines and have a copyrighted cookbook just waiting to add photos to and sell. Have been spinning my wheels for years on sites like eBay and Etsy trying to eek out an online business with the competition right there beside me. Now, I am building my own web store and going off on my own with no competition right there beside, but maybe across the way on the internet. I’m a frustrated blogger that feels like I’ve been held back by being a step down from where I oughta be, a blog that leads to an Etsy store instead of my own independent store where I can really shine. A degreed computer professional who should have a website and will even have another degree soon, a business degree, with plans for grad school. Yes, I should Be The Exception. Thanks so much for inspiring me!


“The Exception” posts are exceptional!

You are helping me push through daily fear I feel about out my new business. I’ve invested long term savings in this venture and when I divulge the details to close friends and family, they love the concept but can only muster up semi-supportive words when they hear about the money I’ve invested thus far. Naturally this makes me further doubt and berate myself for taking the risk.

This is not my first entrepreneurial rodeo and previous business ideas are now defunct. And at almost 50, it’s hard to wrap my head around spending money that I might need for retirement. All of these thoughts mill about my head and cause huge anxiety.

But when I read your inspirational words, I know that I need to see this new idea through to completion. With the help of your “Blogs that Convert” training course, a rigorous plan, and sage friends, I plan to make my business fly in 2015. Thank you!

Drew Gerald

That voice inside my head that says “Just give up, you’ve been trying this shit for the past 8 years, and where are you now? It was a nice run, you gave it your best, but maybe you should just plug back into the matrix. You’ve been ‘this close’ for years, maybe this isn’t meant to be.” To which I say fuck that shit. I’m sorry rational mind, I don’t have any other options. Really, what am I going to do? I don’t even have a vision besides this, besides making my dreams a reality.

Imagine flying a plane by yourself and trying to land it on the smallest airstrip on the island of paradise. Now imagine that you had no idea how to pilot and instead were learning to fly as you flew it. You have no parachutes, no eject button, no autopilot. You either land this plane or you crash it to varying degrees of injury or death. You either land on paradise or you crash in the ocean – and if you survive that you just sort of float around in a raft, bobbing back and forth, until you die of starvation.

Do you understand what I’m telling you? Do you really get it?

This is not a bloody metaphor – this is your life damn it.

It sounds scary, it sounds like “F-that-shit”. That’s probably why so many people never even take off. They just hang around at the airport acting busy.

Maybe some people just co-pilot. That’s cool for them, but not for me. I’m not going to play an extra or co-star in my own life story.

There is no other option. I’m not just rambling off some inspiring bullshit, I’m tearing my fucking shell of a life apart to reach the depths of life itself. This is a plea.

A plea for you to take full advantage of every opportunity to pursue your dreams. Do you hear me? If you’re reading this now, you have more opportunity and abundance than most of the planet. How dare you waste it away not being happy, not doing what you love, not pursuing a life in which you let your gifts shine.

You have more money in your bank account. You have more clothes. You have more people that want you to be happy. I’m not talking about more than kids in Africa, I’m talking about me.

I don’t care what your excuses are. I don’t care that you’re happy with mediocrity. I don’t care that this message isn’t for everybody. In this moment, be damned with everyone else – this is about you. If you’re still reading this, this message was meant for you.

You have it in you. You feel the pull. You feel the pain, the dissonance. You know deep down inside that you were meant for something greater, greater than the life you’re living now – even if you’re doing pretty well – you know that you’re not playing full out.

It’s okay. All of this is okay. It’s okay if you do, and it’s okay if you don’t. None of it really matters, it’s all perfect, and it all returns to love.

But don’t hold yourself apart from that in the meantime. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t play it safe either. So what maybe you have multiple lives? So what if we’re all one? So what if you are loved no matter what?

None of that matters if you don’t feel it. If you don’t feel the love; if you don’t give the love. And you can’t do this to the fullest extent unless you’re living open, raw, broken down and built up better, harder, stronger, faster. Unless you discover who you really are, what you’re really made of. You can’t do that from your computer chair; you can’t do that from mediocrity.

You can’t do that until you take flight. The truth is not everybody is guaranteed to land the plane on paradise – but I can guarantee you’ll never land if you stay at the airport bar and grill.

I’m pretty sure the path that I offer you here isn’t the best, and in fact, I don’t really recommend it to most people. Most people don’t desire it, and that is really okay. That’s them.

But this is you. This is me. This is us. We know we’re not most people, and that’s okay too.

This is the call. This is all I can offer you.

This is my dream. Perhaps it’s not yours. But if it is, my plea is that you heed the call. You will either succeed or die trying. That should scare the hell out of you… but that’s the level you need to be willing to play at. It’s your dreams for crying out loud. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted for yourself and those you love.

What else is worth dying – or living – for?

Shanika Journey

What’s holding me back? Too many responsibilities. It took taking my son out of town to see his father’s relatives to see how cluttered my life has been. Regardless that I am pursuing my passion with as much effort as I feel I’m giving it, I realized I have too much to handle at home.

My family has put both my parents healthcare, finances, and home care onto me. And on top of that, I’m raising my 2 year old son. I’m living the lives of three adults instead of one as a caregiver.

I have a game plan in everyday, every month, and what I want to accomplish every year. But when I hop to it, I deal with my name being called over over 20 times a day from everyone. Then I say I need space to make this work,or take the intuitive to create space, that’s when the backlash turn into fights. So distractions from handling all those tasks and errands, overload, and caregiving has been my culprit. And I’ve been looking for ways to take alot of the load off me so I can focus more on myself, my life, and my business.

When out of town, I only had my son and my on responsibilities to handle and it felt AMAZING. No arguing, no million and one things to fix, no people calling my name like it’s the only one they know. No one calling me about what they want instead of how am I doing. It felt wonderful. I finally just could focus on my plans. My son was never an issue, so play time was more fun because I was able to focus on myself for awhile. Pure bliss.

I want that to be permanent.
That’s my drive to get my business entirely off the ground.
That’s my drive from this year forward to be “the exception”.
I want my life back.

Jaymes Hines

Best post ever Derek!
Thank you.

Also, feedback and comments below it were amazing as well!

Tara Jacobsen

I truly adore this! Thanks Derek!!!


Come Hell or high water I’m committed to being a success and I know you have my back. Another inspiring post.
Thank you


Perhaps when you are a child, many adults think it’s normal for a kid to have dreams and encourage them to live these dreams, no matter how silly they are. But when you are older, people expect you to be a responsible adult who prioritises putting food on the table the way everyone else does it. If you don’t, then you are childish and irresponsible.

I certainly do feel pressures from my loved ones who would like me to get a job and disregard the fact I’m trying to burn my own trail.

As for being my own enemy:

“How would I make enough to live?” – check.
“What if this idea is a complete failiure?” – check.
“There’s NO WAY this will work.” – check.

Another classic case of doubting myself is that despite putting in practice some of the things from your Start Your Blog Right training material, such as being hyper specific and unique (resulting in a few positive comments from people who said my website was the exact thing they were looking for – a far cry from the mildly positive and sometimes indifferent comments on my previous blog), I still wonder if I’m wasting my time on an idea that will never take off.

I won’t say outright that I’m going to shed this mentality by saying “NO MORE to this” (paraphrased) – there’s always going to be a level of doubt when you start out (or in my case, blog for a year without seeing results, though my new Start Your Blog Right inspired blog is only a month old) – it’s only natural, I feel – especially when you’ve yet to see tangible results like me in terms of blog growth and revenue.

But what I will do – and have continued to do – is persevere in my attempts to build a business that I can be proud of and one that can lead me to the Holy Grail of financial independence.

Simply because I want it so bad.

Lesslie C.

Great article – and very targeted to where I am in life right now. I am going to go back and read “Be The Exception.” My biggest holdback or stopping / chopping block is finances. I have NEVER lived check-to-check – have ALWAYS had an abundant life (that was NOT debt-based) with multiple streams of residual income….then life happened in 2008/09. Le SIGH. And now, I seem to live 4 checks-to-check. I have not given up the faith – or the hope – or my dreams, however, it has been really really REALLY tough. Even now, as I type this, I am struggling with a possible eviction from my apartment. Le SIGH. I honestly don’t see how people live like this as though there is no tomorrow – and no hope for one – and no thought to freedom. Once you have been free, its impossible to become a slave – conciously or subconciously. So I have made some very hardcore concious decisions, and am moving forward aggressively with my finances – which will free me up in nearly every other area also. I’m really excited about making my way forward to my next level of freedom.


Another great post Derek. For the past few years I’ve been working on building something that will take me away from my day job and make an impact on the world. Yet even though I was making progress (especially the last few months) I was still doubting my abilities to really get it going. Now I realize that I need to just go in head first and dedicate myself fully to what I want to do.

I had planned to quit my job in March and just got notice that I may be laid off by the end of the month. Ironically I was a bit scared but now I realize I have no other choice and that’s one less thing I need to do this year.

Now the only way to succeed is to give it my all and become the best in my field.

Marcie Paige

The fear of feeling like my clients won’t feel like they are getting what they paid for (ie: what I offer is not good enough) is what holds me back.


Like you mentioned, it’s me who’s holding me back. All sorts of psychological barriers like failing to commit to an idea because I can’t determine the optimal one, or feeling like I don’t know enough for people to pay me, feeling overwhelmed with how much I have yet to learn, etc.

This will be the year that I stop holding myself back.

Keep being awesome and helping others be awesome.


The responsibility of being a parent and we have 3 kids. I feel irresponsible to quit a “steady paycheck” for pursuing my business. But I have also been too lax on myself with my blog schedule. I’m no longer going to let busy nights and feeling tired at the end of the day hold me back. I’ll push through it all.

In 2015 I decided I’m going to give it my all with my blog and post EVERY DAY! I’m going to put in all the effort I can to help shift my reliance on my 9-5 paycheck to working my ass off to bring in enough money to cut back or even eliminate the 9-5 this year.

I’m still of the mindset that I have a mortgage and kids to take care of and I cannot be leaving a steady paycheck for the unknown. So my way of not letting that hold me back is to work around it and work my ass off where I can…

Dawn Montefusco

I have been the exception a few times in my life and though I come from a blue collar poor family from NYC, I managed to quit my teaching job and miraculously start my own business as a life coach, writing coach and writer (blogs, websites) but I have started 2 books and I maintain a lifestyle that is borderline “enough”. Why? Because I’m scared. I’m scared to show my true amazing colors, finish the books, and take the leap of being embarrassed if I fail. The odd part is that I’m a rock climber and have climbed up 1200 foot rocks. The lie I tell myself is that I’m scared. The truth is that I’m brave. All I need to do is remove the lie. Thank you Derek. You are an inspiration.


    You inspire me Dawn (and Derek of course)!
    Thank you for sharing your successes and future successes!


My own negative self-talk holds me back. In order for my business to succeed I need to get out and market myself to people, but I’ve been a life-long, shy introvert so I keep putting it off. I’m good at what I do, but no potential clients know that or have ever heard of me! If I don’t get over my fear soon, I will have to find a job. I’m trying to say more positive things out loud to myself! My biggest enemy is me!!! Thanks for the honest discussion.


    Dawn, I know just how you feel! I’ve worked a lot on those same issues and only feel vaguely pushy when I talk about myself to potential clients now — that progress, of a sort. 🙂 Best of luck to you in slaying those demons!


    wow! does this shy introverted type come with the name Dawn? In reading your post, I felt that I had written this!
    Interesting that dawn means new beginning yet we have a hard time doing just that!

    Here’s to following through, new beginnings and confidence!

Mary Catherine

Happy New Year – Derek you have nailed it!! I am so consumed with telling myself I am over extended and short of time. NOPE – NO MORE!! I am scheduling step by step movement to launch and get off this tomorrow train!!
Sending you wellness in the New Year..

Joe Simmonds

Great post, Derek! I made $100 selling veges from my parent’s garden when I was five and donated it to charity. I’ve always come across people that have a bit of an issue with goals of earning large amounts of money but it really is the ticket to being able to do some amazing things for yourself and others.

Keep up the good work! Looking forward to an exceptional year in 2015 🙂


I’ve followed you since you started Social Triggers and this is the best (and for me most timely) post yet.

See about 2 years ago I started back into the world of entrepreneurship because I had put off and put off my dream of getting out of the corporate world. I didn’t want to be looking back at my life in a few years regretting not doing what my heart really wanted to do.

But lately I have been having doubts – are the sacrifices worth it? When I see my working friends doing all the trips and new cars I’ve been wondering about the right path.

Your email came at the best time and really reminds me of why I got into this – so that I can live my purpose and create value for others.

Thanks again – it really kept me going.


Awesome stuff Derek! I’m a 19 year old student at the University of Tennessee. My biggest fear? Having to get a ‘real’ job! People look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them I’m working to get enough digital marketing clients to support myself(I’ve only got 2 right now). Anyways, this is good stuff man. Keep it up.


Awesome post. SOOOOO true about the kid/adult thing. People do try to put their own fears on you, and pull you down because they didn’t do what they dreamed of doing. It can be hard sometimes to put the blinders on but SO worth it when you can. Thanks for that reminder DH

Rachael @ Love Yourself Green

This is a fantastic and inspiring post, Derek! And I’m proud to say that NOTHING is holding me back anymore… and it’s really all thanks to reading your articles in the last year. Thank you again. 🙂


Hi Derek,
Thanks for another great post. Every time I see your name in my email box I can’t wait to read your latest blog and I think to myself, “I love this guy!”
I definitely hold myself back with “overthinking” and an “all or nothing” mentality. This year I want to be my own exception.

Petra K.

Already for 4 years, I am traveling and living on the sailing boat. And still dreaming about to start a successful traveling blog and show to the people that other live is possible! I will start today, I am saying myself every morning. But still nothing done!
So thank you for motivation. And I hope you recovered well from your operation!



hey i must say that was some really great info, thanks for sharing and i will keep coming back for more great post like this one. keep it up


Another great article, Derek! And I just want to jump in to say that I’m absolutely the one who’s holding myself back through a combination of perfectionism and fear over pricing my photography services where they need to be rather than low enough not to scare small businesses away at first glance.


SO freaking relatable Derek. I am where you once were. I had the idea, I heard the tiny voice beckoning me, but I waited around – NO MORE. I’ve started. I keep going. I’ve realized that a lack of perfection or not having things 100% the way I want them is NOT an excuse for inaction. I still keep myself from being the exception by believing I WON’T be able to make it. I’ve had enough of that little voice!


I have to say that these recent posts about “being the exception” have been getting through to me. I have high hopes of developing a spot for my self in the health blogging world. I’m 24 years old and the only college experience I have is at a trade school, to be an automotive technician. After starting down the rabbit hole of optimal health, I have since gotten out of the automotive industry due to the harsh working conditions. The biggest thing that is holding me back right now is two fold. I find that I have a hard time putting into words the information that I know, and therefor I rarely get an accurate message through to the people that need it most. Secondly, the competition in my realm is crawling with experts, although I believe I have a niche that can be successful, testing the market has proven difficult. These are my two biggest blocks at the moment, which I hope to push through soon.
Thanks for everything that you do, sir!


I own a one-guy business. Biggest enemy is myself for sure: getting my ass up and do the damn work! Even though I understand success and productivity well from a theoretical perspective, I have problems pushing myself to give 100% as much as someone “outside” could do. Execution, and most importantly, fast execution is really hard for me. In 2014 I made six figures for the first time, but I’m sure I could do 5-10x that. So far I was trying with willpower, but no success. In 2015 I will try to create a “Support/Push circle” around me to keep the pressure up, because that’s how I can make results.

Thanks Derek for a great post.


Wow, Derek. This resonates so much. What a fabulous piece you’ve written here. I’ve never done this before but I’m going to print this out and keep in a place I go to often to make sure I internalize this.

I think many of us might know some of this already but how easily we believe our bosses, friends, and family when they tell us to “be realistic.”

Cannot thank you enough for this piece.

Rachel Cunliffe

Thanks for another great post Derek.

One thing which you haven’t touched on in this post which I am working really hard on not doing with my kids – especially now my oldest are 6 and 4 it’s starting to come up often is fall into the trap of saying “When you grow up…”

The bank manager who said “When you get older, you will be an entrepreneur” was wrong when she said that to you. Yes, you’re an entrepreneur now, and yes she recognised that in you correctly and she gave great advice by giving you an idea for the next step in continuing to be an entrepreneur. BUT, you were an entrepreneur THEN too!

When my boys come to me and say “when I grow up I want to…” I say something like “Ok cool, but you can start doing that today! You don’t have to wait until you’re an adult. Here’s what you can start doing right now…” There’s always first steps (and entrepreneurial kids have amazing ideas which parents might never have thought of!) kids can take, even if it’s something like “driving a car”, kids can learn skills to get them one step closer.

I’m REALLY passionate about this. Kids (and teens) are amazing and need to feel like they’re contributing things of value and not just passing time until they’re an adult when they can do real jobs and make real changes. I also get tired of hearing the “raising a kid costs parents ${insert huge number} by the time they leave college.

I feel like the “when you grow up what to do want to do” question is like a mental brick wall for kids/teens.. and not encouraging them to be the exception right then and there. I’d much rather people say things like this to my kids “What do you love doing right now? What things are you passionate about changing in this world? How can we help you make that happen?”

    Petra K.

    A really nice comment. Yeah, next generation is important. They have to be sure of them and be able to DO the things. And be conscious about what is important (planet and its nature, health, family, friendship, animals, trees, …) and what is not! We have wasted our time so often, maybe because nobody said to us: you can do something about the world around you and do it now!


I am the exception. Always have been. Sometimes I have been extremely successful. Oftentimes I have stumbled, scraped my knees, gotten my heart broken and shed a few tears. But, still here to tell the tale.
My plans for 2015 are to PPP (Present, Prove, Promote) my new blog and Superpower Solution with the intention of creating a community of followers, who want to learn how to create meaningful, engaging and effective information/ instructional content. Then I will offer a course that teaches how to create quality courses.

And nothing is holding me back.
2015 = I’m doing it the Derek Halpern way – BTC + YE combined 🙂
Happy New Year, Derek Halpern. Stay well and healthy. HUGS <3


What’s holding me back is my fear of not pursuing the right path. Even though I know I will succeed if I work hard and create something, I may not end up where I planned, but I will end up somewhere, and I will be happy to be there.


OH YES! I would get in my own way time and time again but this year NO MORE! I’ll BE THE EXCEPTION.


What’s holding me back? trying to do a little of everything instead of identifying the most important thing I can do right now and finish it. Unhealthy habits; food choices, lack of sleep. Right off the bat this year I had a huge financial hurdle to overcome. Of course it was bigger in my head, keep me up at night and made my stomach queasy! Today, my problem was resolved and the resolution is so much more doable than I anticipated. With this good news I don’t want to create any more barriers in my life. I may come upon some barriers but I’m not going to create them anymore!


I suppose that what’s holding many people back is a lack of certainty. What is the most used excuse to NOT start something? It’s not other people, lack of motivation, time or passion. It’s that you don’t have any certainty that you will succeed. You don’t want to invest your time, effort and money into something that isn’t certain.
It is interesting that the reason why people are successful, is they were risking, they failed, but they learnt and didn’t give up. If someone told you that you will be successful when you do this, would you go for it? Absolutely YES!
I was also struggling with this lack of certainty, I didn’t want to invest my time or even money(150$ for me as a high school student isn’t a small amount of money) in order to start my blog. But I realized that what I can lose? I still have a place to live, I am still student, my parents still have money for me. I can only win and I need to share my knowledge and experience with the world.
Then I started my blog where I am sharing posts about leadership(leadership in business) and personal development. So it was a little bit easier for me. Because I had those certainties and a lot of time to test which path I should choose.
Thank you, Derek for this article!

Victor Ijidola

Great post, Derek. Actually, I agree.

Sometimes we are just our worst enemy. Not too long ago when I started my blog, I saw various testimonies about how guest blogging changed the lives of many bloggers.

Really inspiring. But then, I was more about how those lives where changed. I wasn’t looking at how those bloggers created killer contents that really showed their expertise.

Then I started submitting guest post pitches to popular media outlets. Some of which you’d know if I mentioned them. I didn’t look I my size to theirs. I had the guts to pitch them without thinking twice.

Yes, most they were sending me replies, because I had researched the best methods of pitching editors. But they all turned me down.

Then I sat down just once and decided to write something of good quality. I did. I spent more time on a single article than I ever did. Sent it to a popular media outlet, and boom, I got my first major guest post on a top publication.

Really, if I wasn’t my own enemy at first, my journey would have been a lot faster


Lack of funds ALWAYS seems to hold me back. I know what I want and how I can help. However, I need a coach and/or mastermind with real and true action takers and accountability. I know that comes at a price tag that I simply don’t have at the moment. Going through training courses bores me to death even though I pay quite a bit of money for them.

I’m going to focus on making money with the things I do now and stack up enough chips to do something significant that actually MEANS something to me and the people I’m working with.

I think I’m lacking a purpose. A true and honest one. Not a made up, airy-fairy, everybody has this one so I should too type purpose. Taking care of my family. Meh. Living the high life. Meh. Helping people. Meh. It’s all crap to me. Doesn’t really MEAN anything.

Ooh… I found one. Working with Peter Diamandis. Now THAT’S something I can get behind. Being able to contribute money and leadership to causes on IndieGogo and Kickstarter that I actually believe in. Now THAT’S something I can get behind. Problem is, I still feel like I need a bunch of money to make this happen.

Whatever. I’ll figure it out. Just like that guy in Think and Grow Rich who wanted to work with Edison. Can’t remember his name but definitely remember the story. Okay. I’m off my soap box. Thanks for letting me rant.

Stacy Cox

What’s been holding me back? Being too timid to speak up when I’m being taken advantage of – contributing more than my share of time, energy and money in business and at home. Being Superwoman is no fun when you are surrounded by slackers! Starting today I will carve out resources to invest in myself – my health, career and happiness. 🙂

Brenda Cadman

This topic has been on my mind in a big way in the past few weeks. One of my new favorite quotes is from Jim Carrey and I think it summarizes the mindset beautifully: “So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality.” My new mantra is to Dream Bigger.


I needed to hear this today, Derek. I have a new blog/business idea that I want to get going this year and I want to write books as the way to monetize the business. I was doing some competitor research this afternoon, as you advise in your SYBR training, and found everyone had more specific academic qualifications in the field than me. It suddenly felt like a barrier was going up in my face. But then, I took a step back and thought about something else you wrote, that you have to set yourself apart and make your difference your selling point. So, I thought hard about what I wanted to do and what I wanted to write and realised that I didn’t need those qualifications, my life experience made me worthy of writing this blog. I can be the exception. I can publish my own writing, and I will.

Laura Benjamin

Boy, this post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve had a consulting business, but have wanted to do something more meaningful for people. Last year we lost our home in a Colorado wildfire. I started speaking to groups about what it was like to cope with that loss and now I’m being encouraged to “go big” with the book and taking my speaking to the next level. And just this morning, I decided it’s time to go for it. Thank you as always, for your inspiring and helpful encouragement. You have helped in more ways than you might know.


I want to create my own business around younger people and their families.
What is holding me back: trainer-wheels, safety-net, … It is such a lonely place for mie to be going to! I don’t know any-one that overcame my background of poverty and abuse, be self-employed and succeeded! If you see all the people who followed their dream and failed at it, it is scary! When I say out loud that I want to be my own boss and succeed, the reply is: why do you think you will succeed when we did not?!
But this year it will be the year where I will start my own business… No more safety-net or trainer-wheels, ready to fly solo and go for it! No more!!! Thank you!

Anna Smith

The one person holding me back is my younger self. The insecure girl inside myself fights the capable woman that I have become. The girl has help from family members who know the little girl (and all her weak points) well but have failed to see the growth that occurs after a child leaves home, matures and builds a different foundation. Old foundations can be hard to break.

Thank you so much for a thought provoking question. Thank you for reminding me that breaking old molds is necessary in order to move forward. It is great to listen to others– but it is even more important to know when to listen to no one but yourself.

Rupesh Raj



One thing that has held me back in the past, and you have helped me identify it as happening again, is simply not picking up the phone. I have an extensive network and a great offer of help to business owners and executives, but I failed to just ask them out to coffee or lunch, or I haven’t stayed in touch in some other appropriate or effective way. It’s as if I’ve built this Fields of Dreams and expect them to come to me, when all I have to do is stay curious and engaged in their lives.

Yes, this was holding me back, but NO MORE!

Dr. Becca Ballinger

I so identified with this post Derek! I spent gobs of money and time going back to graduate school in my 30’s to obtain my doctorate in clinical psychology, but I am just not cut out for the 9-5 individual therapy routine – and my family and peers think I’m nuts!

Just like your family, mine also think I should go down the safe, pre-determined “psychologist path.”

However, I believe that I can help MORE families by writing, blogging, starting a youtube channel, public speaking, etc. instead of following the traditional psychologist path.

I also think I can make MORE money by taking a risk on the entrepreneurial path (psychologists really don’t get paid that much I’m learning).

Thank you for this post! I really needed to hear this advice today! 🙂

    Mark C.

    Just my personal opinion, but I think you’re on to something. Although, I would not focus on the money. Focus on helping people and the money will come.


You asked what is holding me back from being the exception and for the longest time I didn’t really know but now I think it’s because I’m not sure how I can make money/coaching through my website.

I will be more diligent in following your advise and following through.


@ Rupesh, my comment was not in response to you. My comment was in response to Derek’s article. Sorry for the confusion.

Rupesh Raj

@ erica. Thanks. I meant it socially. I feel cut off. Is that a natural thing to happen with dreamers ho think off the hook?


Because my goals aren’t the goals of the average person—they are much bigger, and harder to accomplish—I feel scared to say them out loud to friends. That part is difficult. And then it becomes a cycle, because I know they are thinking the goal is crazy and can’t happen, so then I worry, “what if they’re right?”. Nevertheless, I have not given up, and I work hard at it every single day. But I believe the lack of understanding slows the process down.

Great post, thank you, Derek!

    Mark C.

    I totally get where you are! It helps to build relationships with people online who have similar goals. They won’t laugh at you or look down on you because they know it can and has been done. There are millions of people who work from home and make a good living – just with a laptop and their brain. But, you’d never know it by looking at them!


Hi Derek- Thank you for writing this. Your post was just what I needed to read. 2015 is my year to “be the exception”. Can’t wait to read your upcoming post on earning what you deserve.

Amanda Leszinske

I am the issue. I set goals, get freaked out and then do nothing as time passes. Self sabotage for sure. Then, my husband says something not supportive and I allow it to affect my activity on my dream.


Nick Stephenson

Amazing post! I started off 2014 *wishing* I could write full time as a fiction and non-fiction novelist.

Pushing aside the “fluffy bunny” approach and getting my ass in gear, I went from almost zero to making six figures in 2014 from my writing.

This year, I’ll be launching information products that show other authors how to do the same.

I was my own worst enemy for years, wishing I could find *something* to get me out of the 9-5 crawl. 2014 was the year I finally FINALLY took action. And I’m never looking back again.

Keep on inspiring people!

Rupesh Raj

hey Derek,
thank for such an awesome blog. I keep telling people ur luck to know me because I am d next big sensation of the country, I never doubt myself.
but there is one question unanswered, I often feel lonely in pursuit of my dream. I feel missing out on something, I really don’t know what is causing this trigger. could u help.

Cynthia Wylie

My fear and reluctance to pick up the phone. My own “realistic” thinking… we’re too small, we’re too new, etc. to attract the attention for a big company to license our brand.


I love your writing. Very Hemingway. Straight to the point but carries an emotional message. I think this topic will resonate very much with women entrepreneurs. I held back on my business for 2 – 3 years before I took the leap. That’s money I left on the table. Haters gonna hate, and I just don’t care anymore.

    Derek Halpern

    If only I could write as concise as Hemingway…

Nina R.

I’ve always been told to follow the traditional route of going to college and finding a real job as well, but after dropping out of two different bachelor programs (in two different countries) I could not be more excited about starting a business of my own. And currently, there’s nothing holding me back! I am working on opening my own pole and aerial fitness studio, and have spent the last six months working on my business plan, financial projections and all that good stuff. I finally submitted my start-up loan application on Monday, and while I’m now waiting to see if I get the money, and waiting to hear back from the landlord of the studio space I want to rent, I know that even if I get a no from either of those I’ll find another way to get what I want.


You’re crushing it and you inspire me. The first thing out of my mouth was going to be my disability. I’m blind. Not kinda, legally blind. Really freaking, totally, only see black blind. I lost my sight almost 11 years ago in an accident. Then, I said it was me. The above post is truth. Real. Tough love. And I thank you for it. It’s what I needed to hear today and will help me continue through this maze of darkness. You know what’s cool? I’ll see again one day. And by then, I’ll already have a successful business of my own. Then, I’ll make it better…

    Mark C.

    Perhaps you could start a blog for the blind blogger.


    Of all the inspirational responses I read here today, yours was the one that I have to place at #1. Thanks so much. Good luck to you.


One of the things that I find holds me back is that I’m limited by my worldview; my perspective and my frame of reference.

I’ve been doing a lot of work around my business positioning in the last several months with a business strategy coach. One thing that keeps coming up is a tendency to devalue what I do and the results it can achieve (even when I’ve SEEN the results!) because it’s just “what I do.” Seems like common sense everyday, to me, so it’s got to be common sense to everyone right?

I’ve seen similar trends when it comes to price points. I recently raised my fees 3-5X and it freaked me out. But I’ve sold more (volume and dollars) at that level than I ever did at the lower level. Again, my context and frame of reference is telling me that those rates are “so high” that I’ll price people out. The reality is — when to my ideal client sees those rates, they don’t blink And in fact, the lower prices actually priced them out more than the higher ones ever will.

Consciously I know this, but it’s still something I have to keep reminding myself of in order to blow through those self-imposed limits. Continually pushing the frame of reference that I’m operating within, being aware of what’s going on around me (and fighting against the tendency to let confirmation bias run amok), and surrounding myself with people who are more representative of the aspirations I have … all key components of being the exception.

Clarence Hendricks

Hi Derek,
My wife and I own luxury candle company located in Laguna Beach, CA called, what else, Laguna Candles. We experienced a major growth spurt in 2014. We shipped our first full 45 foot container of candles to a distributor abroad. It just occurred to me that we haven’t quite figured out what we did to attract this great opportunity but we are deeply grateful and want to repeat it again and again. Should we stop to savor or should we push on to repeat what happened. It was a success but “what now” is our question. Maybe we should just focus on not getting in our own way.


Hello, this is probably one of the first times I’ve commented on an article I read and I’m a journalist lol.. Anyway, long story short. The article you just wrote embodies my life. I preach this to so many people and they say exactly what you have written. I recently graduate Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and now have an opportunity to travel the world doing a documentary with expenses paid because I decided NOT to take a generic job out of college. I really appreciate this article and have signed up to read more!

Larry Phillips

The greatest roadblock or barrier to discovering ones true passion is FEAR. That little four letter word demoralizes many a great man or woman who could have gone on to great things. There is a great quote from an unknown author that I am sure many successful entrepreneurs are quite familiar with, it reads as follows:

“The greatest entrepreneurs in the world are willing to spend a few years of their life doing what others wont do so they can spend the rest of their lives doing what others cant.”

Why is that? Well, great entrepreneurs recognize fear and learn to embrace it. They understand that fear is a part of everything we do as human beings, and learn to channel those feelings of fear into controlled emotion.

Simple, of course not. But recognizing that fear is our greatest roadblock is one of the first steps that steers us around the roadblock and on to a path of true self-discovery.


Fear and uncertainty is holding me back…
what if…
Invest my time and money in the wrong business.
I can’t do it and fail
I get to big and it takes time away from my family
I am still not fullfilled

NO MORE EXCUSES. I am so ready to be the exception. I am going to poor my heart and soul into a single business idea for a full year. No more uncertainty or looking at other options. I am going to be focused. I will face the feer head on and come out the other side, wiser and braver.
Thank You!!!

    Mark C.

    Perhaps you need a plan to follow. Something written by someone who’s already done it and made it work. There are several out there.

Rick Jantz

Hi Derek. I really enjoyed this post and shall do a better job following you this year 🙂 I am my own worse enemy and keep stepping on my own toes. I “opportunity-jump”, never letting myself stay focused on one thing long enough to give it a chance to succeed and let me work from home. That’s what I need in 2015. .. That focus, passion, and drive to work a plan. Thanks for your inspiring post.

Kevin Kermes

Great piece, Derek. It sounds like things are getting really clear intrinsically for you. That’s been a work-in-progress for me for years and, once I got there (very recently, I’ll add), it’s been as amazing as it has been clarifying. I’m truly happy for you.


It is weird how true this is… When you’re 12 everyone pushes you to be more ambitious and more successful, and by the time you’re 22, then they’re pushing you to be like everyone else.


I definately do get in my own way sometimes! I’m learning to overcome the excuses bit by bit (like vblogging about interests related to what I’m doing – I get worried about, “putting my face out there”). As I am not comfortable with that just yet, instead I decided that when I launch my newest service, it will have an accompanying podcast instead. I’ve been having loads of fun getting ready for the service’s launch, and I am looking forward to see how well it does compared to my other services and projects. If it is a success in my eyes by the end of the year, it will be nice to prove to my family that there are clients out there for my services. It is weird really – they look down at what I do because I’ve only been doing my current projects and services for twelve months, and the family company is over twenty-five years old. Compairing the two just does not work (for starters, what I do is a completely different industry, and they have a leg up because of the age of the company). Yet they insist on doing it anyway. It just brings out my competitive side!


Hi Derek, I think you wrote down what most people “know” deep in their hart but wont , or dare to, admit.
Sometimes (or often?) we need someone else say to us “you can do it, have faith, believe in your self” , those people. Too often we focus too much on what other people say about us.
All the information you share is a big help to not only hear people say that to me but really believe in it myself!

So thanks for all the good posts!

Jamie Logie

Happy New Year Derek and everyone,

What WAS holding me back was the idea there wasn’t a place for me in the already crowded as hell fitness and nutrition space, especially for blogging and podcasting. But I realized that no one has my voice or outlook on it. All of us have our unique angle on something and that’s what you can bring to an already crowded niche. Don’t be a clone of someone else but share your unique approach, mindset and viewpoint on any subject.



It has always been down to money-I’m an actor! I constantly do not pursue things because I use the lack of funds as a barrier. But from this year forward, forget the lack of funds, I’m broke so what, I’ve got nothing to lose but plenty to build upon.

Thank you Derek 🙂

    Mark C.

    Perhaps you can use Murphy’s Law to your advantage. Start doing something other than acting (carpentry, painting, photography, something!) and before you know it an acting gig will come by and interrupt your other job. You know it’s true!

John Shea

Great post Derek, reminds me of the one you wrote about when your friends and family don’t believe in you. Funny thing, one of those guys who was always telling me to “go back to school” now is on board with my current efforts online.

I opened up my own business last year not really knowing exactly my plan, but I did it anyways knowing that I needed to just get something going. I’m now starting to pull in clients left and right for SEO & Web Design and my online efforts are starting to pay off.

I got the local plumber to fix a bunch of stuff in my house in exchange for a website. The local painter is going to paint my kitchen for a website and I’m working on finding the landscaper who will take down a tree for me! LOL!

Udemy even sent me almost $1000 today for a course that took me 2 days to create a few months back, it’s a great feeling!

Laura G. Jones

Love this, Derek! I also started my “blog” in 2009, but soon quit and didn’t start again until 2013. What could I have done with the sheer practice of writing (and actually publishing) useful content and the exposure to readers and the online business world so early? Probably a lot, but the lessons I’ve learned from having gotten in my own way make up for it. I’m always finding more ways I’m holding myself back and working on them. For me 2015 is the year of showing up 100% – going all in with everything I do. I tend to be a Jack of all trades, or creative grasshopper as I like to call it, but there’s a big difference between hopping around to do what you like when you like it and fully engaging in only the things that bring you the most satisfaction and rewards.


Thank you sharing your story and encouraging us to be the exception! My one goal this year is also to leave the 9-5. I’d started working towards this last year and realized that my own fear of success AND fear of failure was holding me back.

Realizing it was a key turning point for me and helped me give myself permission to go for it.


Myself, for sure.

The #1 thing holding me back from the business results – and freedom – that I want, is too many ideas, too many options, and not knowing what to focus on for the biggest return on my time investment.

Jessica Castle

I’m holding myself back by not committing. Growing my business on the side is great, but it’s so stressful balancing the FT job, with great benefits, with the FT job of trying to get my services off the ground.

I’ve decide October 2015 is my drop dead date, and we’ll see what happens. Not holding myself back, any more!

    Mark C.

    I cannot say what is right for you or anyone else but for me it was best to save up enough money to live on for a while (including paying for COBRA health coverage) and just walk away. It’s the scariest thing in the world – until you do it. Then it’s not so bad. One of the most frightening events after leaving the day job was when savings started to run out. But, life provided more business and, this is the really important part, I learned once and for all that things do have a way of working out. You just have to move forward.


not able to get to a minimum viable product because I lack focus.

Mhairi Simpson

Last year my fear of running out of money held me back. Then it came true and I moved back with my mother (which actually works really well, she’s very supportive). Now I’m afraid I won’t do the right thing to get my books (fantasy fiction minus the dwarves, elves and prophecies) into the public eye. But I should stop whining and just read everything you ever wrote. Don’t know how I’ll apply it to selling fiction but that comes after 🙂

Mia Sherwood Landau

It”s so much easier to blame other people and whatever is going on in our lives, isn’t it? Taking full credit for putting off what we want and need to do is shameful. Nobody likes shame. I had a head-slap moment yesterday that involved shame, but I chose to see it as a wake-up call instead. I immediately thanked God right out loud and got busy on my abandoned calling and life’s mission. LIFE did not get in the way…. I GOT IN MY OWN WAY!

    Derek Halpern

    That’s the best part about getting in your own way… you can get out of it.


thanks derek! loved this post – – especially the part about running your own business aligned with your passions as a key ingredient for overall life satisfaction, take the ‘silly’ part out of that sentence;)

    Derek Halpern

    You’re right. Silly doesn’t need to be there.

Kristen Bates

Best post yet Derek, I love your writing so much. Thanks!

    Derek Halpern

    Thank you Kristen. Glad you like it

Sarah Jordan

You are so right, Derek. So many people I know are standing in their own way. My problem is the opposite: I act FAST and then think later. I have TOO MANY IDEAS syndrome. Great story!

    Sam Pilling

    Totally with you on this one, Sarah. It’s a daily struggle to constrain my inner magpie!


      Hey Sam and Sarah!

      I read Billy’s (ForeverJobless) 2015 goals post. It’s so long he could have sold it as a Kindle book. Haha.. BUT, he said something that really stuck.

      He was talking about the shiny object syndrome..or whatever it is that we entrepreneurs seem to have, and he said if an idea doesn’t rate a 9 or 10, he passes. People ask him, “How about an 8?” and his answer is no because he says we’ll get too sidetracked even with 8’s.

      I like that idea because it does give pause when we get sidetracked.

      p.s. For myself I noticed I get more enamored with the shiny new idea if my own idea (biz) isn’t moving as fast as I’d like. 🙂

Cameron McCool

Yes, yes, ALL THE YES! Great post Derek. Thanks for the motivation, and happy 2015.

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