Everyone has their problems, and this was mine: on October 20, 2009, I shuffled into a criminal courtroom, shackled like a savage animal with my wrists and ankles cuffed together by a thick metal chain. I looked up at the judge and uttered – for me – three very difficult words: "I was wrong."
The judge looked over at the TV cameras, acknowledged them, and then glanced down at me with a scorned look and summarily sentenced me to two 20-year prison terms (40 years).
Through a byzantine sequence of events that was nothing short of a miracle, four years and one month later I walked out of the front gates of a maximum-security prison. After spending nearly half a decade in some of the most dangerous prisons Texas has to offer, you would think the hard part was behind me.
But it wasn’t...
When I was released, I was handed a $300 check and told, "good luck out there." With nothing left to my name other than an old box of clothes, at 36 years of age I moved in with my father and went to work for $600 a month. Thus, my “rehabilitation” ended up with my having only enough to be in the lower range of the official poverty level. This was a system that sets you up to fail, so it makes my story all the more remarkable, due to the added burdens I had brought upon myself.
Although my father provided a home for me to live in temporarily, I was homeless at times, using truck stops and community centers to shower. I embraced this philosophy:
The moment you stop fighting for what you want, what you don’t want will automatically appear.
It is said that nature despises a vacuum in that a vacuum is inherently unstable; nature will always find a way to fill it. If you have nothing and you don’t strive to fill that nothing with something worthwhile, other things will fill it. Things that won’t help you.
One employer after another rejected me because I was a convicted felon, even though I was more than qualified for every position I applied. The background check is the sentence that keeps you forever incarcerated. How I longed to fall back into the background. Eventually, I was able to get a job selling cars. I excelled and immediately became the number one salesman every single month I worked at that car dealership. Knowing that spending all of my time at a car dealership, especially on weekends, was not going to fit into my long-term goals, I partnered with my brother, Jonathan, and attempted to start a company. That company quickly failed.
I continued to work my butt off and finally was offered a job with a previous company with whom I had a relationship prior to going to prison. I would take my lunch and dinner to work with me because I spent so much time grinding and trying to figure out solutions so that I could provide enough value to protect my job.
I share my personal story of struggle with you not to invoke sympathy, but rather because I believe you may be going through significant challenges in your life as well. Like I said, everyone has their problems, and this one was mine. However, this book and the secrets inside will show you not only how I turned a major setback into a major comeback, but it will also show you exactly how to gain complete control over your life and circumstances. You deserve better than just falling back into the background; you deserve the foreground!
The secrets I reveal in the seven chapters are not theory. They are science-based strategies that worked for me under extraordinary circumstances, and I know will work for you regardless of the current situation you find yourself in.
I wrote this book because I know people want to learn from someone who has overcome extreme adversity. There were several times when guards would come into my prison cell through random shakedowns and throw away entire chapters of this book, many of which took months to write. I would get extremely frustrated, but I would always find a pen and go back to writing these words you are reading now. My relentless ability to not give up and believe in the seemingly impossible is exactly what I am asking you to do. But here’s the trick: what seems impossible is not only possible, but likely.
Will implementing the secrets I reveal to you be difficult? Absolutely. But I promise it’ll be worth it.
Looking back at the journey I’ve had since incarceration, it seems like there was always one uphill battle after another. It seems like I’ve endured one struggle after another. But one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life is that the roadblocks are not there to keep us out; they are there to see how bad we want it. They are invitations. Those who RSVP in the positive get to see what’s on the other side of each. It’s your party, and each chapter you take in is an RSVP that you accept the invitation and will be attending.
The parties I attended were writing the number one marketing book in the world (Instagram Secrets), being accepted into Harvard, building a website (IGBook.com) that earned the prestigious Two Comma Club award for generating over $1,000,000, and being selected as one of the Top 30 Internet Marketers on the planet. Millions of people have been positively impacted by the heartfelt messages I regularly share. So, it’s not just my party. Don’t you see? Everyone’s invited.
How can all of these achievements have been possible with starting all over just a few short years ago, convicted, bankrupt, and in a dead-end job? The answer can be found in the seven secrets in this book. I cannot emphasize enough how much time and thought I have put into each word or how much effort and attention I have put into the exercises at the end of each chapter.
There are a lot of people giving advice these days. The problem is, very few have ever been through real challenges. I know exactly what it's like to lose everything and start over from rock bottom. They say it’s lonely at the top. Well, I can assure you that it is very, very lonely at the bottom. It may be that you’re not at rock bottom, and that will give you an advantage. But wherever you are in life, take these secrets, implement them, and understand you're closer than you think you are. In fact, you’re just one book away. Seven secrets away. One mindset and vision away.
I know, because after I wrote the book, I read the book.
Frankly, the level of success I have achieved is something that baffled even me at first. I knew I had the answers when I was writing this book, but when I re-read this book as a reader after I had written it as its author, I understood completely why I had achieved my success and why virtually every major publication from Forbes to Entrepreneur has written about it, with the Huffington Post even calling me “a brilliant entrepreneur.”
I have been quoted, cited, and commended. If I have become noteworthy, then here, for you – in the 429 pages of this book – are my notes.