Last week, I was sitting on a catamaran in the Dominican Republic (please — don’t feel sorry for me) when this stunning, shirtless man walked up to me.
This is about where I swallowed a brick of air the size of a footlong Subway meatball sandwich, mostly because stunning, shirtless men never walk up to me unless I happen to be either (A) blocking the way to the bar, or (B) blocking their way to the hot blonde on my right.
Imagine my surprise when a completely terrific conversation started with one of the most solid and purpose-driven human beings I’ve been graced to meet as of late. He was so clear with his vision and ability to see that I told him I had to have him on my blog. The ladies would swoon and the dudes would give out metric shit tons of high fives. And underneath it all, there would hopefully be a message.
Well, I knew there would be a message. And he knocked my Hanky Pankys off last night when he sent in what you’re about to read.
And — tune in until the end. He’s giving away FREE copies of his book (and he genuinely wants your thoughts) and if you’re in NYC, you can hang out with him this Friday.
I’m honored to introduce you to…Mike Hrostoski.
Have a guest post of your own to submit? I’m getting through them. Gradually. Submit yours here.
I’m good at a lot of stuff.
I’m a fairly decent writer, I’m a brilliant coach, and I throw spectacular parties.
But everything that I am today, I owe to my parents. My parents gave me so much love, time, and attention when I was young that I had no choice but to be special.
When I was four years old, my Japanese mother would play this memorization game with me. She’d write down 20 numbers on an index card, let me study it for a minute, then ask me to recite the numbers back to her.
Then she’d have me recite them back to her backwards. Then she’d take the first three numbers and put them at the end and I’d recite those.
I don’t know if Asian kids are good at math or if Asian moms are good at teaching math. Needless to say I was pretty fucking good at math.
The funny thing though, the world rewards being good at math.
I was put into the G.A.T.E. (Gifted And Talented Education) Program when I was in first grade and got a better education than the kids who didn’t test into it. I got lots of awards and recognition for my grades. I got full scholarships for both my undergraduate degree and my MBA.
But I also got gifted a heavy dose of perfectionism.
Real fucking heavy.
I was devastated when I got second place in a city-wide mathematics competition in eighth grade. I’ll never forget the kid’s name who beat me: Daniel Bartlett.
When I got a C in a PE class in high school I had a minor existential crisis. I found a loophole though in the rules and retook the class and turned it around to an A. Then I graduated as our class valedictorian.
When I got another C in college I freaked the fuck out again. This time I decided to stick with it and would only graduate with a 3.80 GPA. Gasp! My 4.0 GPA was shot.
And then in my MBA program I did everything “right.” Class President, the top 15% of our graduating class, and every possible honor on graduation day.
I was addicted to perfect.
But the downsides of perfect are many.
For example, I was so busy “being perfect” in my MBA program that my relationship with my girlfriend of four years disintegrated to nothing.
I would have all sorts of weird stress related illnesses and weight fluctuations.
I drank a lot. A whole lot.
And I had the need to be the “best in the room” so much that I did it at the expense of others.
My entire life’s purpose revolved around being the smartest, most accomplished, or highest performing person in the room.
And then my mom died. Two years and five months ago.
And if you’ve ever experienced a major loss in your life, you know that perfect isn’t an option anymore when someone you love passes away.
Just making it out of bed becomes a major victory.
The things that used to matter to you become so trivial that you judge yourself for ever even worrying about them before.
And then you realize that life is short and fleeting and precious and that you’ve been playing it way too safe all your life.
So you take some crazy fucking leaps.
Six months after my mom passed away I left my six-figure corporate job without a clue of what’s next.
Two months after that I sold everything I own and started traveling full-time, for the sole sake of being too sad to stay in one place.
Then through a stroke of luck, I met a lot of influential people who took me under their wings and showed me what this whole entrepreneurship thing is about.
Exactly two years ago I was sitting in an office in New Jersey working a job that I didn’t like but I didn’t know what else to do.
Now I coach high performing men and help them live the life of their dreams. Several of my clients are the people whose blogs I used to read when I was sitting in my office pretending to work.
But the sole reason why I’m really here and not still in that desk is this one simple fact:
I Became Addicted to the Feeling of Failure
No longer was I the perfectionist doing everything for his mother’s approval or for the approval of others.
I was a man on a mission.
And I realized that all of my life I had been playing it safe. Yeah, I was good at school and I did everything that I thought was “successful.”
But I was a coward in most other places in my life.
I didn’t kiss a girl until my senior year of high school because I was so terrified of girls.
I didn’t move out of my parents’ house until I was 24 because I was such so afraid of the outside world.
I wasn’t honest with my true feelings and desires with women, so I got what was handed to me: 100% of my relationships were ones I didn’t want to be in.
At the age of 27 I moved away from my hometown of Tucson, AZ for the first time for graduate school. I’ll never forget hugging my mom goodbye, crying into her arms because of how afraid I was to be leaving my family.
And at the age of 29 I moved into an apartment by myself for the first time in my life. Most people do this a decade earlier, after they move out of the dorms. Not this guy.
But every time I took a chance, I was rewarded with something bigger and better.
And then when my mom died, I started to chase my fears 24/7. I started chasing the feeling of being scared, instead of avoiding it.
You see, for most of you who are “good at doing stuff,” I have a hunch that you’re playing it way too safe. Yeah you make a lot of money or you have a successful business, but are you pushing the limits in every area of your life?
Are you fully open to love?
Are you speaking your truth in every moment?
Are you making the world a better place through your words and actions?
Are you really, really, really totally fucking fully open to love?
Because when you taste death, that’s all that matters.
Not some fancy accolades, a million dollars, or your name on a museum.
That’s right, that kid who beat me in the citywide eighth grade Mathcounts competition. I found out that he passed away several years ago and it broke my heart to think that I held a decade long grudge against a guy – a guy who was no longer here — just because he was smarter than me on that day twenty years ago.
Nothing matters except love.
And finding that mind blowing, soul nourishing, full body orgasm inducing, fills-your-heart-so-much-it-fucking-hurts type of love takes a lot of work.
And a lot of failures.
And in this moment, I can truly say I LOVE failure. It turns me on.
I ENJOY when things don’t go as planned now. Because usually everything goes my way all the time. So when it doesn’t, it almost makes me giggle.
So what are you waiting for?
Fail hard. Especially if it’s for love.
PS – I wrote my first book in August. By all means it’s a huge failure already. I’d love to know what you think about it.
PPS – I’m also creating The Conference For Men, a weekend of accelerated growth for 300 amazing men. If you know an amazing man in your life that should be there, please let him know about it.
After the sudden passing of his mother, Mike left a lucrative career in human resources and took a full year off to do things that filled him with joy. After spending 2012 doing hundreds of hours of pro-bono coaching and traveling 12,000 miles across the United States doing volunteer work on a summer volunteer road trip, he launched his coaching business and operates it from all over the world. He’s been a digital nomad since February 2012 and has spent 2013 traveling and working across three continents, eight countries and dozens of cities.
He regularly pours his heart out onto the Internet at hrostoski.com.