Vincent Pugliese

I Don’t Fit In

I published a podcast episode that I thought might make me come across as someone who is disgruntled, angry and possibly judgmental. I published it anyway. Why Because it was how I felt, and had been feeling for a while. 

The episode was titled I Don’t Fit In, ( I will link it to this newsletter) and it combined the feelings that I have now along with many of my feelings growing up. So often in school, I never felt like I fit in. There were the cliques of kids that always gravitated towards the “cool kids”. Whether we would like to admit it or not, we all have times where we really want to be accepted by the popular people. And if we follow that urge, we might actually get some of that attention that we crave. 

When I was in elementary school, I remember having this urge. There were a dozen or so guys that seemed to have it all figured out. They wore the best clothes, they went to the pool and to events together after school and on weekends, and the girls and even the teachers treated them like they were better than others. It was obvious to everyone that I wasn’t one of them. I knew this way back in the second grade. One of the girls in my class wanted to play with me everyday at school. From the moment that a few other girls came over and told her not to play with me because I wasn’t one of them, I always felt a bit left out. 

The biggest insecurities I still deal with come from the constant feeling of not ‘being one of them’ from those years. It’s probably why I resonate so much with the story of the underdog, to not follow the crowd and to make sure that success can be made by not following what is popular. Often, to my detriment. There are times that I so desperately do not want to follow the crowd that I miss out on wonderful opportunities. Social media is a great example. Because everyone says you need to be everywhere on social to make it, I wanted to prove that you didn’t to be successful. It worked- but it was a little silly because I could have used social in a better way and still did it my way. 

As painful as my school years were, I wish I knew more information before I got so down on myself. The night of my high school graduation, I attended a wild party at a home of one of the cool kids. It wasn’t until graduation that I was able to join them. In an amazing blend of moments and personalities, I wound up talking music in the living room with one of the guys that was a part of that group. I recall leaning in because I was not only enjoying the conversation so much but also sad that we had gone to school together all of these years and never said more than a few words to each other. And this was pretty much the end for our class- we were all moving on now. 

He surprised me when he asked me about my music collection and how he had heard that I had the best assortment of music in our school. I was stunned that anyone in that circle talked positively about me and even was giving me compliments! Time flew as we discussed albums, music styles and concerts we have attended. I said to him that we should have talked in ninth grade! He agreed. Maybe it was the beer talking from the multiple tapped kegs in the backyard, but I basically said that it’s probably because he was one of the cool kids and I was one of the misfits. 

He rolled his eyes and leaned backwards, looking away and then back at me. 

“Man, that is such a bunch of garbage” he said. “We’re all the ‘cool ones’, everyone thinks. Do you know how much people talk behind each others backs? Do you know how petty it can be with how much money their parents have, the clothes they need to have, the cars we drive to be a part of it? There is so much pressure to follow along, to do what everyone else is doing. I am so excited to get out of this.”

After our long, overdue conversation, he came back to my drunken point because he knew I felt pain from all of it.

“You won’t believe this,” he said, “but there is a part of us that wishes we could just be ourselves like you guys can.”

That pretty much left me stunned. They wished they could be like us? How much different would my school life have been if I would have known that years earlier? And I see it now in the online business world. Once again, I feel like I don’t fit in. A friend who runs a major conference, who brings in so many well known, popular and influential speakers, told me that it saddens him how fake and phony so many of the people going on stage are. They know what sells, or what the audience would go for. They are funny, vulnerable and likable on stage. Yet off stage, so many are completely different people. 

If I need to be someone I’m not, than I guess I won’t ever fit in. This time, though, I am more than cool with it. I had my moments of trying to fit in with the cool kids at school. Those experiences left me feeling inauthentic, not myself and I learned that pretending to be someone else didn’t get me into their group either. 

But if you can be your real self, and create something of value around that, you will find your people. The ones who appreciate you for who you are, not for how you pretend to be someone that you aren’t. And if you can do that and create your own little corner of the world for the right people, you might find out that you actually are one of the cool kids- and for the right people this time. 

– Vincent​


An Introduction To The 80/20 Rule

What I want to bring to you, each week in this blog, is a topic that will help you gain the freedom that you want in your life. So many people crave financial freedom. But what is overlooked is the concept of time freedom.  When you can learn to free your time, and be less

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How (And Why) We Should Accept Compliments

I’ve never been good at accepting compliments. Now don’t get me wrong. I want the compliments- sometimes way too often. I have craved the compliments but I was never good at accepting them. WIth that,  I was called out publicly a few years ago on a mastermind call that I was on with John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneurs on Fire. I don’t remember who it was, I think it was Roger Whitney, the host of the Retirement Answerman Podcast who gave me the compliment. Roger is my friend yet the compliment took me by surprise. Others in the group agreed with him and I responded with a very muted, okay, thanks, or the whole ‘it’s no big deal’ type of thing. And John called me out on it, which I so appreciated as painful as it was in the moment. And this is why I love masterminds. And why I love accountability. I don’t respond well when people complain about judgment or they say ‘who are you to question me on what I did’? You can have a great life- go do your thing-  but we’re not going to relate. I like challenges,. Especially when they come from people care about me. And if you can’t take constructive criticism from somebody who cares about you, you’re always going to be limited in your growth. So some people can call it criticism, but it was one of the best pieces of advice.  John basically said to me, don’t do that. You need to be able to handle compliments better than you do. And he explained that we are diminishing the other person’s gratefulness by doing that. And I’ve never really thought of it that way. Actually, I know I’ve never thought of it that way. I always thought that I was being humble. I didn’t want to brag. I didn’t want to pound my chest and say, yeah, I did do that. Nobody loves somebody that does that. But there’s a big difference between being quiet, defensive, and evasive than there is from the bragger. It’s actually two ends of the spectrum and neither of them are good. So I’ve met John many times. I’ve seen him at conferences. He gets swarmed by people, often people that want to tell them how much he’s helped them with this podcast. And he mentioned to me how he handles compliments. He handles it with a lot of gratitude and appreciation and he makes sure that there’s the big smile that goes with it. As well as a giant, thank you. And the appreciation for this person to go out of their way to give him a compliment. You have to understand the true thankfulness does not give off an appearance of vanity or excessive pride. What you are doing is you are appreciating that person’s compliments and giving them recognition. Now I’m going to guess that if you’re listening, you probably don’t go overly crazy on self praise. It’s just a guess. I’m also going to guess that you might go way on the other end and you might deflect or even feel uncomfortable but what’s even worse is if you reject it. But when you reject the compliment, you are not only  downplaying yourself, but you’re downplaying them as well. And without meaning it you’re downplaying their intelligence because if they truly believe in what you did and they’ve truly given you a great compliment, and you tell them that it wasn’t any good or it really wasn’t worth it, Basically what you’re telling them is that their opinion is an accurate. It’s an insult to the person giving you the compliment. So when you reject or deflect a compliment, what you’re really doing is you’re projecting the idea that you have low self esteem. I’m sure you’ve had it where you’ve given a compliment and it’s been blown off. It’s happened to me. And I don’t know about you, but I feel that way. I feel like I gave a compliment, I believed in them and they didn’t believe in themselves. And it made me feel like maybe I was wrong in thinking that way. Somebody else we might want to avoid when you’re in that spot is to get into a compliment comparison. Have you ever done it? When somebody gives you a compliment and you have to give them a compliment right back. Someone says, ‘Your hair looks great! And you immediately respond with ‘Oh, your hair looks great too!’. And they’re like, I’m wearing a hat. And you might think, why couldn’t I just accept their compliment? Instead, I needed to give it right back. And now it seems phony because what will happen is you’ll come across insincere. So to begin with you’re deflecting, you’re getting it away from yourself, which goes back to what we talked about earlier. But you have to think about this- were you really going to compliment that person on what you did compliment them on? Would you have just walked up to that person and said, ‘Your hair looks great today’ when they’re wearing a hat? No, of course you wouldn’t. It’s got to be sincere. It’s got to be meaningful. And it’s got. to be honest. So stop doing that.

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The Price of Perfection

The price of perfectionism. According to author Valerie Young, perfectionists who hit 99% of their goals still feel like a failure. These are the people who are the ones who need to know every piece of information before they can start. I am sure that there are people that are cringing as they’re reading this. Even in our mastermind calls, there are people that will say- no- I need to get this thing done perfectly before I can move on to that next thing. They are the ones that who say things like ‘I’m not an expert enough to teach people what I know’ and that I need to learn more. You need to study more before you can even start to put anything out there. Does that sound familiar? That in essence is perfectionism. These are the ones that are always looking for new certifications or a new skills to learn before they can go forward. The perfectionist just need that next certificate, that next course or or if they can get this next part just right then I can get started. So in the episode of The Total Life Freedom Podcast, I talked about my book and self-sabotage. Today I’m going to give you a lesson that I learned that forced me to actually finish and publish my book and get over my own perfectionism. So when I first had the idea of writing a book, I went to different book clubs to learn. I wanted to meet with other authors, to see what they’re doing and soak it all in. I was hoping to learn from them, get inspiration for them and maybe possibly help. But I really wasn’t sure who or how I could

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How To Reinvent Yourself

And Then Covid Happened… That is a book title if you’d like to run with it. And I’m not talking about anything to do with health. But I am talking about how so many businesses and careers were tossed around and flipped on their side like a swath of boats strewn along the land after

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The Rich Don’t Work For Money

Andrew is walking towards me. He has a tarantula in one hand and a plastic red Solo cup filled with money in the other.  In that moment, it was obvious that he was on to something. Andrew is our oldest son- a sixteen-year-old who who was fifteen at the time. He has always had an

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