Vincent Pugliese

If You Are Thinking About Quitting

I sat in my car waiting to get a haircut, having no clue that it wouldn’t take place for a few more hours. I awaited a phone call from John VanDerMeulen, a friend and a member of our mastermind. The usually cool mannered VanDerMeulen was unusually frustrated. 

His business selling bird feeders on Amazon was stagnant. The hoops that he went through with Amazon, the struggle in growing their ranking and the time it took to go essentially nowhere had led him to wanting to give it all up. He messaged me earlier that he was ready to quit it all. Quit the business. Quit the mastermind. Quit it all. 

I was going to do everything I could to not let him. He has a way of thinking, and a process of working, where I personally never doubted his eventual success. The way he can analyze products and research the details of it and have patience to allow it to come together were skills that were uncommon to my eyes. 

But the results simply weren’t there. And he had reached his breaking point. The conversation was the most tense and confrontational that we’d ever had. In fact, we had never had anything close to a tense call ever since I’d met him a few years earlier. But here I was, being the pest that I can be, challenging him in ways that he didn’t want to be challenged in. 

It was obvious in his voice that this wasn’t the John that I saw show up every Monday morning on the calls. If he was going to quit the mastermind, I felt like I had failed him because we didn’t do what we needed to do for him. For him to go out like this would be a sad ending to a great run together. And for the business, I just didn’t understand the plan on what to do next. I am certainly one that can push too far sometimes in this questioning. I would rather lose a friend than not be honest with what I believe, especially when it comes to the potential that someone is undervaluing. 

“So you are just going to quit?” I said to him sharply. 

‘I don’t know what else to do,” he snapped back. 

This led to a flurry of questions about what he could do to keep it going, what wasn’t being done and what the future could look like if he consistently did these things. Somehow, he decided not to quit. He accepted my challenge for him to message we every day with what he did and the progress that he made. Good, bad or indifferent- he needed to do this every day. I told him that I wouldn’t respond to all of the messages. I didn’t want a back and forth where he would have a chance to question himself. We just needed to develop a habit and momentum. 

He accepted. For the next few months, he messaged me every single day. What he didn’t do was quit. Months later, he continued the accountability with Ken Carfagno, who needed the back and forth like VanDerMeulen did. 

Two years ago, ready to quit all of it, VanDerMeulen made a decision to bet on himself. Every day, he was going to do something to progress this business. And every day, he did.

Last Friday, on his birthday no less, he finalized a deal where he sold the business to a group of investors for nearly a half million dollars. Which immediately got us to coin him the nickname of John VanderMillion. It might be my favorite story to come out of Total Life Freedom since we started because of what he struggled with, the work he put in and the results it created. 

It’s easy to quit. The timing wasn’t right. The market wasn’t there. There is too much uncertainty. What’s hard is to keep going when you have lost hope. To get up the next day when you aren’t feeling it and to still do the work. To put a smile on your face and work when you have little confidence in yourself and even less in your business. 

Everyone struggling wants to know how to get things to turn around quickly. What they ought to ask is what can I do today and every day going forward to start things getting better slowly. Quick fixes lead to desperate decisions. Consistent action leads to long-term success. When I challenged VanDerMeulen, I had no thoughts of him being able to sell the business. I just wanted him to make a profitable endeavor for his family. 

For him to do that, and to do it so well that it was able to be sold to set him and his family up for the next level of their lives is something that has inspired all of us in TLF. And success brings success. He is now known as the go to person in this space and is leading a call next Wednesday on how to discover potential physical products to distribute through Amazon. 

So, if you are on the verge of quitting, if you think there is nothing there and you are yelling into the abyss, remember John VanderMulen. Re-read this story. Find yourself someone to hold you accountable to doing the work. Find someone that believes in you enough to not let you quit. 

You too might get the word million attached to the end of your name as well. 

– 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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