You're awesomer than you think you are.

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When I was in 8th grade I was in the boys room at school and heard this whooshing sound coming out of a hole in the wall. I smacked it with my notebook a few times to see it it would sound any different.

Didn’t make it sound any different.

Just then, Mr. B, one of the teachers, heard the noise and walked in, grabbed me, and ushered me back to my classroom. He informed Mr. C, the art teacher, that I had been slamming my notebook against the wall in the bathroom and needed to be brought under control.

Mr. C made me come in after school to talk to him about this incident.

After school I go to his room. There were a couple of other people in the room working on art projects, and Mr. C sat me down and said, loud enough for everyone else to hear, “Perry, I’m really concerned about you. Do you need some kind of professional help? I can arrange for that if you want. Maybe you need to talk to someone about your problems.”

I can tell the girl across the room, who is working on a painting, can hear everything that is going on. But she’s politely trying to look like she’s ignoring it. I feel a hot flash of humiliation sweep through my body. I maintain a stony face and ignore Mr. C’s questioning. He and I had a hostile relationship to begin with, and it felt like he was deliberately trying to shame me.

Finally after 10 minutes of getting nowhere, he released me and I walked home.

Years later, it occurred to me that I probably *could* have used some professional help right about then. My dad had gotten demoted from his job because my mom had gone bi-polar, our whole entire life was fighting and bedlam from the time I got home from school to the time I went to bed, and a couple of kids at school were threatening to beat me up. My only escape was my music, my electronics catalogs and my stereo.

Surely everybody ought to know you can’t humiliate a 13 year old kid into bettering himself.

Frankly I don’t know ANYONE who doesn’t have some kind of story like that. A time when you really could have used an encouraging word and someone decided to rub salt in the wound instead. Some people let those stories define who they are. The rest of their life becomes some sort of revenge on Mr. C.

Maybe they succeed to show Mr. C was wrong. Or maybe they fail to show Mr. C that he was unable to teach them anything useful.

Whatever.

Personally, I don’t think you ever get much of anywhere if you let Mr. C define you. I think the best thing you can do is forgive Mr. C and decide that it’s God’s job to fix him, not yours. Actually it’s tremendously freeing to get the bitterness monkey off your back.

What’s REALLY going to propel you, I think, is the people who DID believe in you.

Mrs. Washburn, my kindergarten teacher, told my parents she thought I could be president if I wanted to be. Honestly, I can’t think of any job I’d enjoy less than running the biggest political machine in the world, but that wasn’t the point. She believed in me. My mom told me what Mrs. Washburn said over and over again until I believed it.

Mrs. Snoberger was my high school counselor and when my dad died of cancer and I was just starting my stereo business, she was the one who pointed out to me that very few kids are that entrepreneurial at age 17. She thought I was special. She wrote some recommendation letters that helped me get a much-needed scholarship.

Dr. Knoll was my college English teacher when I was 20. He was the first person to ever explain to me that I understood people *AND* things. He said most people are good at one or the other but not both. (I didn’t know that.) He predicted that I would someday be good at technical sales, and maybe even the president of a company.

It was mind-bending for me to even contemplate such a thing, back then. I was so keenly aware of my *limitations.*

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Those words of encouragement from Mrs. Washburn, Mrs. Snoberger and Dr. Knoll carried me very, very far. It’s not even like those conversations were very long. It’s just that they had impact.

My friend, you’ve had your Mr. C’s and you’ve had your Mrs. Snobergers. You had them both. You get to decide who you listen to. Let’s just admit, they *might* both have been telling you some version of the truth.

But some truths are told to harm. Others are meant to heal.

The words that will propel you forward are the healing words. Not the hurts.

I’ve got this lady who consults for me, her name is Sue. One of her jobs is, literally, to pray for my customers. I know that sounds kind of strange, but I truly believe that every single day, thousands of people out there are on the edge. The edge of either discouragement or encouragement. The edge of either success or failure. The edge of negative judgment or positive inspiration.

I can only hope that when I blast out these crazy emails to my various lists of thousands of people, that I’m helping at least a few of them break whatever chains that have held them back. Whatever limitations of knowledge or belief, whatever barriers of confidence and security.

Because you’re only going to build a successful life out of your strengths.

Last night, after an exhilarating, exhausting Sunday, my buddy Nathan and I went out for burgers at 10pm. We were relaxing and unwinding at Bar Louie, bantering, philosphizing, solving the problems of the world.

Nathan says, “What if we’re aweseomer than we think we are?”

I smile and look at him. “Yeah… what if?”

He says, “What if we’re really operating at less than our potential simply because we don’t realize what our potential really is?”

I say, “We ALL are capable of even greater things.

“Dang, Nathan, that would make a great Facebook post.”

I get home and post. This morning, Jack Born, my resident marketing genius, replies with this quote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves ‘who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; its in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same….

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

-Marianne Williamson

Amen, Jack and Marianne. One last thought for you:

During the last couple of years, most of our friends, including ourselves, have hit some MAJOR crucibles in life. One friend’s husband left her for another woman. Another’s 13 year old son died of leukemia. Another has major chronic health challenges. Another came to the brink of losing their marriage.

Another has battled a series of addictions. Another has been beleaguered with financial setbacks. Another lost pretty much everything in the real estate crash. Another had two businesses fail and is $800,000 in debt – which is about 10X his current annual income.

But with only a very few exceptions, everyone has stood proud and tall and NOT run from their problems. They have extended their roots, they have deepened their relationships with their closest friends, they have strengthened their faith, they’ve honed their ability to listen and their resolve.

They’ve become stronger, more resilient, more joyful, more resourceful, more centered.

I am immensely, indescribably proud of all of them. Better days are coming.

My friend, life is either going to polish you up or grind you down. Focus on the polishing, not the grinding. Focus on the end result.

Please listen to everything the laboratory of life is trying to tell you. And never ever forget:

YOU’RE AWESOMER THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE.

Perry Marshall

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

99 Comments on “You're awesomer than you think you are.”

  1. I have always loved discovery talent shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice.
    The incredible talent that many of the participants have – sometimes a shop assistant, other times a school janitor, which have been shared with us (and the world) through these programs, makes me wonder just how many other incredibly talented people there are – in completely other fields, that remain hidden.
    Can you imagine if we had similar platforms through which everyday confidence-challenged but good-hearted people from the inner ghettos of the cities, from the small midwest towns or from villages in Ireland, Africa or Greece would have an opportunity to display their God-given skills – and be given a stage, with leverage from mentors and supporters, to share those talents with others. As Louis Armstrong famously sang: “What a wonderful world that would be”.

  2. Perry,
    Love the transparency, encouragement, and they way you build others up. Haven’t been to one of your seminars yet, but will make it a point to do so just for the privilege of meeting you!
    Keep up the great work.
    Tim

  3. Perry, thank you. I had a conversation with Nathan the other day that was, like this, jet fuel for a sputtering engine. My enemy has found cracks in my shell – he’s trying intently to crush me. Along comes Nathan ( and now Perry) with the message that I’m more than enough. Thank you.

  4. Right on the mark as usual Perry. Thanks for that blast of jet fuel – always appreciated and welcomed.

    You’re right: we’ve all had our share of both tragedies and triumphs. Since we become what we think about, it only makes sense to focus on our own strengths and on those of others. We need reminders now and then though.

    You are such a model of balance in life: spirit/material, things/people, technology/humanity. Thanks for being there and for sharing your wisdom and your faith.

  5. Thank you Perry. We all have our own versions of that story, and some more heartbreaking than others. Some have deep scars left sensitive for the rest of their life because you were cut so deep that only the thin and scarred tissue was able to fill the wound.

    As a result we wander the Earth wondering (and questioning) what our purpose and worth really is. Confidence beaten down to the point that one wonders is it is based on something real or just a defense mechanism to protect the heart from disappointment.

    Deep down we know the truth, and pray that one day that truth delivers the blessing of revealing itself. I believe that for every Einstein and Da Vinci there are 10 others that were just as brilliant but just didn’t have the chance. In today’s age however, if you can only muster the guts to let go of the handlebars for long enough to realize the bike will keep going – you’ll find it within your power to do that thing you need to do even if at first it seems you don’t have the time or influence to pull it off. Just trust yourself and trust what’s meant to be. Your spark is NOT a delusion. It is real.

    I have my own stories about the many scars that I carry. Too many others also do. That’s why every nugget of wisdom like this has a special purpose. My thanks, and may God bless you.

  6. Wow! Great post. Talk about some jetfuel!! So happy to have read this email! Thank you, Perry!

    Yunchuan

  7. That quote hit me square in the chest. I am terrified to think that I’m much more awesome than I’m manifesting. So much so that I won’t even acknowledge it most of the time.

    I need to drill down on that and find a way to make peace with that. But it’s no small thing.

    Suggestions?

  8. OK, I admit it, It brought tears to my eyes. I appreciate your openness in referring to your mom being bipolar. I have been invited into the club that no seeks to join, with two ex-husbands suffering from clinical depression ( and a variety of other destructive issues) a sister with a bipolar husband, and various likely genetic predispositions in my kids.
    And all through it, I had to really believe that all the wisdom and knowledge coming my way would somehow become valuable to not only myself and family members, but also the larger circle.

    Also, two things: a friend of mine grew up with a mentally ill mother, in and out of hospitalization. BUT this same mother gave her the gift of music, of piano study. She runs a successful music business today. So what seems at the time to be hardship is sometimes also the source of the most precious and valuable parts of our lives.

    And finally, I would like to mention that your understanding of how we are as humans with great potential is also reflected in the works of Shinichi Suzuki, who is known for creating the Suzuki Method.

  9. Awesome inspirational written piece.
    Thank you !
    Thanks to Marianne Williamson.
    Now I know that if I want to meet you I should hang out more frequently at Bar Louie…
    Mandy
    River Forest

  10. Thank you! As I push forward in a job search and see delays in a major construction project, in your post I hear a still small voice reminding me “I have a plan for you”.

    God bless and thank you.

  11. What a refreshing way to start the day.
    Yeah, sometimes my ego needs to be smacked down, but more often my heart needs a boost.
    I think that’s true for most of us.
    Soaked this one right up.
    Time for me to go encourage someone else!
    Thanks Perry.

  12. I am a total Atheist/Agnostic but….Your logic and messages are very positive. I share them with my stepson with the caveat that “I may not be correct about anything. Here are some really intelligent ways of thinking and you should consider them for yourself.”
    Even a nonbeliever like myself can appreciate your message.

    Keep up the great work!

  13. Bravo Perry!
    It resonates! Much admiration and respect!
    I love the fact that you have someone in your stuff to pray for your customers.. I admire the way you balance practical and metaphysical. Rare skill. True Alchemy. Thank you for holding the light!

  14. Thanks for this encouraging post.
    I have only one friend who thinks the word “awesome” is loathesome. Some friends believe it’s overused, but most of my friends are fine with it. There’s 80/20 for you!
    Awesome means wonderful, amazing, fabulous, fantastic, fearsome even and I sometimes can’t say it enough about people and events in my life.

    Have an awesome day, Perry!

  15. HI Perry,

    Excellent reassurance of what God has in store for us when we stop running with our brake on and getting out of our own way. Awesome post! Thank you.

  16. Would like to enumerate on that
    1. I don’t believe in ESP. But I do think you have your antenna way way up there. Thanx for all your super relevant emails
    2. You know how to offend in a way that is helpful. I am 95 pounds. I used to way way less. Sometimes, I wonder if I am gaining to much weight. Your emails about “angel” stopped me from falling back into bad eating patterns. (remember how aweful you said that women look who starve themselves?) total slap in the face that stung . Thank you
    3.Your content to renaissance members may not reach every person every time. Some of it may not be the most polished presentations. But it is spooky weird how the most lack-luster ones are the most spot-on (think: cd about the pencil artists). I draw portraits.
    4. (and this is the main one) you try to include God in your marketing. It seems authentic too, not preacher slick corny
    5. I can tell you have empathy and care about people.
    Have a great day! Sue

    1. Sue, thanks for your kind remarks. It makes my day. I forwarded your comment to Angel so she could see she’s making a difference too.

  17. Perry, I am not blowing hot air when I tell you, truly, you are waaaaaaaay better than you think you are at a whole bunch of stuff.
    sincerely

  18. Perry, I’m one of these thousands of people, and I can say that you’ve helped me a lot tonight. Thank you!

  19. Do not believe what the world says about you. Believe what God says about you.

    – You are an overcomer in Christ Jesus.

    – You are chosen, holy, and blameless before God.

    – God is for you. Who can be against you?

    Good stuff, Perry!

  20. Perry,

    You read my mind! I was having these very same thoughts just yesterday, ‘what if I am worth more than I think I am.’ I told myself that I needed to start thinking this way because my limiting beliefs are hindering my success. So when I read your email this morning it confirmed my thoughts. It was exactly what I needed to hear in this moment. What powerful words of wisdom and a beautifully written article. Thanks so much and have a great day!

    Maren

  21. Perry,

    This is Deep!

    I feel with you and I think we all need to reflect and remember the people who helped us excel. Bob S. was a great man who helped me in my early days when I was Biomedical Engineer. I asked him how can I pay you back, he said: Help someone who needs help. That is how you pay me back.

    I remember him every time I see someone who needs help.

    I like this post because it is about life and not about business or selling

    Perry, you are a smart business man and a GREAT Guy.

    We should all reflect on our past. Ignore the people who hurt us and love the ones that helped us.

  22. Reminds me of some words my father, a dedicated school teacher, said: “One good teacher can turn a child’s life around”. So true.

  23. Great post Perry! Can’t believe I didn’t see this one sooner!

    Had very similar situation to yours growing up and it was my high school acting teacher, Mr. Brottlund, who told me he saw greatness in me. Just that notion that I might have greatness within me changed how I considered my lot in life. Amazing what a few words can do when delivered at the right time to someone who needs them.

    Keep up the great work!

    Michael

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