Tag Archives: Success

My five-year plan

I went on this job interview and the woman asked me, “Rob, where do you see yourself in five years?” And I didn’t know what to say. So I spent twenty five percent of my mental energy trying to look natural while I used the other seventy five percent to try and think up a decent answer. My thought process went like this:

Five years, huh? Well right now I’m at this interview. OK, so after this I’m probably going to be pretty hungry, hungrier even, because I’m already kind of hungry right now. Going in for a job interview is so stressful. I didn’t want to spill anything on my shirt and tie so I skipped breakfast. I just grabbed a banana. But that didn’t do anything. So lunch, yeah, I think there’s a cool empanada place by here. If I get this job, how often am I going to be eating empanadas? I should probably try to limit myself, once a week, twice, tops. Empanadas are delicious, but healthy? Not really. A lot of dough, butter. And it’s not like I’m going to choose the healthy vegetable option every time, probably not even ever. I hope they have a sausage empanada. Or a breakfast empanada. I hope they still have breakfast empanadas when I’m done with this interview.

Then I’ll probably go home. Jesus, I’ve got to speed up this thought process. How long did it take me to think through the whole empanada thing? Is she still looking at me? Am I looking like I’m thinking intently about her question? Because five years from now, that’s what I’ve got to be answering, and I haven’t even gotten through the rest of today. Maybe if I raise my finger slightly in the air and then I’ll open my mouth like I’m about to say something, and then I’ll close my mouth and make an even more pensive expression, like five years is a serious thing to think about, and so, yeah, I’ll bring that finger down from the air and bring it to my temple, like I’m really, really thinking, and that should buy me enough time to figure out the next five years.

Let’s see, I should probably assume that I’m getting this job, right? Or is that going to come off as too aggressive? No, they want aggressive. Do they want aggressive? Or do they want humble? Humble but strong. Strong but sensitive. Sensitive but with enough of a thick skin to not overly reveal too much sensitivity. Smart. Funny. Not too funny. Funny enough where people look forward to interacting with me, but not too funny to be seen as a distraction from work. Just kind of amiable. Aggressively entertaining, in a subtle but hardworking way.

“Nobody has five years planned out exactly. But in what direction do you see yourself headed?”

Shit, that was a follow-up question. I am taking too long. I’ve got to stall for some more time.

“Well, in five years I think I’m going to be doing a lot of subtle hard work. No, what I mean is … it’s just.”

That didn’t come out right. You’ve got to be more assertive. Just open your mouth and tell her what she wants to hear. You can do this. You’ll be eating empanadas every day. Screw the savings of bringing in a boxed lunch. You’ll be the living embodiment of success. They’ll be giving you empanadas for free. And you’re a funny guy. Say something funny.

“In five years, I think I’ll have eaten a lot of empanadas by then. Haha. Have you ever been to that empanada place around here? I’ve heard wonderful things. What I mean to say is, I’m definitely going to be a great addition to the team here. I insist that you hire me. Too aggressive? Sorry. Not too aggressive?”

Ask to go to the bathroom. No, don’t ask. Just go. Just get out. Just buy a bunch of empanadas to eat on the way back home. Buy a lot. You might not be back around this part of town anytime soon in the next five years.

Q & A

I’m thinking about changing this blog into one of those life advice type blogs. You know, I’ll tackle life issues, give out recipes for how to deal with problems, how to turn it all around. People just naturally feel comfortable with me, somehow free to open up, about life, about problems. And I’m not just talking about close friends and family. It’s like complete strangers also. I’ll be buying some toothpaste at the drugstore and it’ll be my turn in line, and I’ll say to the cashier, “How’s it going?” not like a real question, just, you know, like as a formality, just as a way of saying hi. Most people, if they respond at all to most other people, they’ll just say like, “Fine,” or “Hey.” But I’ll say “How’s it going,” and the cashier will let out a big sigh. “Well …” and I’m just like, here we go. But I’m generally receptive to it all.

I think I’ll start off the first few posts like a Q&A format. I’ll post questions, you know, questions about problems, about life, and then I’ll answer them. Like this:

Q: Where are you going to get all of these questions from?

A: Excellent question. At first I’ll probably just have to make them up myself. Just to get the ball rolling. People might not be comfortable being the first person to volunteer a question. It’s tough, I know. Much easier to be third or fourth, or even easier to be like twenty-seventh. I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying, Rob, you’ve got it so together. You’ve got it all figured out.

Q: How are your questions going to be convincing enough to trick readers into thinking that you’re dealing with an actual problem?

A: Another great question. Look, I’m a writer. I’m just being creative. I’ll just make up some problems. If anything, it will make this whole thing even more convincing, because what are the chances that I’m going to throw myself a total curveball of a question? Can you imagine that? If by putting myself in the head of somebody with real problems, somebody who decided to ask me for some real life advice, that I came up with a question so loaded, that I wound up just totally stumped? Is it even possible to stump oneself? I’m pretty sure it’s not.

The plan is, after I get it started, people will be so impressed with my wisdom and my advice that they’ll naturally start sending in their own questions. This will be great because they’ll be doing a lot of my work for me, coming up with stuff for me to write about. Like a lot of the time I’ll sit down to write something and I can’t think of anything. Or sometimes I’ll think of something, something that at first might seem like it will have enough substance to make up an entire blog post. And I’ll just start writing it. Like this one, this blog post that you’re reading right now. I had this idea when I got up this morning to write about writing a life advice blog. But now here I am, three paragraphs in and I’m already questioning whether or not I’ve made a huge mistake. But it’s too late. I’m already like five hundred words deep. I don’t quit at five hundred. Three hundred, yeah, I’ll feel free to toss that in the trash. Not a real trashcan, though, and not really tossing. I’m using a computer, so I can just hit delete.

But now I’m re-rethinking it and I’m starting to think that maybe it is a good idea. It would be nice to just open my inbox and see all of these people desperately asking me for advice and then I’d be able to pick and choose a topic. And I’ll write and give generic enough help and then I’ll get all the credit of being a great writer, a great thinker, a great person. And I’ll grow a mustache and I’ll go bald on top and I’ll start a talk show years from now called Dr. Phil: The Next Generation.

But that would only work if the real Dr. Phil were still on the air. He would be totally caught off guard, completely unable to respond to my stealing the very nature of his on-air persona. He’d probably try to sue but I would just ignore all of the subpoenas. Then I would casually drop the Next Generation part out of my title and I’d start calling my show just Dr. Phil. And now the real Dr. Phil would get super pissed off. I’d go on my show and claim that I’ve been the real Dr. Phil all along, and that the original Dr. Phil is a total an imposter.

The only way to settle it, I’ll say, is for one of us to appear as a guest on the other’s show. And I’ll make a gesture, to be the bigger person, to be the bigger Dr. Phil, that I’ll be the guest on his show. But right as I get introduced to come out on stage, I’ll immediately head right towards Dr. Phil and I’ll push him out of his chair. I’ll rip the microphone off of his jacket lapel and I’ll attach it to my jacket’s lapel. And then I’ll say, “I’m the real Dr. Phil! And this is my show!” Dr. Phil probably won’t take it lying down, and we might get in a little scuffle, but I’ll win, because I’m much younger and stronger. I’ll put him in a sleeper hold until he cries uncle. But it won’t be enough. He’ll scream, “Never! Let go!” And I’ll scream, “Not until you admit that I’m the real Dr. Phil!” And he’ll resist for a little bit, but the blood will be accumulating in his head and he’ll fold under the pain and pressure. “Fine! You’re the real Dr. Phil!”

Everyone will applaud wildly. But, like I said, I’m the bigger person, so I’ll give him a shot to be a co-host on my show. We could call it Dr. Phils. Or, Drs. Phil? I’m not sure. We’re going to have to consult with a marketing firm, have some focus groups react to both names, to see which one garners more of a connection with an actual audience. It’s going to be so lucrative. I’m going to be so successful. Look at that, I just gave myself some life advice in my very first Q&A column. I can’t help it. I told you, I’m a natural. Keep those questions coming people.

Strictly business

I’m so sick of joking around. It’s time to get serious! From now on, I’m only going to be writing about serious things. And it’s all going to be very professional. Every day I wake up and I stand in front of the mirror, and I stare at my reflection for a while, and I’ll scream at it, “Why isn’t anybody taking you seriously?” And I just realized, just this morning, just as I was about to take that mirror down once and for all and show it who’s boss, I just realized that, it’s because I’m not acting nearly as serious as I should be. I should be acting at least ten times more serious. Maybe fifteen times. But I’m going to start at ten times the seriousness, and if I hit fifteen, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s much better than aiming for twenty times and then being disappointed when I only get up to fifteen.

What does serious mean? It means no more jokes. No more fucking around. From here on out, it’s all business. If you want to read about business, look no further. This is going to be one of the most business oriented web sites on the Internet. Only business. One hundred percent business. Well, not all business. What I mean is, no funny business. That’s a type of business right? Funny business? Wait a second, I was primarily engaged in funny business before. So I guess I was somewhat business oriented. Just the wrong type of business. Don’t get me started on monkey business.

I just bought a briefcase. Super professional. Four digit mechanical lock. I just closed my laptop, put it inside the briefcase, went upstairs, put on a suit, came downstairs to me desk, took off the jacket, loosened the tie a little bit, and took out my laptop to continue writing. I can already feel the difference. I’m just feeling really, really, totally professional.

This new outlook on life is affecting not just this blog, it’s affecting everything. For the better. I was out walking my dog earlier and I saw this lady slip and fall. Normally I would have laughed, because everything was this huge joke. But that was the old me. The new me had absolutely no reaction, no response. I just walked right over her as if she didn’t even exist. But I dropped a business card right as I stepped over her. That’s professional. It’s called networking. Read any business blog, they’ll tell you how important it is to network. Scratch that, don’t just read any business blog, read this business blog. If already reading it, open it up again in a different window on your browser, and then network it with somebody else.

What browser are you using? The only correct answer is Internet Explorer. Firefox is for hippies. Chrome is for nerds. Safari is for total assholes. IE is where the professionals, the serious minded movers and shaker turn to get their Internet. I’m making it so that if you try to access this blog from any other browser, it’s going to infect your computer with a horrible virus. I can do that now. Why? Because I’m so ridiculously serious it’s not even funny. It’s definitely not funny. It’s actually a little threatening. Nothing’s more serious than a threat.

Will you get back to work! What are we paying you for, to work or to hang out on the Internet! I’ll answer that for you! It’s to work! Why am I using so many exclamation points? Because! It’s urgent! I’ve transcended serious and gone right to urgent! You better hope I don’t feel so inclined to turn the caps lock key on! Because you don’t even want to know how much more serious this could get! I could be writing this in all caps! Do you want that? DO YOU?

The five Keys to Success

There are so many keys out there. But only five of them will lead you on a path to success. And there’s only one path. Look yourself in the mirror. Say to yourself, “I’m going to find all five of those keys! I’m going to find those keys and be successful! I’m going to get so rich from all of that success!” You have the key to finding those keys! But that key isn’t one of the five keys to success. That was more of an inner key that everyone has. You can think of it as six keys if that’s more helpful to you.


1. The first Key to Success – Time!


How are you supposed to be successful if you don’t have the time to do it? Even if you somehow find success, if you don’t have any time to enjoy it, well then as far as I’m concerned, you’re not really successful. Make some time for yourself. Show up to work an hour late and tell your boss that you got mugged. Do it again the second day. Tell your boss that you’re being stalked by the same mugger. Go file a police report to make it look convincing. But don’t do this unless you absolutely have to, unless your boss totally doesn’t believe you. Because what’s the point of having all of that extra time if you’re using most of it waiting on line at the police department? Seriously, cops are great at fighting crime, but have you ever seen them try to do paper work? You know they don’t want to be filling out forms. They want to be out on the street, battling evil, seeking out justice.


So many people complain of their boring jobs, of their dead end careers, of their ever-growing mountains of soul-crushing debt. Take it from me, the only way that you’re going to tap into your inner potential, and your inner success, is if you make the time to do it.


2. The second Key to Success – Money!


Success ain’t cheap folks. You’ve got to buy it! I know what your thinking, “Rob, if I had money and time I wouldn’t be reading about your five keys to success.” Well, you’ve got to spend money to make money. Money doesn’t grow on trees. A penny saved is a penny earned. If I had a nickel for every time. What do all these cliché phrases have in common? That’s right, money!


Listen, you don’t go to a restaurant and not get an appetizer. So think of this second key as your success appetizer. Just go get some money. Sell something in your house. Sell your TV. Go sell some blood. And then buy something successful. Go buy a new pair of expensive sneakers. And then sell those and buy a flat screen TV. You can keep this up indefinitely. You’ll scream success! Everyone who sees you won’t even see you anymore, they’ll just see the living embodiment of successful living!


3. The third Key to Success – Business Cards!


I’m sorry what was your name again? I’m sorry you don’t have a business card with your name on it? What are you some sort of a loser? Welcome to the twenty-first century! Success today is all about personal branding! You’ve got to market your personal brand! You’ve got to get out there! You’ve got to network! Networking! Business branding! Get those business cards. Print your name on them. Print a link to your twitter on them. Go on twitter and tweet something about your name. Link to a picture of your business cards. Now!


4. The fourth Key to Success – More Money!


You’re out of money already? Get some more! What kind of a success story do you think I’m talking about here? Do you think I’m referring to some sweeping general idea of success? Do you think I’m trying to redefine the words success in terms of personal fulfillment or inner peace? I’m not! I’m talking about getting rich! I’m talking about using your personal brand to maximize your success through networking and marketing and personal branding!


Call up your mom. Call up your brother. Tell them you need to borrow five grand. Tell them it’s an emergency and you don’t have time to explain. Tell them to stop asking so many questions and to just trust you. Tell them you’re fine and not to worry. And there you go! More money! Ask your boss for an advance on your salary and then quit! More money and more time! More success!


5. The fifth Key to Success – Write your own “How to Succeed” blog post!


Nobody’s going to believe that you’re a success if you don’t believe yourself that you’re a success first. Is there any better way to show the world how successful you are than by writing your own “Steps to Success” blog post? I don’t think so! Write it up! Talk about networking! Talk about that personal branding! Use some of those marketing skills! Just write up the list. It’s easy! You don’t even have to be paying attention. Just write a bunch of numbers and then write a bunch of sentences. You’d be surprised how quickly those sentences turn into paragraphs, and then turn into a whole blog post, and then turn into success!


Put a picture of yourself at the top. Put it on your web site. Make sure you’re wearing a jacket and tie. Go around to other successful people’s web sites! Market yourself! Write stuff in the comments section with your web site! Business! Show off your success! Start giving advice! Give advice to everyone! You’re as successful as you want to be! Get some more money! Go out there and network! Go out there and succeed!


6. The sixth (secret) Key to Success – Send me some money and I’ll mail you the first five keys!


Just send me some money. I don’t want to say how much. How much is success worth to you? Just not less than twenty. But I don’t want a bunch of twenty dollar bills showing up at my house. You’re never going to achieve success by just giving in the bare minimum. But if you only have twenty, I’ll take it. You send me your cash, and I’ll send you the five keys. They might just look like ordinary keys, but nail them to your wall and label them like I labeled the five keys above. And visualize it. And make it happen. And send me twenty more dollars and I’ll send you five more keys, doubling your success. And then eventually you might have enough keys that you can start your own success-key blog.


Just remember, you’ve got to succeed to be successful!


Rob G. is the founder, CEO, CFO, COO, and PCP of Five Keys to Success, Inc., Living Embodiment of Success LLP., and Successful Succeeders Succeeding Success, Ltd. For speaking engagements, send him twenty bucks, or just shout “SUCCESS!” out of your window really, really loud. He’ll be there in no time.