I was ambushed!

Other than letting you know that I’m a former Green Beret, I don’t talk about my military service in much detail. That’s intentional. One of my biggest frustrations is when people use their service in the military to get something. 

But today, I’m going to tell you about a time when I was ambushed. Not because I want to gain anything from telling this story, but because I want YOU to gain from hearing it. 

It happened in Afghanistan, and I’m very blessed that I lived to tell this story. Check out the full story here: 

Let this video be your reminder that everything can change in a second. 

To living and leading by example, 

Bill McDonald

P.S. I’m hosting a very special Masterclass on making your significant other fall madly in love with you this Wednesday, August 9, at 8:30 pm EST/5:30 pm PST. Click here to register and learn from me LIVE! It’s free! 

Today I’m sharing something really personal.

Every man dreams of the things he wants to do and the goals he wants to accomplish. But not all men achieve their dreams. 

Some men try and fail; other men don't even try.

As a young man, my dream was to join the Special Forces. I accomplished that! I joined up, and I went through the training, and I made it. Reaching this goal was demanding (to say the least!), both physically and mentally, but I was in good shape, and I had the desire, the passion, and the endurance to succeed.

That was the first time that I lived a dream, and it felt awesome. But while that dream was tough to achieve, it hasn't been my most difficult goal to reach. 

My next big dream began to form while I was still serving in the Special Forces. I had this passion and love for helping people get in better shape and improve their health. Those desires solidified into a dream of becoming an elite personal trainer! 

This dream was harder to accomplish, but maybe not for the reasons you would expect! I had the knowledge to do it. I had access to the money it required. I made detailed plans of how to bring that vision to life, and I even proved my concept by showing others how to build a fitness business and watching them become extremely successful. 

But I created huge obstacles for myself in the form of fear and self-doubt. As a result, I waited FIFTEEN YEARS to act on my dream. Only when my amazing wife encouraged me to go for it, did I finally take action and bring this dream into reality. 

I don't know if you've ever achieved a huge goal, but man, it felt SO GOOD! I was living my out my vision of being a health performance coach, working with top athletes and C-suite-level executives. I became the trainer for a nationally-ranked rugby team for six seasons. I was published in multiple fitness-related media platforms for my expertise in health and fitness. My wife and I made our home in sunny San Diego, and I had my best body ever in my 40's. 

And then - suddenly - everything fell apart. 

I was doing a muscle-up, an extremely difficult exercise. In a freak accident, I felt my wrist POP and I knew something was seriously wrong. In a split second, I tore all the ligaments in my hand, and the bones began to spread apart, shift and twist. My hand was unable to heal properly, and that started a nightmare of a medical journey.

Corrective surgery to my dominant hand was recommended, and the first of four surgeries was performed on April 20, 2015. During that surgery, the doctor removed 6.5" of my median nerve, leaving my arm basically useless. The three additional surgeries were recommended to restore some function to my arm, which at this point was basically acting like an amputated limb. In the additional surgeries, my right arm was reconstructed, half the bones in my hand were removed, and I had a complete wrist fusion. I've now had a total nerve reconstruction of my right arm, and it's a waiting game to see how my mobility may or may not return. I came away with only 20% use of my right hand and with a permanent disability.

My wife and I were devastated. My identity had been rooted in my physicality, my physical performance, my ability to accomplish physical feats. Now I couldn't tie my shoes, put on my belt, or operate a zipper. Just using the bathroom felt humiliating.

My second dream was gone. I was left with nothing—at least, that's how I felt!

I couldn't drive. I couldn't work for nine months. I had NO income coming in. I had doctor's appointments every two weeks—which I had to fly across the country for. To top things off, my wife's income stopped as well, because she had to take care of me. We drained our life savings to stay afloat during this extraordinarily challenging time. 

This may be starting to sound like a bad country song, but my favorite dog even died during this time period. Life felt like one series of terrible, horrible, awful events, and my identity was shaken to the core. 

Finally, I realized that I had two choices:

I could let this accident determine WHO I WAS and WHO I WOULD BECOME. 

OR. . .

2. I could take this trial, this ADVERSITY, and do something PRODUCTIVE with it. 

After long days of reflection—on who I was, my identity, what I would do—I decided that I would take this challenging time in my life and turn it into something GOOD!

That's when I developed my third dream - which is my truest passion: helping other men navigate past, through and around the conflicts and adversities in their lives! 

Over the last two years, I've been able to impact hundreds of men's lives in a positive manner. Amidst all the drama, the trauma, and the difficulties, I managed to make it out of the turmoil, to PREVAIL, and to turn things around! I found purpose, drive, motivation and FOCUS.

When you're dealing with adversity, it's really easy to allow it to dominate your life. Your challenge may be a divorce, a health issue, or a work issue. What I want you to get from my story is that YOU HAVE A CHOICE! 

You can allow circumstances to dictate your life and its direction. (This sounds like a total drag.)

OR. . .

You can take your circumstance, your problem, your catastrophe -- and you can find new opportunities in it. EXPLOIT it—in a positive way—and make something GOOD and SUCCESSFUL from it.

ME? I'm living my dream again—my THIRD dream (and you know they say the third time's a charm, right?!). One good thing is that there's NO RATION on dreams! Whether it's your first, second, or tenth dream, get up and GO AFTER IT! 

To your wild success, 

Bill McDonald

P.S. Are you ready for a big, positive change, but lacking support around making the decision to up-level? I've got a special Masterclass for you on how to make those crucial big decisions! This is the info you need when it's time to Ride or DIE! (I hope you do the former). Join me here on August 2 at 5:30 pm PDT / 7:30 pm CDT / 8:30 pm EDT: http://the13codes.com/rideordie

Are you gonna pull the trigger?

During my service in the Special Forces, I’ve pulled triggers literally thousands of times. And when placed in circumstances where weapons should be fired, pulling the trigger seems like it would come naturally. Sometimes, though, a soldier freezes up and doesn’t fire, even though he knows he should. Some thought, some psychological obstacle, some fear, prevents him from pulling the trigger.

In everyday terms, “Pull the trigger!” is another way of saying “Take action!” We make a plan or a decision, and then we act on it. We “pull the trigger.” Usually, we force ourselves to move forward. 

Usually, but not always. Just like that soldier, sometimes we freeze up and just can’t pull that trigger to act on that plan, make that decision, or pursue that big goal. 

As a young man, I had a dream of joining the Special Forces. I DID that! I achieved that dream! 

About that same time, I began to form another dream: to help people get in better shape and improve their health. Early in my Special Forces career, I spent a lot of free time helping people get healthy and in better shape. I had a PASSION and love for helping people!

I developed a DREAM of having a MASSIVE gym. I wanted to be the BEST fitness trainer in the U.S. I wrote out all the details, with a complete, full-on business plan. I talked to anyone and everyone about it. I even had guys, six-figure earners, who wanted to invest in my idea. The pieces were all there—knowledge, plan, passion, investors. . .

But I didn’t do it. I couldn’t pull the trigger.

My excuse at the time? I didn’t have enough money. 

So I went to work for Merrill Lynch, where I was very successful. I even advised three different people on what they should do to become independent fitness trainers, and how to get their own clients and businesses (ironic, right?). All three of them did what I told them and became EXTREMELY successful. Two of them opened their own facilities and have since EXPANDED. Two of them didn’t even have a fitness background (go figure). 

I still had MY dream. I successfully helped others achieve that same dream. But, after fifteen years, I still had not acted upon it myself! WHY NOT?

I was afraid of failure! What would I do if I failed? What would people think of me? My fear caused me to doubt myself and to question whether I could make it work.

Finally, my wife, CJ, encouraged me to go for it it, and I DID. AND, just as I had dreamed, I became extremely SUCCESSFUL!

Where are YOU not reaching your full potential? Is it because of FEAR and SELF-DOUBT? As men, we often won’t admit when we have doubt and fear, but any number of events can occur in our pasts that lead to the fears we develop. In my case, my accomplishments were never good enough for my parents. No matter how much I excelled in sports or other areas when I was young, it wasn’t enough. I carried over these feelings of insecurity that were formed at such an early age, and I let them hold me back. But with the encouragement of someone I knew had my best interest at heart - someone who could see the real me (drive, doubt, determination - all of it) underneath all those fears - I was able to achieve one of my biggest life goals. 

If you haven’t pursued your dreams, is it because of fear and self-doubt? Be HONEST and objective with yourself in examining your reasons. Whatever your reasons are, deal with them and then TAKE ACTION to accomplish them. Make your plans, and then put them into action.

To pulling the trigger, 

Bill McDonald

P.S. If you don’t have someone who can speak into your life like CJ did for me, I strongly encourage you to join me in The 13 Codes Academy. It’s an online learning opportunity that I created to help men GO for their goals - particularly in the areas of work, romance, and physical fitness. The doors are opening soon for the Founding Members of the program. Will you be one? 

“How can integrity make me money?”

Today, I want to answer a question I get asked more than I'd like to (you know I'll always be honest with you): "Bill, how can integrity make me money?" 

Now, I'm not gonna lie, this question bugs me a little bit. Because I think that as men we should STRIVE to live lives FULL of integrity even if they COST us. 

But the truth is that, more often than not, living with integrity actually MAKES you money. Here's how: 

Think about the stereotypes of salesmen that you remember hearing about when you were growing up. One type that you might remember from old sitcoms would be the slick, fast-talking guy who would get a gleam in his eye when a customer came in. He might start rubbing his hands together like he was getting ready for a big meal—which he was! That customer was his prey. If he was selling clothes or shoes, you could be sure that he would talk up anything that caught the potential customer's eye:

"You look GREAT in that hat!" "That jacket is JUST YOUR COLOR!" "That suit makes you look ten years YOUNGER!" 

If he was a used car salesman, you can bet that the car he was selling had only been driven to church on Sundays by a little old lady who kept it spotless and in perfect condition! 

Another stereotype has been seen more recently on TV and in movies. In these scenarios, the salesman is a hard-charging, cynical guy, and he won't take NO for an answer. He is the personification of his motto, "Greed is good!" and he's not waiting around for repeat business! He's looking to sell as much as he can to whomever he can, and, often, the product he's selling is of poor quality. If there's a choice of products, he'll push the one that's going to make the biggest commission for himself - regardless of its true value or worth.

Both of these stereotypes tend to have something in common—in the long run, neither of these salesmen is likely to have the success he was hoping for. These guys burn bridges. They take advantage of people. And in the end, the market chews them up and spits them out. 

Let me contrast the pictures above with MY OWN experience - the experience of selling with INTEGRITY. Way back in the day, when I was still pretty new at Merrill Lynch, there was a big account I was trying to get (we're talking millions of dollars big). The guy in charge of this account was being courted by a lot of people. 

I wanted this account BADLY. At this point in my life, it meant a lot to me and my family. But rather than let that intimidate me, when I'd speak to this guy, I was just totally HONEST. I tried to never be late for a meeting with him, but if I did see that I was going to be late, I would call him. I would give him the reason, and I NEVER made up an excuse! When I told him I would do something, I DID what I'd SAID I would do. I never tried to sell him the house funds. If I thought something would be a bad investment, I would TELL HIM! I always spoke truthfully to him, even when (especially when) I thought that he wouldn't like what I had to say. 

When I got $12 million of his business, he told me that he chose me because of my INTEGRITY!

It might not have felt great in those moments to be brutally honest with that guy, but it sure DID feel great landing $12 million in new business! 

Men, the way to be successful in business is to have INTEGRITY. Treat your clients or customers honestly and fairly - the way YOU would want to be treated! Good customers want advisors and vendors they can TRUST! They do NOT want YES MEN, who will tell them anything to make a sale!

So, let me ask you a few questions (just hit reply to this email to respond; I really do read and appreciate all your answers). 

How do YOU make money in business? How have you been successful by sticking to your values in a tough situation? 

Living and Leading by Example, 

Bill McDonald

P.S. If you're not crazy about the work you're doing now, it's time to change that. The 13 Codes Academy is opening for enrollment in just a few short weeks, and I'm going to show you exactly how you can find work that fills your soul AND your wallet. Make sure to stay tuned and grab your spot as soon as the doors open - they'll go quickly!

Your actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying!

“I love you!” I say that to my wife a lot. I’m supposed to say it a lot, right? And it’s true—I DO love my wife, and I want to tell her I do. I’ve said it so much by now that I sometimes say it without even having to think about it! It’s AUTOMATIC!
That’s not the way it usually starts out, though. For most of us, the first time you tell a girl you love her, it’s a BIG DEAL. Maybe you knew how she’d take it; maybe you didn’t. Either way, your heart was probably pounding! When you said it, I bet you meant it. You may have said it during a great date, or at an event, or on a special occasion. You probably said it in a way or in a place or at a time when she knew you meant it.
But here’s a tough question. When you say “I love you” NOW, does your partner know you mean it? Do you say it to her when you’re spending time with her, helping her in some way, comforting her at a difficult time? Or is it more of a “Love ya babe” as you’re on your way out the door to play golf or hang out with your buddies?
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. That’s an old saying, and it got to be an old saying by being true! You use words and speech to TALK to your wife, but you also COMMUNICATE with her by your ACTIONS! I can tell my wife that I love her, but do my actions confirm that? What are my actions actually saying to her? DO MY ACTIONS MATCH MY WORDS?
I heard of something called “mirror neurons.” There are different schools of thought about what they do and how central they are to particular brain and motor functions, and a lot of study is yet to be conducted regarding them. One school of thought, however, has put forward an “action understanding” hypothesis—the mirror neurons are the neural basis for our ability to understand the actions of others. It theorizes that the neurons don’t respond to a lot of random sounds and meaningless gestures, but that they respond more to sights and sounds with clear goals.
How do you talk to your wife? Do the sights and sounds (words and actions) that you present to her lead her to a clear understanding of your love for her? When she talks to you, do you listen? When she asks you to do something, do you respond with a distracted “Yes, dear” or “Uh huh” and then forget what she asked you to do?
Another old saying is “Talk is Cheap!” Our real investment is in our actions, because they are what take time and energy. We can all think of people who have told us one thing and done something else. We all have more confidence in and appreciation for someone whose words we can depend on.
I want my wife to have confidence in me. I want her know that she can depend on me, and on what I say to her. When I tell her I love her, I want her to feel my love. When I tell her I’ll do something, I want her to know that I will follow through. When my actions match my words, it adds stability and security to our love, our marriage, and our lives together.
When you talk to your wife, does she hear what you are saying, or do your actions drown out your words?

Living and Leading by Example (to the best of my ability), 
Bill McDonald

P.S. If you need some support in learning how to match your actions to your words (so you can rev up the romance in your relationship), I’ve got a very special offer coming to you in just a few short weeks! 

Put your money where your mouth is.

We’ve all heard and read a lot about investments. They come in all shapes and sizes, from something as simple as a savings account, to complicated investment vehicles that may involve derivatives or other fancy-sounding things. We hear constantly about interest rates. Stocks, bonds, land, houses, savings accounts, retirement accounts—it can all be very confusing!
So let me simplify your investment plan for you right now. 
The absolute, hands-down, number-one, biggest, best investment you can make is in YOURSELF! 
I learned this 17 years ago, when a mentor of mine shelled out $2k (money I didn’t have) to send me to a personal development workshop for a weekend. In just a few days, I learned more about how to move my life forward than I had in a few YEARS without that level of support! 
No joke, attending that workshop got me HOOKED on PD (what the cool kids call “personal development”) and helped me negotiate the highest salary anyone at my level working at Merrill Lynch had ever pulled in! 
Since then, I’ve continued to invest in myself - even when, especially when, it felt like I didn’t have the money to do so. 

And now, I’ve developed a program, The 13 Codes Academy, to help YOU in your JOB, in your MARRIAGE, and in your LIFE! I want you to be the MAN that you were born to be! To quit settling for a mediocre, boring existence. To make your relationship hotter than it’s ever been before. To find work that fills your soul PLUS gives you a massive paycheck (or better yet, to build your OWN business). 

And my program is an investment. You will have to spend money on it, and you will have to spend time on it. 
You may say, “I can’t afford to do it right now.” 
That’s BS, and I’m calling you out on it. Because you can’t afford NOT to do it! 
What else are you doing to make yourself better? What else are you doing to make your life better? What else are you investing in your job to make it more fulfilling?
In just a few days, the doors to The 13 Codes Academy are opening. Will you be joining us? Or sitting sadly on the sidelines? 
To Your Success, 
Bill McDonald

P.S. My program IS an investment. But since this is the BETA round, you’re going to get in at a ridiculously low price! So make sure you watch your inbox for my next few emails to snag your spot! 

Want a better job?

Work takes up the majority of your waking hours, so you’d better be doing something you love. Or at a MINIMUM something that pays you well enough so you can enjoy your free time. 
But I hear from a lot of men who are unhappy with their jobs. This sucks. If you’re one of those men, it’s time to change that situation. 
So let’s get right to the point. The way I see it, there are TWO ways to get a better job. 

  1. Find a different job.
  2. Improve your present job.

Now whichever path you choose, you should begin with self-examination. Here are a few questions you’ll need to consider:

  • What interests you?
  • What do you really enjoy doing?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are you good at?
  • What are you truly talented at?

Answer those questions with integrity. Be honest with yourself. Don’t answer with what you feel like you *should* say - answer with 100% truth. 

Next, take responsibility for your actions and decisions. You, and you alone, bear the responsibility for the decisions that you’ve made, and for the decisions you will make. Own them! 
Whether you decide to make the most of your current job, or whether you choose to look for a new one, commit yourself to acting with distinction and integrity.Here’s what that looks like in real life: 
If you’ve decided to stay at your current job, don’t just do the minimum and coast. You are not a man who is satisfied with mediocrity. You’re made to excel, so live that out at your job! 
If you’ve decided to seek new employment, are you going at it full force? Are you waiting for leads to land in your lap, or are you getting creative with your job hunt? Think outside the box when you consider who you can call or network with to gain some new opportunities. 

In the work that you do or the job that you seek, do you send a message that you are just interested in yourself and what you can get out of the work? That’s not very attractive to current or potential employers. Instead, emphasize what you can put into the job, what you can do for your employer, your clients and your customers. 

Get tenacious! Keep working at your absolute highest level. You’ll attract even better opportunities when you excel at the ones you’ve already been given. Keep learning, improving your skills, and building your knowledge, and you’ll become more valued in your work with each passing day. 
To Your Success, 
Bill McDonald
Not sure where to begin with creating better opportunities for your work? I cover this extensively in The 13 Codes Academy! Doors are opening in just a few days! 

Here’s how the little things add up to BIG romance

I’ve got a few quick questions for you: 

  1. Do you hold the door for your wife or girlfriend and let her enter the room first?  
  2. Do you pull out her chair for her?  
  3. Do you wait for her to sit down before you do?  
  4. Do you have the kind of romantic relationship that you want?

One of those questions is heavier than the others, right? You may be thinking “Woah, Bill, what do those simple little gestures have to do with the quality of my relationship - when I’m taking care of the BIG stuff - like getting the bills paid, shuffling the kids around, remembering her birthday, etc., etc.?” 

I’ll tell you what: romance isn’t just about telling your spouse or girlfriend that you love her; it’s about consistently SHOWING her!  

You show her in some bigger, more expected ways, like bringing flowers or presents on special occasions. You take care of the bill at the restaurant (guys, PLEASE tell me you’re doing this).  

But you also show her in small, unspoken, subtle ways.

Opening a door, letting someone go ahead of you, waiting for someone to be seated. All of those seem like small things. But small things matter. 

Sometimes small things accumulate. When that happens, they can gradually become bigger things.  Let’s say you get a speeding ticket. It happens. Everyone knows it’s hard to stay under 70 on a wide, straight interstate highway with light traffic. You pay a fine and move on. No big deal. 

A few months laters, you’re passing through a neighborhood on your way home. The speed limit’s 25, but you’re holding steady at 40. Cop lights in the rearview, and there’s another ticket. This one’s more expensive, because now you’re a “repeat offender.”

The third ticket you got was really nitpicky. A ticket for going 46 in a 40 mile per hour zone? Such a small offense. But that third ticket has BIG consequences, because it triggers EXPENSIVE problems with your insurance.

Small mistakes can lead to big problems. Each of those tickets, taken alone, could be dealt with fairly easily, but the combination of them together created a much bigger issue.

Small things are also often symbolic of larger things. Showing those small courtesies to your wife or girlfriend, not always waiting for HER to wait on YOU, sends subtle, unspoken messages that you care about her, that you put her first. Those messages build up.  Then, in more intimate moments, when you’re telling her how much you love her, she will be more conditioned to believe you and to respond to you.

Gallantry is one of The 13 Codes. And I get that “gallantry” may seem like a big word to use in connection with things like holding the door for your partner.  It’s a concept, however, that includes some big actions and a lot more small ones. Taken together, they add up to help you have the strong, intimate relationship that you really desire with your partner.

Is your romantic relationship what you want it to be? Does it have all of the intimacy and enjoyment that you want it to have? How are you doing on the little things?

If you’re struggling, enlist some help! I’m opening the doors to The 13 Codes Academy in just a few weeks, and I’m going to cover exactly how you can take practical steps to strengthen your relationship. 

Don’t settle for mediocrity in love. 

Living and leading by example, 

Bill McDonald

P.S.  My wife CJ and I had to learn the hard way how to show love, appreciation and respect for each other. When I started incorporating the daily actions I teach you in The 13 Codes Academy, our relationship got way more satisfying, if you get my drift. This stuff matters. 

How to have a HOT holiday weekend

It’s a long weekend in the States as we celebrate Memorial Day on Monday. As someone who spent nearly two decades in the military as a Green Beret, this holiday is full of meaning for me. On Monday, I’m giving thanks that I made it out alive and mourning friends who were willing to sacrifice everything to keep my country free. 

But maybe you’ve never served in the military and you don’t have a lot of connections with those who have? I mean, we’re a bit of a different breed, and it’s hard for some civilians to really identify with servicemen and women. 

I get that for you, this weekend may be mostly exciting because you get an extra day off, which means some additional time with your woman to relax and unwind. And while I do want to encourage you to pause for a moment on Monday and give thanks for the people who gave their lives to make yours better, I ALSO want you to take advantage of the time you’ve got to make your relationship stronger over this long weekend. 

So what can you do to stoke your lady’s desire? To make her so lit up that she won’t be able to keep her hands off you? To get her to the place where she’s begging you to send the kids to a sitter so you’ve got the house all to yourselves? 

Guys, you’ve gotta have a BIG PURPOSE! I don’t mean it in a cheesy, motivational-poster kind of way, either (we’re not channeling Michael Scott from The Office, after all). Nope, I mean you need something BIGGER than yourself that you believe in, a dream that you chase, a desire that you know is your destiny to fulfill. 

Women aren’t attracted to bored guys. Bored guys are boring guys. But show a lady a guy on fire for a purpose larger than himself -- a man on a mission -- and she’ll practically be begging to be his queen. 

See, our women want to feel protected and safe around us. If you’re complaining and whining about the “bad hand” life has dealt you, she’s instantly turned off. If, on the other hand, you’re developing a plan to make a better life for yourself -- to make more money, to get in better shape, to increase your knowledge and understanding -- she sees that as you wanting to make a better life for her, too. That’s a HUGE turn-on. 

This weekend, try holding off on the complaints and the negativity. Instead start pointing out all your big goals and the aspirations you have to improve your life. Talk about them with excitement and passion. Your lady will take note that you’re going somewhere good, and she’ll be thrilled to be a part of the journey with you!

It’s okay if you’re not sure where to start, too. I’ve got a program in the works that’s going to help you be the man your woman can’t keep her hands off of! So make sure to open the emails I’ll be sending you over the next couple of weeks. 

In the meantime, ENJOY this freedom you’ve been given and make the most of every second! 

Living and leading by example, 

Bill McDonald

P.S. Have you printed your copy of The 13 Codes? If it’s been awhile since you’ve reviewed them, why not take a look again and put a copy in your desk drawer for easy reference? Following The 13 Codes is one of the quickest ways to build your sex appeal. Yeah, I went there.

Well, THIS is embarrassing...

Have you ever had a nickname that you hated? One that caused your stomach to churn every time you heard it? 

Yeah, me too! My nickname all through school was “Unicorn.” Pretty embarrassing, huh? I mean, what guy wants to be associated with a white horse with a horn that’s usually a feminine symbol?  

Though I didn’t choose that nickname for myself, there’s a pretty great story that goes along with how I got it - and I’m going to share it with you for the first time today. 

When I was in the sixth grade, my buddies and I were sitting in gym class - we were cutting up and joking like pre-teen boys do. Now, there was this kid in our class that we’ll just call J.S. (name shortened to protect the guilty). He was supposed to be in the ninth grade, but he had been held back a few times. As a result, he was a foot taller than me and had about 40 pounds on me. I can see him to this day: a white kid, with freckles, and long red hair with a rat tail (yeah, those were the days).  

Well, J.S. said something to one of my buddies that I didn’t like very much, so I said something smart back to him. Everybody laughed.  

J. S. was TICKED. I had embarrassed him, and he was LIVID (though he had NO idea what that word meant). He threatened to kick my you-know-what, and I said something smart back again (yeah, I didn’t know when to quit). Like a giant, he hoisted himself up and walked over to me - slowly, deliberately, threateningly. He locked his hands together with clenched fists and SLAMMED them down on me like he was wielding Thor’s hammer! I still remember the excruciating pain of that blow: an electric shock went through my body and the wall behind me shook. He had dropped the hammer on me right in the middle of my forehead! 

I put my hands over my face while my friends sat in stunned silence.  After a minute, they all rallied around me to see if I was okay. As I pulled my hands away from my face, I heard one of them say, “Holy cow, Bill, you look like a unicorn!” J.S. had managed to hit me so hard that a large bump was protruding right out of my forehead - just like a unicorn.  

I gotta say that I never liked that nickname, but it stuck around for a few years.  

Now, what did I learn from this? A few things: 

First, I learned that if you say something to embarrass someone who’s bigger than you, you’re likely to get hurt. It may or may not be worth it, but you should definitely consider the consequences before you get on the wrong side of a bully. 

Next, and much more importantly, I learned how it felt to be supported by a group of friends who had my back. See, while my friends couldn’t stop that initial blow from J.S., once they saw him hit me, they rallied around me. These guys were so happy that someone had finally stood up to the bully that they almost gave me hero status. 

I learned what it felt like to be a part of a brotherhood - to be connected and united with others in a fight against injustice (even if, in this case, it was just the injustice of a grade-school bully). For the rest of that day, kids from all over the school were checking up on me. Even the older kids, who rarely ever bothered with the sixth-graders. 

These guys took me under their wing for the remainder of that school year. They taught me how to fight back and defend myself. They taught me how to cap (that’s what they called having a word duel with a bully - it was definitely a special skill of mine). They shielded me from future attacks. They even taught me how to breakdance! 

I got a taste of what it was like to have a group of guys who were FOR me - who were looking out for my best interests. I gotta say that after a childhood where I was bullied and semi-isolated (I had friends, but no one who really stood up for me when there was a menace around), this felt like I had entered the promised land. 

And once I had this taste of brotherhood, there was no way I was ever going to live without it again. I’ve been purposeful in adulthood to build a network of strong, supportive men who have my back - first as a Green Beret, and now as I coach other men to live lives full of integrity. Having men I can count on has made my life more rich, more full, more satisfying. And it’s taken a TON of pressure off of my marriage. Our women weren’t made to fill the same role as our male friends. As men, we need that woman we can nurture and nourish, but we ALSO need that crew of men who are ready to fight for us (just as we’d fight for them)! 

So my question for you today: Do you have a brotherhood? Do you have a group of men who can support, encourage, and uplift you? Men whom you can TRUST? Men who can MENTOR you to greatness? 

That’s what The 13 Codes community is all about, and I’m honored that you’re part of our circle. 

Keep watching your inbox over the next few weeks, because I’ll be sending you information about a very special opportunity coming up in June. 

Until then, I want to know: what’s YOUR most embarrassing nickname? Just hit reply and tell me YOUR story. I read every single response. 

Living and Leading by Example, 

Bill McDonald  

When life punches you in the gut, do you punch back?

First of all, I want to tell you how much I appreciate you reading my emails. I’m on a mission to help you improve your life in all areas, and email is a quick and easy way for me to share with you some of the things I’ve learned over the years. I know you’ve got a choice about who you listen to and follow, and I’m honored that you’ve decided to invest your time in reading my messages. 

So today, I’d like to share with you about a time when I had one plan, and life had a totally different one. Basically, I felt like I got punched in the gut. And I kind of wanted to lie down and wallow for a minute, but instead I decided to punch back. And it turned out well! Here’s the story:

Prior to me leaving active military service (I served for years as a Green Beret), I had a grand plan about how I was going to transition from being full-time military personnel into a full-time civilian career. In the Special Forces, I had extensive medical training. So it made sense to me to pursue some sort of career in the medical field as a civilian. 

For 15 years, the state of California (my home state) had a program that recognized military medical training and allowed certain men transitioning out of active duty to become nurses. I felt like that would be a great fit for me. I love to help people, and I already had all the necessary medical training to become a nurse. 

However, just before I left active duty, California did away with the program that would have recognized my military medical training and qualified me to be a nurse. Unfortunately, I found this out pretty late in the game. So now I was leaving the only work I had known as an adult for a completely uncertain future. I didn’t have a plan B. 

I felt like life had knocked me down, and part of me wanted to stay down. I had spent years sacrificing everything to serve my country, and now it seemed like the odds were stacked against me at every turn. 

But I still had some fight left in me. So when a friend of mine suggested that I apply for a job with Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor, I decided to give it a go. I was convinced that this job would allow me to serve people by securing their financial futures. And it also held the promise of a good salary that would permit me to move back to Silicon Valley. 

Merrill Lynch’s training process was intense. After passing the initial interview and completing extensive psychological testing, I found myself in a room with 45 other men who all wanted the same opportunity I did. 

Now, I’m usually a pretty confident guy, but in this room, I felt out of my league. Almost every other man there was from a prestigious university, or had been a highly ranking officer. I, on the other hand, was an E6 from a tiny private school in North Carolina. One of these things was not like the others - and that was me!

A guy I’ll call “Joseph A.” (because that was his name) was in charge of hiring. He was rough around the edges and spoke mostly in expletives, but he was committed to getting the best people hired. 

Joseph made it super-clear that I was an unlikely pick for the job, but I didn’t care. I wanted it bad and I wasn’t backing down. 

I made the cut to the second round of interviews. But it was looking like the offer I might get was for Austin, Texas, instead of Silicon Valley. Thankfully, a friend of mine encouraged me to go after the job I REALLY wanted - the one in California, not Texas. At the risk of getting on Joseph’s bad side, I contacted the California office of Merrill Lynch directly to express my interest in the job. 

One day later, I was on a plane to Silicon Valley. And a few hours after that, I was being offered my dream job. 

But NOT for my dream salary. 

They offered me $35K instead of the $60K I KNEW I was worth. I had a choice there. I could roll over and take the $35K - or I could fight for what I knew I deserved. 

From a decade of military service, I had already learned that COURAGE is crucial when you’re in a battle. Now I was in a battle to get the job I wanted for the pay I needed - so I needed to channel courage again! I let the recruiter know exactly what I required for the job, and guess what? 

They hired me at the pay I wanted! 

So what did I learn from this experience? 

I learned that I couldn’t go through life allowing other people’s expectations to dictate my experiences. I learned that with the right attitude, the right focus, and the right approach, you can achieve things that no one else thinks are possible. I learned to never give up on getting exactly what I desired. 
I hope you know that when YOU exhibit courage, doors will open for you that you thought you’d have to knock down. Your act of bravery in owning your desires for your life, for your relationship, and for your work, is the first step to you achieving the lifestyle you’ve been longing for. 

As you go through this week, focus on exhibiting COURAGE when you’re faced with a difficult decision. It’s one of the most important of The 13 Codes, and it can revolutionize your life when you make it part of your regular response to challenges. 

To Your Success, 

Bill McDonald

It’s my birthday, so YOU get a gift!

Greetings from Punta Cana, where my wife and I have been celebrating my birthday! We actually WON this trip as a result of our work with a major fitness and wellness company; it’s called a Success trip, and it’s a reward for our dedication and hard work over the past months. 

Here are a few photos from Mexico; hopefully they won’t make you too jealous! 

It’s so important to take time to celebrate your successes. I know that if you’ve been reading these newsletters, you’re serious about becoming the BEST man that you can be, about growing in integrity and wisdom, and about leaving a legacy for your family (or future family). 

So how are you celebrating this hard work you’re doing? Are you scheduling a date night with your spouse, where both of you are free to relax and unwind? Or planning a golf outing with your buddies? Or maybe you’re booking tickets for a personal development event that’s going to help you grow and improve even more? 

We’re all different, so I can’t tell you what the BEST way for you to celebrate your success is. But I do know that you’ve got to set aside time (even a little bit) to honor the hard work you’re doing. 

It wasn’t necessarily “convenient” for CJ and me to pick up and fly to Mexico, but the time away from home has been a great re-set for us. We’re coming back refreshed and ready to get back to work. Celebrating our success actually makes us MORE successful! 

If you haven’t been setting aside time regularly to appreciate the progress you’ve made, think about a few activities that you can do this month to tell yourself “thanks” for all the hard work you’ve been doing. 

And as MY way of celebrating both my birthday and your continued loyalty as a member of The 13 Codes community, I’m offering you a special gift: $100 off the cost of pre-registration for The 13 Codes Academy! when you use the coupon code: BIRTHDAY

The Academy can be your next step to integrating all the principles you’ve learned in The 13 Codes into your life. Want a better body? A happy relationship? More fulfilling work? The material in The 13 Codes Academy is designed to get you all of these (and more), as you grow in integrity, balance and wholeness. The current price to grab a seat in the Academy is $247, but for 24 hours ONLY, I’m dropping the price down to $147 when you use the coupon code: BIRTHDAY

This deal is my way of celebrating my success in making another trip around the sun - and my way of encouraging you to find even greater success as you pursue your highest and best life! 

Living and Leading by Example, 

Bill McDonald

P.S. The deal is only open for 24 hours, so pre-register for The 13 Codes Academy today to take advantage when you use the coupon code: BIRTHDAY

Have you Seen This?

Have you seen a guy, balding with a bit of a belly, parking his cherry red Porsche and escorting a great-looking lady about 20 years younger to a fancy dinner? 

Yeah, thought so. Having lived in California for years (though now I’m on my dream property in Virginia; I’ll save that story for another email), I’ve seen this dozens, if not hundreds, of times. It always makes me feel embarrassed for the guy and nervous for the girl. Not a good situation. 

I know that because you’re reading this email, you do NOT want to end up like this guy in the red Porsche. Okay, maybe you wouldn’t mind owning a Porsche, but you’d want your life partner beside you, not some fling. And you definitely wouldn’t want that belly. 

But maybe right now you’re worried that your life is heading in that direction. You’re bored with where you are: in your relationship, in your career, in your life. 

The good news is that you recognize the problem. When you start to feel like you’re coasting, that’s when you should sense the danger on the horizon. And because you know that something is feeling is little bit off right now, you can begin to take dedicated action to righting the ship. 

I’m going to give you one word to focus on: COMMITMENT. 

To truly excel in life, and you ARE meant to excel, you’ve got to be 100% committed, full-on, all-systems-go, ready to do WHATEVER it takes. 

That marriage you’re in? Unless there’s infidelity or abuse, COMMIT to making it work. You made vows to your partner. HONOR them. 

That job you hate? COMMIT to finding something you love about it every single day and adding value to your workplace. Then commit to looking for something that suits you better - or building something of your very own. 

That belly that stares back at you in the mirror when you take your shirt off at night? COMMIT to cleaning up your diet and adding regular exercise into your routine, and it will soon be a distant memory. 

Commitment is your secret weapon. So few men exhibit it these days with any regularity. But you are extraordinary. 
What is ONE POSITIVE thing you will commit to today? Hit reply and share it with me! 

To Your Success, 

Bill McDonald

P.S. Don’t miss your chance to learn how to understand your partner, revive your romantic relationship, and overcome obstacles to love! Join me for the FIP Webinar tonight! (Click HERE to register)

Men are from Mars, Women are from...

Do you sometimes wonder how in the world you ended up with your partner? Men and women definitely have different ways of dealing with issues and problems, and that can really start to wear on a couple. 

In my own relationship, I came into it thinking I had all the answers. As a Green Beret, I was used to giving orders, not taking them. 

But I married a strong woman, and I found myself far outside my comfort zone. All the tricks and tactics I used to lead my team in the military were NOT working in my romantic relationship.  

Until I developed the FIP (Female Intelligence Packet). In the Special Forces, when we had a target to acquire, we'd be given a TIP (Target Intelligence Packet), so that we had access to all the information available about the target we were seeking to acquire. After years of battling with my bride, I realized that one of the biggest problems was that I didn't fully know her.  

I set out to learn all about my wife: her likes, dislikes, dreams, desires, talents, skills, fears, and pleasures. And I used all of that information to our advantage. Because when you're in a romantic partnership, it's no longer just about you. Every advantage YOU gain should be an advantage that your WIFE gains, too. You're on the same team, after all. 

Over my years of coaching men to excellence, I see even the greatest, strongest men getting tripped up in their relationships. And if anything can take a man down, it's love!  

So, I'm giving you my TOP strategies for using the FIP to revive your romantic relationship in a special Webinar presentation this April 12, at 8:30 pm EST, 5:30 pm PST. You can register right here to join me live and get all your questions answered in real time

When your relationship is running smoothly, you are going to feel more supported in every area of your life. This topic deserves your attention! I'm looking forward to meeting you live and engaging in this crucial conversation next Wednesday! 

Living and leading by example, 

Bill McDonald

Are You in the Middle of the Battle?

It's a tough time to be a man. We are assaulted on all sides in today's culture. 

We try to be faithful to our wives, yet we're faced with sexual billboards and ads every which way we turn. 

We try to parent our kids with authority, yet TV shows and movies mock men as weak and wimpy. 

What's a good man to do? 

Over many years of trial and (a lot of) error, I've learned that it's incredibly important to surround myself with a community of strong men, a brotherhood, who will encourage me to be the very best that I can be. Part of my success as a man is having people around me to whom I am accountable - so I know that being unfaithful to my wife or letting my kids run all over me isn't even an option - these guys would call me out!

One of my inner circle is Scott Mann. We first met years ago when we served together as Green Berets, and now Scott is a motivational speaker, trainer and author who is dedicated to building stellar leadership qualities in men. 

Scott made a quick video for you to encourage you to keep fighting for your BEST life. Enjoy! 

To Your Success, 

Bill McDonald

P.S. If you skipped the video, Scott is encouraging you to attend The 13 Codes LIVE this April 21-23, in sunny San Diego. Scott is a special guest speaker at this live conference, where I'm teaching you how to integrate The 13 Codes into all areas of your life. You won't want to miss it! 

Here’s what money CAN’T buy.

When I created The 13 Codes, my goal was to give men a guide to grow in integrity and wholeness. I was inspired to develop The 13 Codes after seeing too many broken families (including my family of origin and my own first family) leave children feeling abandoned, and after spending years on the battlefield as a Green Beret, where I saw the strongest of men in war crack under the tiniest pressure in their personal lives. 

I am convinced that we as men can rise to a higher standard than what most of us feel is possible. 

And today, I want to dispel a myth that I believe permeates our culture. 

That's the myth that money buys happiness. 

I get it. Money can make your life feel easier. When you have money, if one spouse is frustrated in the marriage, he can go for a nice round of golf at the local country club; or she can head to the spa for a day of pampering. When you have money, you can send your kids to a fancy summer camp to get some alone time. Or you can quit bickering with your wife over what kind of car to drive - just buy her what she wants and you get what you want! No need to compromise. 

Too many men think that making more money will solve their problems. 

But money never equals happiness. 

Money is neutral. It can be a force for amazing good in the world, or it can be a tool of massive destruction. What you do with it is up to you. But thinking that money will save your marriage, or revive your sense of self-worth, is false. 

I'm speaking from experience. I've made as much as $27,0000 a month, but during that time period, I was in total marriage combat! I was pulling my hair out wondering why all the money I was making couldn't fix our problems! 

I had it all wrong. No amount of money can fix a broken relationship.

What DID fix my marriage problems was PATIENCE and PERSEVERANCE. It was me making a decision that I was committed to my marriage no matter how uncomfortable it felt, and me resolving to love my wife even when I felt unheard and alone. 

And guess what? Over time, by seeing my unwavering commitment, my wife's heart softened. Once she knew that I was fully committed to her, and to US, she knew that she was safe and could be vulnerable. 

Our relationship is unparalleled by anything I've ever experienced. Yet for 5 years, both of us felt alone and misunderstood! All the money we were making didn't fix a thing. If anything, it exacerbated our problems. Our commitment to each other was what pulled us through - and that's priceless. 

Whether you've been trying to escape your problems by buying more stuff, or whether you feel defeated because you "can't afford" to splurge, you need to know that your worth has nothing to do with your bottom line. 

At The 13 Codes LIVE, I coach men just like you on how to live with complete integrity, honor, and joy -- no matter the state of your bank account. Over the next few days, I'll be bringing you more details about this special opportunity to work with me in an intimate live group setting. 

In the meantime, please continue to integrate The 13 Codes into your life, and let me know about the positive changes you're experiencing. 

To Your Success, 

Bill McDonald

P.S. I'm serious - I want to know how The 13 Codes are positively affecting your life! Just hit reply to this email and tell me how they're helping you. I read every message. 

You are NOT average!

I’m Bill McDonald, creator of the 21st Century Knight’s Code of Conduct and the 13 Codes Live Event, and I’ve got an encouraging message today. 

You ready? 

You are NOT average!  

You are unique, set apart, and called to greatness! You are a man who has been given the responsibility and the honor of living a life of integrity and humanitarianism. You’re here to protect and preserve the women in your life, and to provide safety for them. You’re here to lead a life of distinction! 

Have you started integrating The 13 Codes into your life? If not, NOW is the time to do so! Download your free copy of the 21st Century Knight’s Code of Conduct right here:  

The 21st Century Knight's Code of Conduct

I created this guide because I am well aware of how difficult it is to live a life of honor as a man in this modern culture. I’m betting that even as you read this message, you may be thinking,

“Bill, really, I’d love to be a Modern Knight, but I’ve screwed up too much!”

Maybe you’re thinking, “I cheated on my wife ...it’s too late for me to live with honor.”

Or, “I filed for bankruptcy last year. I’m a failure.”  

Or, “I’m addicted to porn.  There’s no hope for me.”

Or, “My anger is out of control. I want to keep my temper in check, but it’s impossible.”  

Well, I’m here to say that not ONE of the above situations is insurmountable. Anything or anyone who convinces you that your life is ruined is a LIAR. Anyone who tells you that your marriage, your credit, or your mind can’t be repaired is a deceiver!

Because you, my friend, are a Modern Day Knight!  

Hear me when I say that your past has passed. You are not a failure. You are not even average. 


And you are called to live out your extraordinary life, in honor, with integrity, and in service to others.  

Today, be encouraged. Know that whatever you have experienced, and whatever trial you are walking through now, you can survive and surpass it. 

You are a Modern Day Knight! Now start living like it! 

To Your Success, 

Bill McDonald

P.S. The 13 Codes will inspire and encourage you when you feel like the deck is stacked against you. Make sure to download them and keep them in a place where you can easily reference them. Here’s the link to download.  And stay tuned for an exciting opportunity to learn how to integrate The 13 Codes into your life, coming up very soon!

It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again

Bill McDonald here! It’s been a little while since I’ve been in touch with you, so let me start out by saying that I’m grateful for you. However we first connected, be that via my personal training business, or through the personal development world, or even at my 13 Codes Live workshop last year, I believe that we are in each other’s path for a reason. 

If you’ve followed me for any length of time on social media, you know that my mission in life is to help men become the best versions of themselves. I want you to feel proud when you look in the mirror - and to know that you are unshakeable in your integrity and honor. 

I created the 21st Century Knight’s Code of Conduct (also known as the 13 Codes) to help you improve all of your relationships - your relationship with yourself, your relationship with your loved ones, and your relationship with your community. 

Download your free copy of the 13 Codes here, and get ready to thrive!

I created these 13 Codes from a lifetime of experiences, some horrific, some fantastic, all opportunities for growth and maturity. From a childhood of abuse, to an early divorce, to more than 2 decades in the military as a Green Beret, to remarriage and a blended family, to a debilitating injury in my 40s, I’ve seen the best and the worst of times. I’ve watched men crumble on the battlefield, and I’ve seen strong leaders crippled by besetting character flaws like unjustified anger, resentment, unforgiveness and lust. 

You’ve seen it too, right? In today’s world, we as men have the deck stacked against us. Nearly everything in our culture is pushing us away from integrity and toward selfishness, laziness and decline. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Each of us was born with an innate purpose and the ability to serve and honor our families and our communities - to live with integrity and to accomplish greatness. We are MEN! 

And wherever your life has taken you up to this point, it’s never too late to begin again. 

So crack open the Codes and get started implementing these principles in your own life today! 

I’ll be checking back in with you in a few days to encourage you on this courageous walk! 

To your success, 

Bill McDonald

P.S. Don’t forget to claim your free copy of the 13 Codes! Here’s the link to download.