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