“The Gap” – How To Tap Into Your Own Success

Have you ever read a sales page with a bunch of “proof”?

(Stupid question, I know – we see it every day.)

Have you ever felt INCREDIBLY DISCOURAGED after seeing all that proof?

(I’ll raise my own hand to that one.)

Perhaps you’ve seen every other person in this “make money online” world making a boat load of money, and you’re still waiting for your first sale… your friends and family tell you to give it up – it’s all a bunch of crooks anyway.

Yet you still see the sales pages and the “proof” of people who are probably LESS qualified than you making tons and tons of money…

Does it conjure up the question, “Why not me?”

The Gap   How To Tap Into Your Own Success

"The Gap"

There comes a point when you’ve read all the blogs, signed up to all the lists, and read all the materials where you feel like you should have success by now. But hey, look at that guy, he’s making a million dollars, and I’m still…. a failure.

Whether it’s proof of someone making a million dollars, losing 100 pounds, or starting a successful internet marketing business, seeing other people’s success over and over again is motivating at first, until it becomes extremely discouraging, because you haven’t achieved the same success.

For example, I was once at dinner with an extremely successful friend of mine. When he mentioned how much money he had made in the last year (tens of millions), something in my brain said, “You’ll never be good enough to do that.”


(You’re not alone if you’ve ever felt this way, and don’t worry… there is a CURE.)

One of my favorite mentors and speakers is Dan Sullivan, and he calls this feeling “The Gap.”

The Gap is the difference between where you are today and what your “ideal life” is. How many times have you thought that your life isn’t what you thought it would be, or that you feel so far away from being where you want to be? That’s The Gap. And because of The Gap, we often feel discouraged, beat up, and unworthy.

Here’s why…

As human beings, we set our sites on our own “ideal life.” It’s different for each person, but we all have a picture of what our ideal is.

The problem with “the ideal” is that it doesn’t really exist – it’s no more real than the end of the horizon – we can “see” it in the distance, but it doesn’t really exist. In fact, the closer we get to it, the farther away it actually gets.

Furthermore, *other people* may see your success and even envy it, but it still feels like failure when compared to “the ideal.”

Dan Sullivan likens this to an olympic runner (which is interesting, as I’m currently training for my first half-marathon), who trains and trains and trains to improve his or her score. He or she has a picture of what it would feel like to win the gold medal…

The Gap   How To Tap Into Your Own Success

Dan Sullivan

So after months, perhaps even years, of rigorous training, the runner qualifies, enters the race, and wins the gold medal. All the work has paid off, he or she has achieved the goal, but is still absolutely miserable. Why? Because the ideal doesn’t really exist… and as a result, all the work up to this point feels like a total waste.

Another example is the anorexic young girl – everyone knows she is thin… she is actually too thin. But she is comparing herself to the ideal, so she continues to feel like she is failing… and she spirals further and further…

I’ve experienced this in my own life – I’ve earned a lot of money. I’ve taught other people how to make a lot of money, and some of them have. I’ve met people I never imagined I would meet, including countless millionaires, best selling authors – heck, I even shared a cab ride with Les Brown last December. People look at me as a great success to have achieved such things at a young age, but it always made me feel like more of a failure. The more successful people that I met, the more I felt like a failure. The more product I sold, the more I felt like a chump. In fact, I’ve turned away BIG TIME JV partners in the past simply because I felt unworthy.

Why? Because I was comparing myself to the ideal.

And as a result, every success felt like a failure, because I wasn’t yet at the ideal, and it didn’t matter how many people said otherwise….

Crazy, right? Yet I know that I’m not alone.

We all have people in our lives that we envy because they are living their ideal. But again, the ideal does not exist… and chances are that they feel the same way that you do.

So what’s the cure??

Dan Sullivan puts it simply…

(This made a HUGE difference in my life.)

Instead of comparing ourselves to the ideal, we instead make a *constant intention* to compare ourselves to where we just came from.

For example…

The Gap   How To Tap Into Your Own SuccessLet’s consider the first “runner up” in the olympic race that we mentioned earlier…

He trained just as hard and ran just as many miles… yet it was only good enough for first loser.

But instead of feeling like a failure, he looks back at where he came from – he could barely run 2 miles when he first started training! Look at all that he’s accomplished! What a wonderful experience…

Do you see the difference?

Rather than compare yourself to what your “ideal” may be, you can compare yourself to where you were before, and each little success can actually feel like a success.

Every article that gets a first-page listing on Google, every campaign that is profitable, every affiliate sale, and every new client/customer can feel like a brand new success when compared to where we were BEFORE.

Heck, who would have ever thought that a totally broke high school student, who had no way to pay for college, would ever achieve success from his dorm room and be respected in his industry just for being himself? Hey, my story’s not so lame after all……. but ONLY compared to where I CAME FROM.

You see, if you continue to compare yourself to other people who look like they are living your “ideal,” then you’ll always have that pit in your stomach and the voice in your head that says, “You’re not good enough… and you never will be. You might as well not try.”

(I only know because I’ve been there.)

In this crazy, mixed up “make money online” world of ours, it’s very easy to compare ourselves to those who have already been extremely successful. It’s easy to envy the guy who made a million dollars last year selling other people’s products. But the more that you compare yourself to him, the more miserable you will continue to be.

Here’s how to cure it:

1) Take inventory of where you are right now.The Gap   How To Tap Into Your Own Success

2) Compare it to where you were five years ago. What knowledge have you gained? What skills have you obtained? Even if it’s as simply as understanding the THEORY of search engine optimization, you have acquired specialized knowledge that very few other people in the world have, and that’s a major success.

3) Start making small steps that move you closer to your goals. But even more importantly, realize that every small step is a true success. You won’t be at your ideal, because the ideal doesn’t exist… but you’ll be able to celebrate each step as a contribution to your overall success.

Dan Sullivan says that this major switch in the brain is an absolutely crucial part of your total happiness, and I believe him, because I’ve experienced it.

I’d like to leave you with some wise words from one of my dearest friends and mentors, Travis Sago. We all have people that we admire and respect and strive to be like – Ron Paul and Travis Sago are mine. I’ll get choked up if I talk about what he means to me as a friend.

Listen as he discusses why “you’re already good enough…”


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12 thoughts on ““The Gap” – How To Tap Into Your Own Success

  1. Really great post Ryan!

    It’s so true…focusing TOO MUCH on the “ideal” is the sure way to secure your un-happiness, since it’s impossible to live up to.

    That’s why I think it’s great to get out there and talk with other folks that have no idea about internet or affiliate marketing and see how their eyes light up when you start telling them how to get a website ranked and make some money online.

    It’s not about bragging, it’s more about getting a perspective on how much you know about something (but often don’t realise).

    I try to keep screenshots and emails of my little successes as I go along and keep them in a folder. When I’m having a rough day and feeling self-critical I open up the folder and think about where I am now, compared to where I used to be – and how great those little successes felt at the time, even though they would feel pretty normal to me now.

    Thinking like that is much more positive, because it simplifies everything…just keep on trying and things will continue to get better.

    The thing is, we need to stop focusing so much on the mountain top and thinking how much further there is left to climb. It’s better to look back occasionally and see how far we’ve climbed…and sometimes just stop, rest and take in the view.

    All the best,

    • Hey Ryan,
      Spot on man! I always thought there was something wrong with me when the things that are suppose to be motivating have actually been demoralizing…thanks for filling me in on the GAP. Oh, and now that I know your a Ron Paul fan-I will be opening your emails every time and forever now! Here’s a video you will enjoy ;-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=384JykXEjC4 PS I shared this blog with my wife, Jana Murray, she will be befriending you as she is a BIG Rn Paul person…nice top know another IM’r that supports Ron!!

  2. I never thought about the Gap. It’s a lot more encouraging.

    Travis is terrific. It seems like he does care about people and the progress we all make. However his point is extremely valid. Just get started.

    I have in a big way and I am making great progress with everything that I have learned in the last year.

    Thanks Ryan

  3. Hey Ryan, I just wanted to drop a note saying thanks for continually posting the good things you come across. I followed you onto WA back in September 2009 and have learned so much since then. I’m not at my ideal but looking back I consider myself a success compared to where I started. It’s exciting to think about how some day I may look back to this phase and be even further along. Keep up the good work you’re doing and stay true to your humble roots.

  4. Beautifully put, Ryan. Thank you for sharing this. It is so true that in our humanity we seem to find it easier to put ourselves down, tell ourselves that we are not good enough. Dan’s “the Gap” explanation is really helpful in correcting that. It is very important to celebrate our successes, every small one of them.

    By the way, I love the “Baby Success” pic!

  5. I can see lots of feelings on your Post !!!, 100% agreed with you Ryan , I would always remember what you said on this post.

    Lots of people envy us and we still think that we aren’t worthy at all.

  6. Hi Ryan, great post. The IM industry abounds with claims of how the latest and greatest method will lead to riches. Focussing on ones own development, actions and achievements seems like a great way to avoid being overwhelmed by the email lists spruiking all manner of things (but really just act as a distraction).

    I’ve been cutting down my email subscriptions for a while now, based on those lists which don’t provide real value (but rather just push products). My aim is to reduce the noise in my inbox, and let me get on with doing what I need to do.

  7. When you connect with your target customers directly, and provide them with the information and services they are searching for, the feelings and bond they feel for your business increases and more word of mouth business occurs too.

  8. Hi Ryan,

    I would like to discuss something important with you. I couldn’t find a ‘contact us’ page or email id. Can you please send a mail to my id?


  9. Wow, I’ve wasted a lot of time seeking my ideal. How did I get here? I was so happy when I looked at how far I’d come. Thanks for this :)

    And the last video is so spot on. I applied for a job today where the guy that built the site kept saying “We just need 1% of the market”, I wasn’t sure whether to go “****, it’s a bubble again” or just realize that doing what I want is way easier than I think, I’m not even TRYING.

    First I need to read all Seth Godin’s books. I need to read many programming books and know all of it enough to converse with programmers, I need to have had half a dozen sites built by myself before. I need to go through the Pick-up journey so that I’m an amazing salesman.

    Forget all that, it’s snake oil in my mind. again, thanks a bunch! :)

  10. Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to
    give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading through your articles.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics?
    Appreciate it!

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