When I was 20 years old I played poker with a fortysomething year-old woman on Suncruz Casino pretty much every day.
One day she was winning about $1,500 in her session and I could tell she was feeling on top of the world.
I said to her, “Poker’s amazing, huh? How often do you get to make more than $1,500 for a day’s work?”
She looked me dead in the eye and said, “Every single day.”
When I moved to Florida in March of 2004 to shoot my shot at becoming a professional poker player, the most money I had ever made for a day’s work was $200 (Made a few weeks earlier as a server on Valentine’s Day).
I can still remember how excited and proud I felt when I finished counting up my tips.
After making lots of money playing poker throughout the rest of 2004, emotionally I was still the same human I was a few months earlier in February…
And I had no idea how to handle that success.
Losing thousands of dollars in a day hurt so badly I’d lay my head down on my pillow afterwards and tell myself:
“It’s ok Brad. Every human in the world, regardless of wealth or power, has to sleep. So even though you’re a total failure, you’re at least equal to everyone else in this one moment.”
I feel asleep thinking those words hundreds of times.
Now, the big wins felt amazing… I won’t lie to you about that.
One time I finished 4th at about 7 am for a $15k score in a nightly $200k guarantee on PartyPoker.
I was so excited I drove to where my friend Jason was staying (The Dolphin Inn near Cocoa Beach – Aah, the memories) just to wake him up and share the good news.
I was so happy and pumped full of adrenaline that we passed the football around in The Dolphin Inn parking lot for over an hour while I was smiling like an idiot the whole time.
But gradually things kind of changed.
The wins made me feel much less joy while the losses were still excruciating.
My volume was atrocious and life was much harder than it needed to be all because I was so afraid of the pain that came with losing.
One time, after losing a big number by pretty much anyone’s standards, I went to my hotel room and cried myself to sleep.
How you view your self-worth is a helluva thing.
When you see a weak or small person in the mirror, you’ll find you’re only comfortable connecting with similar people.
That woman I played with on SunCruz Casino and her husband offered to take me out to lunch and give me some life mentorship because I think they recognized how desperately I needed it.
I declined because I’ve come to learn I saw myself as unworthy and insignificant… I thought they’d just be wasting their time with me.
Of course, back then, I told myself a different story:
“I already have the answers, what could I possibly learn from these people who know nothing about me?”… I was filled with terror that I subtly cloaked with arrogance.
And when you and your crew see yourselves as small, you operate under an unspoken agreement:
No one is allowed to become too big.
You tear each other down through sarcasm and toxic negativity that’s wrapped in a thin layer of “tough love” because you all live by the same truth:
The more empowered you’re allowed to feel, the further you’ll reach.
The further you reach, the more spectacular your failures will be and none of you have any idea whether or not you’ll be able to survive them.
Today I just wanted to remind you that the folks you surround yourself with have more impact than any other controllable variable on the levels of success you reach in any facet of life.
Which is why I beam with pride whenever a player in Greatness Village dares to dream big, shot-take, and risk massive failure on their paths to becoming their best self.
And I’m even more proud when a new community member inevitably tries to make everyone feel small by ranting about all the stereotypical poker things only to get instantly shut-down by multiple Villagers without me ever having to say a word.
The CPG podcast, Greatness Village, Poker Power Hour, and all my courses are designed to empower you in your journey so that you will reach further than you ever thought you could.
Small-minded people are not welcome nor tolerated.
If you’d like to see if you fit in at absolutely zero cost, here’s your link to check out Greatness Village:
Talk to you tomorrow,