You know that friend who’s got so much going on, you feel guilty for not being able to keep track?
For me, that friend is Louis.
We met about five years ago. And in that time, he’s gone from making mid 5-figures as a software developer to over $200,000 at this point.
Barely a month ago, he and I sat down for an interview on my Success OS podcast. And in it, he mentioned he was on track for another promotion.
Well, he got that one. But then roughly two weeks ago, I found out he got another one.
Like I said, it’s hard to keep up!
So today I want to tell you a little bit more about his story. Because not too long ago, he was working in restaurants waiting tables. His transformation is a testament to what can happen when you take an honest look at the beliefs you’ve been operating under your whole life… and then replace them with beliefs that actually help you.
So, let’s rewind five years.
At the time, I was working as an IT project manager at a Fortune 500 company. I won’t bullshit you – it was a boring job. Hopefully you can’t picture this – but imagine gray cubicles as far as the eye can see. Fluorescent lights, way too bright. Constant sound of fingers hitting keyboards in every direction.
Louis worked in a cubicle a couple rows from mine. I’m a pretty outgoing person, so eventually we got to talking.
He had been working 60-hour weeks for years at that point. He’d come to the office for eight hours, then go home to his family and spent the rest of the evening on call – weekends too.
He told me later that the highlights of his days back then were going to the corporate cafeteria to see the lunch specials. Some days – what he called “lucky” days – the executives would have a meeting, and there’d be leftovers in the conference room from the lunch they ordered. Louis and some of his colleagues would sneak in and take the extra (lukewarm) roast beef sandwiches back to their desks.
So, you could say he lived for the weekends. But since he worked on weekends too, I’m not sure if that even applies here.
Now, Louis wasn’t the most amazing software developer in the world. But since we were becoming friends, I started noticing that he had a unique combination of skills. He knew – as I like to tell him – how to “speak nerd.” But he also knew how to translate that nerd speak to his managers.
But he didn’t realize he had this skill, let alone understand how to leverage it. But I could see that it had the potential to take him far.
He was also good at analyzing the career paths of the people around him. He’d talk about it like fantasy sports, predicting who was going to get promotions based on their “work stats.”
One day I asked him, “Louis – why not you? Why don’t you think you can go for those jobs?”
He brushed me off at first.
But not long after, a lightbulb seemed to go off in his head. I’d always thought that he was numb to how miserable he was there. He was understandably beat down by the monotony. But it began to seem like the numbness was wearing off.
“I can’t live this way anymore,” he told me.
So, we started talking about it more seriously. He’d been operating under the belief that he couldn’t move up, or take on more responsibility, or make more money – even though he wanted to. So, I pushed him a little bit. “Why not you? Why shouldn’t you take that risk? Why don’t you take that step?”
His mindset began to change. He started noticing – with a little bit of help from me – what his skills were, and how he could combine them to be even more valuable at work.
Pretty soon, an opportunity opened up, and he jumped at it. He became team lead. That was his first big step up.
But then, over the next year, he got nearly half a dozen more promotions, with 10% raises each time. That’s practically unheard of when we’re talking about leveling up within the same company. But that’s what happened. He went from $56,000… to $70,000… to $82,000… to $96,000… to $108,000. Boom, boom, boom. (Like I said, it was hard for me to keep track!)
Eventually, he started getting raises without asking for them. At one point, he told me, he was sitting in his boss’s office, and his boss slides a piece of paper across the table to him.
“That’s your new salary,” he said.
And this was in July. Company protocol was to only give out raises in March. In other words, his boss was going out of the way to pay him more.
You may have heard me say that changing your mindset can lead to more money “practically automatically.” And if that’s not the definition of automatic, I don’t know what is.
Today, Louis is VP of Agile Development at a Fortune 500 banking company. (At least, that’s what he was last time I checked!) He’s making $200,000+. And the super crazy part is, he’s working less than before.
He does manage multiple teams, so he can’t quite get away with four hours a day like me. But he told me that he can comfortably work 30 hours a week and walk his son to school when he wants to – which is personally one of my favorite parts of the whole story.
He’s in control of his schedule, spends more time with his family, and makes more than 4X as much money as when we first met in that cubicle farm a few years ago.
At this point, he would have to purposefully go out of his way not to succeed.
So, if there’s something you want to do – whether it’s get a raise, start your own business, or just make more money in general – and you think you can’t, I’ll ask you this…