Tag: self-help


by Joe Barnes




Date: Mar 4, 2024


Let me tell you a quick story.

Back in 2002, I had a dream of becoming a published author.

I wanted to write a self-help book. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of personal transformation and thought it would be amazing if I could inspire other people to change their lives.

At the time, though, I was a clueless university graduate who’d just returned home to his parents’ house. I didn’t have any experience writing books, I didn’t know anyone in the industry and when I checked the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook, it said that almost all publishing companies didn’t accept unsolicited submissions.

Not a great start.

Compounding my doubt, and crushing my motivation even further, were the comments I received from the people I talked to.

  • My parents told me I should look at mainstream careers as it was highly unlikely I’d ever get a publishing deal.   
  • A friend, who’d just started working for a major publishing company, told me about the massive number of submissions they received and the almost equally massive number of rejections these garnered.
  • A published self-help author, who I’d been introduced to, outright told me there was no money to be made selling books and that it was impossible to support yourself through writing alone.

As you can imagine, all of these comments had a negative impact on my mindset.

I started to believe that my dream was impossible.

As a result, for the next 5 years, I did nothing (or, at least nothing related to working on my dream). However, in 2007, after the breakup of a newly formed relationships, I decided I needed something to bring me back to life.

So, I began writing my self-help book.


The Long Road To Success

At first, progress was slow.

It took me four and half years and four re-writes to finally have a manuscript worthy of public consumption.

After contacting an agent, and being rejected – thereby having my negative beliefs about getting a publishing deal confirmed – I decided I wouldn’t waste any more time following the traditional route.

Instead, I’d use the relatively new technology of Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and upload my book onto Amazon.

It took a year and 3 months to sell the first 100 copies.

It took a further 5 years to reach my first one thousandth copy sold. 

My progress was slow and, baring some great feedback from readers, there wasn’t much in my publishing experience to indicate that the naysayers were wrong.

However, in 2017, I attended a YesGroup (a personal development group inspired by the teachings of Tony Robbins) meeting in London. At this meeting, an author called Brett Moran took to the stage and gave a great speech.

Afterwards, I bought his book, chatted to him and then went home.

After reading the book, I noticed he had a UK publisher and emailed him to ask if he wouldn’t mind sharing his contact.  

Graciously, he agreed and I got in touch with someone at Watkins Media.

My first offering to them was Escape The System. It got rejected (although with seemingly genuine praise which made me think it would be worth contacting them again once I’d written another book).

That I did, the following year and, to my total surprise, they liked my book and offered me a publishing deal.

Fast forward to 2020 and my book, Do The Work You Love, was published. A dream, which everyone had told me was impossible to achieve, came true. 

Me at the book signing for the launch of “Do The Work You Love.”


What I Learned From My Experience

Getting my book published taught me a powerful yet surprising lesson.

Achieving your dreams is easier than you think.

In fact, I believe you have a 66% chance of being successful (watch this video to discover how I came to this conclusion).

There are only 3 things that you need to do (irrespective of what your dream might be).

They are  . . .


1.     Take Action

You may have thought that the competition for whatever you want to do is vast. So vast, in fact, that it’s not even worth trying.

Let me tell you a little secret.


What does that mean?

That 90% of your competition isn’t even going to take the first step to realising their dream. They’re going to believe the statements seen in the picture below, keep working their regular jobs and spend their evenings sitting on the sofa watching their favourite Netflix series.

The Naysayers

All you have to do to put yourself ahead of 90% of the competition is take action.  

  • Set up your website.
  • Go on that training course.
  • Write the first 10,000 words of your book.
  • Find a mentor.
  • Create your first product.

Don’t underestimate how powerful these actions are.

Take a look at the picture below.

These are the sales rankings for my book The Rebel Code on Amazon US. It’s actually a bad sales day. Usually, I’d be floating around the 100,000 ranking and then much higher in the categories related to my genre.

However, even on a bad day, you can see that I’m inside the top 1000 motivational authors in the world.

How did I get there?

There’s nothing particularly special about me and I have no outstanding talents (otherwise I wouldn’t have to work SO damn hard for my success).

I simply took action. Again and again and again.

And while this step won’t win you the race, it will put you in the race (and that’s a lot further than most people ever get).


2.     Learn From Your Failures

While achieving your dream is easier than you think, it’s not easy.

You’re going to fail (many times). That’s guaranteed.  

Failure is tough and it affects us on many levels.

First, it’s embarrassing. No one wants to be seen falling short of the mark, especially if they’ve told the people around them what they plan to do.

Failure is also depressing. Forget the public embarrassment, the private defeat can be even worse. You worked so hard, dotted every i and crossed every t and yet, it still wasn’t good enough. This can weigh heavily on your soul, causing you to consider giving up.

Finally, and perhaps worst of all, our failures can appear to be proof that our dreams are impossible to achieve. What could be clearer? You tried and it didn’t work out. The naysayers were right.

This is the way most people understand failure. However, you can’t be like most people.

Instead, you have to view failure as an opportunity to learn.

Every time you fail, ask yourself these questions.

  • Why did I fail?
  • What can I do differently to achieve success?

Take the lessons on board and then bounce back stronger.

What does this mean?

As mentioned, your failures can take an emotional toll. It’s understandable you feel depressed in the aftermath of a crushing defeat.  

However, you must become an expert in allowing this feeling to fade away as quickly as possible and then bringing even more energy to your work the next time you try.

  • Be more dynamic
  • Be more inspired
  • Be more positive

This, combined with the knowledge gained from your prior defeat, will enable you to breakthrough and reach the next level.


3.     Find A Way To Support Yourself While Working On Your Dream

Let me present you with a couple of likely scenarios for why you, or anyone else, might give up on their dream.

  1. You save up a sum of money to support yourself for a year. You then quit your job and give yourself 12 months to succeed at your dream. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out. So, a year later, scared that you’re going to run out of money, you get a similar job to the one you had before. You give up on your dream, telling yourself that you gave it a good shot but that it was impossible to achieve.
  2. You spend 5 years trying to achieve your dream. A little bit of progress is made but you don’t get anywhere near being able to support yourself through this project alone. So, rationalising that any sane person would stop after such a lengthy period of time, you give up.

Both of these scenarios are reasonable, right?


However, they’re unnecessary.


Plus, by continuing, you give yourself almost unlimited opportunities to succeed.

There are many ways to fund your dream.

  • I use tennis coaching and hypnotherapy as a platform to support my writing ambitions. These occupations are reasonably well-paid and allow me the flexibility to set my own schedule.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger used appearance fees as a bodybuilder, running a construction company and real estate investments to support himself while aiming to become a Hollywood actor (it took him 7 long years but, because he could provide for himself, there was no need to give up).
  • You might use freelancing, consultancy work, side hustling or working part-time/less hours in your current job.

Whatever the case, you must keep 10 to 25 hours a week free to work on your dream. Do this, and you can go on and on in your quest.

Then, with enough time, action taken and lessons learned from your defeats, you WILL succeed.  



If you want to discover a passion you can make a living from and overcome the fears that are holding you back, check out my free course 30 Days to Escape The SystemClick here to get the course right now! (You’ll find the tips on developing belief and self-confidence fascinating!) 


Please consider sharing this blog post if you enjoyed it or found it valuable. You can copy the link and send to a friend or share on your social media by using one of the buttons below. Thank you! 

Photo by Martin Wyall on Unsplash