Your future bosses and clients usually won’t bet on you: they’ll see your record and automatically know you’re proven. But to get to that level of professionalism and proven-ness…

You’ve got to prove yourself to you.

You have to create an identity of someone so hardcore, someone so dedicated to your craft that you have no option in your mind but to rise to the top of your profession. After so many early mornings or late nights, you’re going to realize,

“I’m actually a badass. Who else would do what I just did?”

And that badassness is what will keep you serious and committed when other people flake out on their goals. You have all the confidence in your future that they lack; so when the time comes for them to give a little extra effort or to ease back, they’ll ease back. But not you.

When confronted with an opportunity to prove yourself just a little bit more, you’re going to seize that opportunity. And that’s what separates you from all the other people you’re competing with.–It’s what makes you successful as a solopreneur.

Doing what others won’t (proving yourself to you)

So you wake up with a mild fever and drainage. You definitely could use this as an excuse to watch Netflix all day in your jammies. But after the first movie (and half a box of tissues) you realize that this is a choice to prove how committed you really are. And you work.

Could just be for an hour or two. But after you’re done, you reflect on your work and say…

I’m a badass. I’m the real freakin’ deal. Who would do what I just did?!

Probably not even 95% of people. And it’s because of those 5th percentile efforts that you have full faith in your destiny—that you’re going places. So when other people doubt, you just work harder. Because you’re a badass.

A similar situation presents itself after a grueling day of work and some minor family emergencies. Every ounce of free time you thought you had for you sidehustle evaporated before 8:00am, and now it’s 11:00pm. You’ve only just eaten, and the cloudlike mountain of pillows on your bed beckons you to come gently into this good night. You rub your eyes like a toddler and lift one knee into this your cozy reprieve. And that’s when you realize:

“I’ve got a little more left in the tank.”

So you knock out that project you’d procrastinated on for a week; you take notes on the two chapters you’ve been meaning to study (or that podcast)—you do whatever it is that lets you know you’re the real deal and that there’s no one realer or more committed than you. And you thank yourself. Because most people aren’t willing to do what you just did. Which is exactly why you will succeed.

The only alternative is to make excuses for why you didn’t give more effort.

“I was tired…”
“I didn’t feel well…”
“There was wayyy too much going on today…”

These are all legitimate excuses. No one will blame you for using them. But in reality, these excuses are actually reasons—reasons to prove yourself to yourself. So when you come across them, whether that’s tonight or tomorrow, use them for the reasons they really are. Bring out your inner badass. Prove to yourself that only the top 5% of people worldwide would have the work ethic to do what you just did.

If you live like this, making reasons out of excuses, inspiring yourself through your incredible efforts and consistency, you won’t ever have to prove yourself to anyone else. Because your work will speak for itself.

And if you need help living like this…

Consider my coaching. 

Originally published at


  • Daniel Dowling

    Performance Coach, Writer for Greatist,, Mindbodygreen, and FastCompany.

    Dan Dowling, here. I was the poster child for lost millennials - couldn’t keep a job…addicted to relationships…constantly checking social media and email. But when I got hungry enough for success as a writer, I gave up my distracted lifestyle and adopted one daily goal that changed my life forever: Do. Your. Best. Today, five years later, I’m a productivity coach who’s published on the world’s biggest sites (including Entrepreneur, Fast Company and Mindbodygreen), and I’m transforming lives through the best-effort, zero-distraction lifestyle that worked so well for me. Come and and learn how to always give your best at Millennial Success!