Treat yourself like a CEO and you’ll make 10x more income

As I wrote that headline, an old joke came to mind:

A guy walks into his office wearing a full-on Spiderman costume.

“Hey Dave, what’s with the costume?” his coworker asks.

“You know what they say,” Dave responds: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

Walking around as if you make 6-figures a year when you really make $10/hour won’t magically make you rich. (It’ll probably make you look like a moron.)

This isn’t some feel-goody-fluff article about being positive. I tried being “positive” for a long time working dead-end jobs and being completely broke and unemployed, and it didn’t work at all.

But when you treat yourself fundamentally different than you have before — really treating yourself differently — then yes, you can expect to see some significant changes in your income.

The reason is simple: people respect genuine self-belief. You teach people how to treat you.

If you let people know that you’re not someone who tolerates mediocrity, they’ll stop giving you mediocre opportunities. When you tell people that you only accept truly great opportunities, that’s what you’ll start to attract. You attract what you are — make sure you‘re attracting the right things.

Want to make millions? Then act like a millionaire

If you want to be something, then act like it.

If you don’t want to be something, then stop acting like that thing.

Tony Robbins once asked a crowd of thousands to imagine their door bell ringing. When they opened the door, he told them a “depressed person” was at the door.

He then asked them to describe that person.

The answers? Probably similar to yours: drooped shoulders, downcast, messy hair, a frown, a quiet voice, no eye contact.

Then he asked them to imagine that a “happy person” rang the doorbell. What did that person look like?

Big smile. Friendly eyes. Warm handshake. Raised chin, standing tall. Eye contact.

Robbins then asked everyone to physically imitate “a depressed person” and “a happy person” for one minute — act “depressed” and act “happy.” Robbins asked them how they felt afterwards.

The answer: it had a huge effect! Even a minute of acting like a “depressed person” made many people actually feel sad and helpless.

Of course, this is very oversimplified — real Depression and anxiety are enormous, complicated issues that can’t just be “thought” away. But I’m trying to make a point:

How you act determines how you are.

In his autobiography, Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote:

The only way you become a leading man is to treat yourself like a leading man, and work your ass off.

When I first started writing, I treated myself like a completely amateur writer. I didn’t invest in any tools or training, I wrote inconsistently, and didn’t focus on providing any real value. As a result, I never made any progress.

Years passed. Finally, I started treating myself like a true professional. I did what professional writers were doing — investing in themselves, experimenting, learning new skills, failing forward.

So I started making serious investments in like myself, like buying a $500 writing course and reading dozens of books. I also started writing consistently, and focused on learning and creating, not entertainment. I tried new things. I ignored the mean comments and kept writing.

Treating myself like a professional writer has gotten me enormous results. The other day, I emailed a best-selling author to ask for a book endorsement — because why not? They responded, and they’re endorsing my book!!

Treat yourself like a professional. If you want be something, then act like it.

Pretend your time is worth $1,000/hour and you’ll become 100x more productive

“Pretend your time is worth $1,000/hr. Would you spend five of them doing extra work for free? Would you waste one on being angry?” –Niklas Göke

You have very few hours here on on this earth.

Still, many people waste much of their time on pointless, low-quality activities that don’t help them reach their true goals — their mission.

The truth is, most people value their time at far, far less than it’s worth.

They say yes to things they have no business doing. They give away their talents, attention, and effort to others who take, take, take.

They spend hours watching low-quality television and social media when they should be productive and effective.

See, many people could be making a fortune (if they used their time well)…but instead, they give away their time in unproductive ways that leave them broke, unhappy, and stuck.

But what if you placed a high value on your time?

How would that change you? Your life? Your family? Your future?

Imagine that an hour of your time is worth $1,000.

What would your life look like?

What people would you stop putting up with?

What problems would you stop wasting time on?

What things would you stop — and start — doing?

Your results would be incredible. You’d become exponentially more productive, focused, and effective.

“Most people have no clue what they are doing with their time but still complain that they don’t have enough.” -Grant Cardone, NYT best-selling author

Here’s what happens when you start taking yourself seriously

Like I said, I spent years in writing mediocrity. Nobody read my stuff…because my stuff sucked. I didn’t invest any time or money into making myself better. Deep down, I knew I wasn’t a “professional.” So I treated myself like an amateur.

Finally, I started taking myself seriously. And everything has changed since then.

I get requests to be interviewed on podcasts, magazines, and blogs. The other day, I was asked to be a paid speaker at an international conference. Readers email me all the time telling me how helpful my content has been for them.

Most days, I still have a hard time believing this is my life. Because for years, I was the one desperately begging people to notice me and my writing. No one ever did…until I started taking myself seriously.

I don’t know exactly what will happen in your life when you start taking yourself seriously. But I can tell you this:

Your life will change. And if you’re like me, any upgrade looks fantastic when you’ve spent years trying to make it.

You teach people how to treat you.

If you let people know your time is free and low-valued, people will treat it as such.

But if you teach people that your time is expensive, important, and valuable, then people will respond in kind.

What you think is what you become. If you think your time is worth a few bucks an hour, that you’ll begin to act like it. You’ll find yourself saying “yes” to meaningless, pointless obligations.

But if, in your heart, you know your time is valuable…

People will recognize that.

People will respect that.

People will treat you differently.

Wrote author William Irvine:

“People are unhappy in large part because they are confused about what is valuable.”

What you truly believe about yourself determines who you become

Michael Jordan once said:

You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.

If you believe you can can, odds are you probably will.

But the opposite is also true — if you know you can’t, you’re probably right.

Bruce Lee put it this way: “One will never get any more than he thinks he can get.” What you truly, deeply believe is true about yourself and your future is most likely what will happen.

What do you believe?

The problem is, most people don’t have powerful self-belief in themselves. Most people think this is about as good as it gets. For the most part, most people believe the best they can be is merely “good.”

Why? Because it’s easier to stay in mediocrity than undertake the difficult process of upgrading your belief system. It’s easier to relax in “good” instead of busting your ass towards greatness.

If you want to have an incredible, successful life, you need to begin believing success is the only possible option.

If you want to increase your income, you should go to the source — you and your mindset. You can’t control customers, hiring managers, or people around you; you can control yourself and what you believe about yourself. All action stems from your belief. If deep down, you don’t think you can ever achieve true greatness…you almost certainly won’t.

In conclusion

Upgrade your beliefs. Start treating yourself like a true professional. Start treating yourself seriously — you can be a force to be reckoned with, if you let yourself become that person.

Once you start treating yourself like something bigger than you are now — a millionaire, a CEO, or whatever your goal is — you make that possibility much more real. Because you teach people how to treat you — start treating yourself like the thing you want to become.

Ready to level-Up?

If you’re an entrepreneur and want to achieve your goals 10x faster, check out my free checklist.

This article first appeared on Medium.