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How To Become Exceptional and Extraordinary


I wrote that on purpose. It wasn’t a mistake. I wrote FIRST NAME and put asterisks around it and then added lines.


The first time I sent an email out to a BIG list with, “Hi |*FIRST NAME*|,” I was 100% certain I was going to be fired. It was one of my first “solo” consulting gigs and I had a lot to prove (mostly to myself), but also to the person paying me a hefty chunk of change to do her company’s email marketing for her.

I was mortified.

I sent a follow-up “OOPS!” email immediately. I think? Honestly, I don’t remember it was almost a decade ago. But I remember I was terrified.

Looking back at that moment, I can’t understand what I was so afraid of.

If you mess up your tags or incorrectly sequence a welcome drip series or choose the wrong color treatment for your campaign assets or pick a dumb name for your product – hold on – I gotta make sure the marketing gods aren’t listening.

Ok, I’m back.

If you make ALL THOSE MISTAKES – it absolutely does not matter in the way you think it does.

We gotta take the stakes down a notch here, people.

There have to be more margins for error, not just for your sanity, but also for the SUCCESS of what you’re after. Or to quote Mark Manson:

“To achieve something exceptional and extraordinary, you must—by definition—do something that few or no other people are doing or willing to do. Therefore, wild, insane, spectacular success can only be achieved by actively going against what others have done and/or believing you can do things that others believe they cannot do. Therefore, anything that can accurately be codified into a step-by-step system on the internet is full of shit and not going to help you achieve this kind of success.”

[clears throat]

Adding Margo’s emphasis:


Anything that can accurately be codified into a step-by-step system on the internet is

[dramatic pause]

full 👏🏼 of 👏🏼 shit 👏🏼

and not going to help you achieve this kind of success.”

[end scene]

There are many reasons we fear mistakes. Sometimes there are high stakes, like we need to feed our family. And an unhappy client who has no margin for error could mean we can’t pay our bills. That’s legit.

But if your fear is what I think it is – if your fear is of being found out – then I would like to encourage you to make some more mistakes.

Mistakes are how we get to the “spectacular successes.” They’re how we become exceptional and extraordinary.

I like to call it, “Mistakes that worked.”

Part of how we sell courses online is by making you believe THIS ONE THING is going to make or break you. Especially when it comes to marketing. You get this headline wrong, you’re screwed. You don’t segment properly, screwed. You pick the wrong target market – you’re done for. DONEZO.

It’s not true.

Making those kinds of mistakes is how you figure out what works.

So here’s what I’d like you to do:

  • Put out your imperfect sales page
  • Sell something positioned incorrectly
  • Forgive yourself when you forget to add tags to your hyperlinks
  • Use pictures that aren’t pixelated correctly

And then fix it as you go. Your imperfect sales page won’t get better with tweaks – it will get better when you show it to your market and they go, “No thanks” and you have to figure out why.

I’m not suggesting you be sloppy – I’m suggesting that your fear of making a mistake is not a good reason not to ship.

Do something that few or no other people are doing or willing to do.

Ship it imperfectly. Make some mistakes.

One of them will work. Or lead to the thing that does.

– Margo



PS: Part of the impetus for this article is the rigidity I’m encountering from people who took a course and are TERRIFIED of deviating from the prescribed path they paid for. Courses are wonderful, I’m a glutton for education, but at some point, you have to trust yourself and start engaging with the market. And, if necessary, deviate from what you’ve learned.

Or as my dad used to say, “It’s in the application.” Not the information. Apply what you learned to your specific circumstance.

Hillary and I got into a wonderfully spirited debate with a few folks (and each other) on writing proposals – and WHEW it got heated. WHO KNEW THE CONTROVERSY THAT IS PROPOSAL WRITING. Anyway, the commitment people have to doing things the way they’ve always been done is terrifying.

Myself included.

Hillary challenged folks to send out 1-page proposals that list only deliverables + price, since that’s the information people want. No one reads the 20 pages of “company values” and team bios. My argument was “well, it depends.” When I worked in corporate, you needed to “play the game” and there are few things corporate folks love more than big PDFs they can show their boss. Hillary’s point was, “Change. The. Game.”

And she’s right. There are moments when you need to play the game, and there are moments when you need to change it.

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to understand which is which.

Which requires (say it with me) MAKING SOME MISTAKES.

Do something that few or no other people are doing or willing to do.

Change. The. Game.