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How Being The Big Fish in the Little Pond Drastically Reduces Your Income

by Pete Godfrey · 19 comments

How Being The Big Fish in the Little Pond Drastically Reduces Your Income

Who you allow into your circle of friends, colleagues and or advisors is a critical part of the success formula. We all know the saying, “Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas” but it goes much deeper than this.

I was discussing this topic recently with a few friends and clients; namely Andrew Grant, Darren Stephens (from Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus fame), and my good mate Mal Emery. Each had their own opinions on this; but each agreed association is a BIG X Factor in the success equation.  All of us know the importance of those we let into our circle.

Which brings me to one of my newsletter members.

I was talking to a member the other day that belongs to an informal mastermind group. In every such group, there is always one person that is seen as the kingpin of the group, the Big Kahuna; usually making a lot more money than the rest of the members.

Happens in all groups.

Anyway, in this group, this member is the kingpin. He’s doing a lot better financially than the rest and he’s ideas and advice are respected and taken as gospel.

But here’s where it gets interesting.

This guy has never made more than $350,000.00 a year.


He’s been cruising at this level for a few years now; never breaking through this 350K ceiling, never reaching his full potential even though he has had plenty of opportunities to do so.

He’s enjoying his mastermind group.

He’s enjoying the reverence the group has for him.

Frankly, he’s enjoying the feeling of being the kingpin more than making money.

Now this would be cool if he didn’t profess to me on many occasions that he wants to break through this ceiling.

I know it’s been eating away at him this lack of forward motion. He seems to have this 350k number in his head and can’t see a way to get past it.

My advice?

First, I told him he was the big fish in a little pond. Now that’s okay if you’re the shallow type and like to be the centre of attention but frankly, I’d rather challenge myself and keep pushing to be the best I can be and make more money.

Second, I told him to join another group. Join a group where 350K per annum is the barest minimum entry level. Start hanging around folks who make a lot more money than you do and you will naturally rise to the occasion and start moving forward.

Your thinking changes.

Your habits change.

Folks who make a million plus a year think differently and act differently and take action differently than those who make say 250K a year.

Fact is, you can never really rise above and beyond your chosen association. If you play chess, and you continue to play against those at your level or below, your game will eventually stagnant, even regress, but never progress.

It’s the same in business. If you’re hanging around folks who think 350K per annum is cool shit, and your goal is to hit a million +… then it might pay you to find another group.

Get this: In life, you either regress or your progress… I really can’t see any middle ground here.

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Copywriter, Sales Strategist - Pete GodfreyPete Godfrey, The Wizard of Words, from rebel without a clue to one of the most in demand and highest paid Copywriters and Sales Strategists in Australasia… all with the power of his emotionally charged words that sell… Discover the “Secret Weapon” to increasing your Sales and Profits by downloading the valuable report "The Ultimate Copywriting and Marketing Secret" While you're at it, follow Pete on Facebook

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Pete Godfrey June 2, 2011 at 10:52 am

SIDE NOTE: All of us can get myopic…all of us can get stuck in our ways. That’s why I surround myself with qualified people who give it to me straight. Many of whom make a lot more money than I do. I listen. They challenge me.

Is it and excuse I’m giving?

Am I assuming things?

Am I just cruising?

Frankly, when I get comfortable I feel uncomfortable. That’s because I know my true self. I know I can just cruise along and still make a comfortable income, but where’s the growth?

So I always take time out to get my bearings. Get some advice. And then recalibrate if needed.

(It’s a daily battle. Take now for example, outside the sun is shining, the dogs are romping, and I can smell the salt-tinged air wafting in from the beach. It’s a beautiful tropical winter’s morning; the sky so blue and bright it hurts your eyes. Frankly, I could easily get distracted. To be blunt, I am a bit distracted.

That’s why I needed to take time out from a copy deadline this morning and write this comment. My lazy-arsed self is trying to call me outside; trying to STOP me from hitting my deadline… putting thoughts in my head not congruent with today’s goals.

So sure, I trust this little comment helps you in some small way.

But if I get real honest with myself I realise I wrote it for me.

I needed to write it to get back on track.

It’s good therapy… and for the moment it has worked… so back to this deadline… and thanks for your continued interest and involvement with this blog… keeps those comments coming…)


Louise Bedford June 2, 2011 at 11:25 am

Couldn’t agree more with your post here Pete. It’s people’s mindsets that dictate what they’ll make and whether they’ll hang onto/grow what they’ve made.

Just as a side comment, before I met you, I mainly hung around people in my own industry. As a result, my thoughts were similar to theirs. This capped my growth. When I found others outside my industry, earning lots, and thinking big – things started to take off for me.


Pete Godfrey June 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Hey Louise, I thoroughly believe this to be the case; that 90% of the success equation is mindset, your habits, thoughts and behaviours and actions… and I’m definitely not perfect at this… still a lot of the old Pete there just lurking beneath the surface waiting patiently to pounce…but as the years go by, I’m getting better 🙂

As for your side comment, always great to be around entrepreneurs and not just those in your industry… I hear you on that one!


Janet Beckers June 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

Totally spot on Pete,
Whenever I get the change to hang with my multi-millionaire friends (actually some of the people you mentioned) I can FEEL my brain rewiring. They do think differently than my other friends (who I also love). They don’t even need to directly challenge me, simply talking to them on any topic makes me really challenge myself and lift my game.
Which reminds me…..I better get back to focusing on my deadline too Pete.


Pete Godfrey June 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Yeah great stuff Janet… it’s all about elevating our thinking…

On the weekend at Mal Emery’s gig, I touched on what blocks money…here’s a partial list below…

Stinking thinking: Petty thoughts, envy, gossip, small thinking.

Poor work habits: Rich self-made people are busy people. Money loves motion.

Low self-image: This is the BIG one. You can never outgrow your own self-image, your own sense of worth. There is always a reason. Too tall, too short, too thin, too fat… these reasons are in your mind, not others. (We’ve all got our story, let it go.)

TIP: People are too busy thinking about themselves to think about you.
Guilt: Biggest reason why more sales aren’t made is because of guilt. If they don’t spend it with you, they’ll spend it with someone else.

TIP: Self-interest without guilt (Ayn Rand)

Incongruence: One thing that will shatter your reputation (and your ability to make money) more than anything else is in-congruency and hypocritical behaviour.

Ego: You don’t wanna be the “Emperor with no clothes.”


Bonnie Power June 2, 2011 at 11:48 am

Hi Pete
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, You’re so right about picking the right people to form a mastermind. We are in that process right now, and I am so excited with the propsect of regularly meeting like-minded people, instead of just working on my own all day.
Now, I wonder if – right now – you have got back to your deadline? Good luck with it anyhow.
Kind regards
PS I just signed up to see you speak in the Super Conference happening in Melbourne in Oct – can’t wait to hear you speak!


Pete Godfrey June 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Bonnie, here’s a tip for mastermind groups. Make sure everyone brings something to the table each time to share…something that will benefit all. This encourages sharing and makes for a better group.

And great stuff about the Super Conference… make sure you introduce yourself because contrary to popular belief, I am easy to approach and I don’t bite!


Nobby June 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Good message Pete. Don’t we all think we are doing for the other peple around us, but fail to realsie that we can become caught in that circle.
If we really want to get better at what we do or what we achieve, then moving up the escalator of success is looking in the right direction and merely taking the next step.
Wishing you every continued success buddy.


Pete Godfrey June 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Thanks for your wishes Nobby.


Josh June 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Awesome as always Pete!


Pete Godfrey June 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Why thank you Josh!


Lisa Wood June 2, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Hello Pete,

Very true about the income… will only ever make as much as those that you are friends with 🙂

Hang out with the rich crowd and you will become rich. I once read (in a book) that if you were ever down and out and want to get out of your current situation – go to the rich part of town. Sit in the most wonderful richest hotel. Order something from the menu without looking at the prices, and watch those around you. Learn the behaviours of the richest people and soon you will be one of those people.



Pete Godfrey June 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Good advice Lisa… I love hanging out at Marinas… fills me with abundance… gets me going to keep on going…


Julie Mason June 2, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Hey Pete

Great post as always. They say that if you take your 5 closest friends, add up their income and divide it by 5 that is what you personally will be earning and its usually spot on.
Ayn Rand had it nailed in Atlas Shrugged – stay with what appears safe (the crowd) and let the world crumble around you or seek out the best and brightest and create the world anew…by the way, thanks again for putting me onto this great book – a must read.
Cheers, Julie


Pete Godfrey August 13, 2013 at 4:23 am

Glad you grabbed that book Julie… plenty of lessons…


David Oliver August 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Great Article Pete,

I had a similar experience some years ago when I was training in Karate. We had a small Dojo so I ended up sparing with the black belts most of the time, when I was at a much lower level. It didn’t take long to get a lot better at blocking attacks and finding ways to sneak in a few attacks of my own. Of course the consequences of getting this wrong were immediate and rather unpleasant, so I got a lot quicker than I would have otherwise… simply by ‘hanging around’ people that were better than me. It allowed me to rise to their level.


Pete Godfrey August 13, 2013 at 4:22 am

Yeah great stuff David… years ago when I did a bit of boxing, I was the same… always fighting guys a lot better than me… made me get good real quick. Thanks for sharing mate.


Phil Keet August 12, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Hi Pete

I follow your emails/blog etc from the UK and they make good sense. I believe it is about constantly raising your game and aspiring to greater things, including interacting with people who have achieved more than you and making sure you follow them down that path. Never being satisfied with “ok” but striving for better and spending time with people with high aspirations and good values.

Thanks for your inspiration.



Pete Godfrey August 13, 2013 at 4:21 am

You’re welcome Phil


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