“Please Tell Me I Can’t”

One of my best friends and mentors said this to me a few years ago.

It wasn’t something I didn’t already know however. When you know someone since the age of 4 there are some things that just don’t need to be said.

Knowing Nick McLean for this long has given me the opportunity to watch him grow successfully, multiple times over in fact.

When others see what he’s accomplished, they say things like “it must be nice” without ever taking into consideration what it took to get him there.

I can remember as early as the 4th grade, while our other friends and I were busy playing with Ninja Turtles he was putting in work as a paper boy everyday after school to save up for a new bike that he wanted.

I’m pretty sure it was a Mongoose.

Even back then you just knew there was a certain drive about him.

Nick had a dream to follow in the footsteps of his uncle that flew for Alaskan Airlines. So after college he went to aviation school to become a pilot.

Just 2 years into his aviation career he was “laid off” due to the struggling economy, which left him searching for a new path.

While searching for other flying opportunities he decided to give Real Estate a “shot”. If you know Nick “giving it a shot” really meant, “I’m going to crush it”.

There was no doubt in his mind that he was going to be successful in this new career path.

I remember going to visit him and his wife Emily at their home in Wenatchee, WA. As I got ready for bed in their spare bedroom/office I saw a whiteboard that said $10 Million in sales.

At that time I though “$10 Million? Ok, yeah right!”. Of course I didn’t tell him that.

Keep in mind he had about 3 sales under his belt at this point.

But…He wouldn’t be denied.

Some people don’t allow the word “can’t” into their vocabulary. Nick however is motivated by the word “can’t”, especially when someone says it directly to him.

“You can’t sell 350 homes a year in your market”

So while everyone is having fun at the lake he is back up at the house figuring out how to sell 350 homes in his market… and sells 365. (That’s 1 a day if your keeping track)

“You can’t run a marathon”

So he spends the next few months training, building his endurance at 6am every morning… and finishes a marathon.

Or even when he recently found out that he “can’t” do a “muscle up”, a variation of a pull-up, that is actually much harder. So he focused on what he needed to work on to make it happen.

Guess what?

Yup! As you can see from this video https://bit.ly/2q4NMu2
He does a “muscle up”.

He didn’t just wake up one day and say, “I’m going to accomplish these things”.

He wakes up EVERYDAY and says, “I’m going to accomplish these things”.

Nick hasn’t been “lucky” to have this success. He’s been building it, working on it day in and day out with a goal to make it better and better with a willingness to bring others along with him.

Just like Michael Phelps in the Under Armor commercial that shows him swimming before the sun comes up, shivering in an ice bath in anguish and rolling in bed not wanting to get up as he pushes his body to it’s limits when no one is watching.

When the commercial ends the screen reads:

“It’s what you do in the dark, that puts you into the light”.


Although it’s admirable, Nick’s success isn’t what makes me so proud of him or even what makes me “look up to him”.

It is what he does “in the dark”, his daily discipline of getting up every day with intent to put in the work to not only become the best businessman he can be, but to become the best husband, best (new) father, best friend and overall best person he can be.

Sincerely Nick, thank you for your inspiration and friendship. I appreciate your daily sacrifices and look up to your incredible amount of discipline.

…and maybe most importantly, your open invitation to others to tell you…

“You can’t”

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