Garrett Gunderson - Blog


And what defines hard work?

What happens if it is the work worth doing or something that we enjoy (or mostly enjoy) doing?

Does that change how we view work?

So much work today is without joy and is excruciatingly hard because it is no fun. 

It is mundane labor, difficult labor, and soul -sucking work.

Hard labor is the type of work that makes sense to retire from, sooner rather than later.

Forget benefits and perceived stability if it means trading your life day-by-day in work that is draining.  And sometimes, hard work can be part of the path to finding our way.  To discover our career.  To know what we don’t want.

And yet, in today’s world, far too many are wanting results without work.

This is the problem with the entitlement created by efficiency, technology, and a world without enough accountability.

From a young age, I learned what I didn’t want by doing hard work.

It ended up being lasting motivation.

Mowing lawns and washing cars from the time I was 12.

This instilled in me a desire to do a different kind of work.



Being mentored.

At 15 I worked for a week at the East Carbon Dump Site.

It was 104 degrees and I was pounding stakes in the ground with a sledgehammer.  There was a stinging sweat rolling down my forehead and into my eyes.

I even pulled weeds at Ms. Oliveto’s for half a day and she gave me pocket change.



Hard work.

But often the hardest work is determining what work to do- what model to follow, what career to create, what vision to live.   

If we skip forward and labor before knowing what labor is worthy of our pursuits, we lose.

We also lose if we never try something like cleaning cars, mowing a lawn, pulling weeds, or pounding stakes into the rocky ground.

Motivation comes from knowing.

Knowing what we don’t want, as long as we don’t get trapped in the work we hate.

It is work to find what we really want.

But it is much worse when we circumvent the time it takes to develop the skills, listen to our intuition, or follow a path that may take time.  That is where people get trapped.

What will it take to find the work you would love to do?

Doing something world-class requires work.

A different kind of work.

Doing something out of the ordinary requires patience and perseverance.

Finding something you are willing to dedicate your life to, that is work that very few are willing to do.

Now this is the work I am writing about.

When we find work worthy of our life, we win.

When we find work that we are willing to do for a lifetime, we win.

When we find work that no longer feels like drudgery or defeat, we win.

Most work is about getting something – net worth.

Getting somewhere – retirement.

Giving up something – family.

When we don’t take the time to get clear on what we want, we work at the expense of our life, our fulfillment, and enjoyment along the way. 

I get why it happens.

Student loans.

Car loans.





Immediate gratification.



The pressure of good living comes with debt or the insatiable appetite for more.

More money.

More stuff.

If you really want to scale, it comes from allowing other people to support you, it comes from a clear vision, and work that you are not only willing to do, but want to do.

Growth through “hard work” without vision is expensive.  

I’ve done it before.

I’ve worked tirelessly.

I remember talking to my friend Anthony during my Freshman year in college.  We did inbound customer service for several companies.  If we worked 5x longer each week, we still wouldn’t have made much.  That would have been hard work.  Harder than learning to write, speak, and build a business.

The right vision, the right team, and learning philosophies and skills that serve you at the highest, allow you to be extremely productive even when working less over time.

It is a matter of rules, delegation, vision, and energy.

What it really comes down to is belief.

For the longest time, I didn’t believe I could make lots of money and have time with my family, care for my health, and take time to travel.

Most people think it requires more work when starting out.

And it may require more skill development and extra time developing relationships, but often it only requires more work because we have short deadlines and limited patience.

We try to grow too fast.  In the pursuit of all the rewards, society has to offer.

Without a clear vision, work can be all-consuming.

In my business, 2010 and 2011 had explosive growth.

Growth that also had a higher rate of disappointment with our clients that year too.

We couldn’t keep up.

That meant I couldn’t keep up with life outside of business.

Speaking, coaching, hiring, building, leveraging, and that was about it.

Hiring over twenty people just to try and keep up.

Even though I was getting richer financially, I was far from living my richest life.

Thanks to my wife, and my business partner, in 2012 I adopted a radically different philosophy.  It was about enjoying my life along the way and working less without making less.

Doing the right work instead of all work.  

Allowing others to do work and grow.

Instead of revenue growth, we focused on margins and simplifying the model.

A philosophy of quality over quantity, improving value to existing customers rather than adding more customers.

Again, less marketing, more margin, and allowing for other people to support as well.

I even remember at one point that year my wife asked me, “Are we ok financially?  Don’t get me wrong, I love having you around, but how are we doing?”.

It was at the end of 2011 that I chose to invest in my quality of life, and my family, and design a life I didn’t want to retire from.  It was a commitment to my richest life, including money and all else that matters.  And this was coming off the 2008 and 2009 debacle and downturn.  So it wasn’t like I was already wealthy and started to work less and cruise through life.  Instead, I adopted a new philosophy, and framework and could see past my limitations.

It meant scaling up on a few things, yet eliminating and scaling back on others.

I wasn’t able to see this on my own.

It was thankfully due to my wife asking if this is how our life was going to be and my business partner working with me to change the course of my life, altering my family’s destiny.

In 2010 it was the largest revenue I had experienced to date.

In 2011, we were on track to do even more, but at the expense of my health and happiness.   The outside world would have thought I had it all figured out.

Inc 500.

7 -figure revenue growth.

Packed events.

Beautiful office.

You get the picture.

I was winning the game in society’s eyes, but missing moments with my family, frantically busy, and losing joy in the work I did AND limiting the potential and growth of my business.  The more I tried to do on my own, the less people could support me.

Taking on too much tends to rob joy.

Exhaustion tends to create lingering issues in other areas of life.

More time, less getting done.

The more we were scaling by me working harder, the more demands were on my time and I was having to let go of the things I enjoyed most in the business, to grow and scale.

My partner was willing to help me, but I had formed bad habits.

These habits can happen in a business.

Trying to fix everything.

Being involved in too much.

Feeling good when we are needed.

In the beginning, I was the only employee.  So I served as: customer service, sales, content creation, operations, etc.

You get it.

In that busyness, it is hard to believe we can have it all.

Stuck in the notion of what was possible or impossible through the limitation of my habits.  Growth without vision and clarity is a path that leads to exhaustion, disconnection, and discontent.

To scale, it is first about scaling back.  

It is about letting go.

It is about recognizing the habits, beliefs, and thought patterns that create limitations.

It allows for others to support you as well.

Now I am able to write more, record more, and rehearse more.  That was only possible by leveraging my strengths and maturing in business.  It meant a new philosophy that was exponential rather than linear.  And it meant talking to others about my limitations.

As an entrepreneur, even when things seem great, there can still be complaints and concerns.   But try to tell someone that you are having a hard time handling growth or there are too many clients.

Who wants to hear that complaint?

Most people just hold it in and keep going as they say, “I have it better than most anyone I know, I have nothing to complain about”.   Well, complaining might not be the answer, but designing your own game, with your best life, and knowing your win is much better than complaining.

But that often takes an outside perspective.

It takes getting out of your normal routine, new questions, and someone willing to challenge any limiting beliefs you may have formed to create a new possibility, to breakthrough.  

Start by asking:

What do you really want?

What is working and what would you love to delegate, ask for support, or have more time for?

What would you do if money were of no concern?

What makes you feel fulfilled?

When my wife challenged my existing paradigm, which led to a new conversation with my business partner, everything changed, and changed quickly.

Norm, my partner, found a way to boost the bottom line by cutting programs that were creating busyness and marginally profitable, to improve margins and find more time for me to be with my family.

He created more accountability for the team and therefore, in twelve months had some new members that replaced people that no longer fit.

I was fortunate.

It was a deep and profound lesson that I haven’t kept to myself.

I have shared it with people in my one-on-one coaching.

This is just one example.

Often when I sit down with someone, we compare their existing calendar with their ideal day, week, and year.  We take time to really get to what matters, what works, what doesn’t work, and determine what is an opportunity and what is a distraction.

We get completely clear on 5 objectives for the quarter, the year, and even a theme.  It is about letting go of busyness, distraction, and drama to reclaim time and produce more while having more leisure along the way.

It is about finding hidden capital, tapping into resources that are dormant, and finding the fuel that is aligned with their flow.  The hardest work is knowing what you want and being willing to let go of what no longer belongs.

What will it take for you to live a life you don’t want to retire from?  

Where are you in the either/or mentality versus the and mindset?

Where do your beliefs betray you?

When you design your life, when you know your win, and when you enjoy the process along the way, you scale.  To your best life.

Garrett “Already Won” Gunderson

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below.

Do you know someone that might benefit from these insights, musings, and stories?

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About the author : Garrett Gunderson

My commitment is to radically change the way you look at money and life so you can keep more of what you make and build a life you love. Interested in working with me? Comment below and I will let you know how.


  1. Guillermo Mendoza July 17, 2023 at 10:02 am - Reply

    I couldn’t agree more on doing what we love and loving what we do. I loved the ideas on optimizing the business and focusing on profitability of services.
    But when it comes to what do I really want, i feel trapped in the “once wee get rid of debt and sales are better then I….”.
    What I really want is to be a semi-nomad living for short periods in different places alternating with periods at home. Most of the business is virtual and I want an international business, so it is doable. But then the roadblock: we need money for flights, airbnb; we need to get out of debt to have money and we need to work hard and sell to have money.
    We are implementing the infinte banking concept, I guess now I need patience 7 to 8 years to get out of debt and in the meantime delay the dream?

    • Garrett Gunderson July 18, 2023 at 9:30 am - Reply

      How can you automate sales, or support sales from a one-to-many place, or have the people more ready when you finally talk to them due to how you educated and support the sales process? Think of how you make more impact with less one-on-one. Ask the questions: How could we make more money? What would you have to do less of to find the time for what would move the needle the most? Design the life you want now by increasing production and managing your loans, rather than being held captive by them.

      Thanks for the share. Some of this is how you view the world, business, and your overall mindset. Some is solutions that support your lifestyle and how you do your business. Hope this helps, thanks for reading and being willing to share.

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