Who decided that success = six figures?


By Lorraine Hamilton

I’m sorry, but I missed the memo that says I am only successful if I earn 6 figures.

I must have signed up for something mistakenly, because apparently all I want to do is lie on a beach with my laptop, working as few hours as possible, for the biggest financial reward.

For 99% of entrepreneurs I know, that’s a crock. And here’s why.

Debunking the myth

First of all let’s deal with the obvious: ‘6-figures’ is a meaningless measure.

What 6-figures are we actually talking about?  Is it revenue, or profit? It is perfectly possible to have a ‘6-figure business’ that is making zero profit. 

The other obvious factor, what currency are we talking? 

Given that my local currency (New Zealand dollars) is worth approximately half of my home country’s currency (Scotland) therefore it should be twice as easy for me to make 6 figures, but it buys me a whole heck of a lot less!

Besides, the entrepreneurs that I know and admire, wouldn’t thank you for a life without their work.

Yes, they would like space to create their new program, or write their next book. They’d like to have enough income to spend time with their children or take holidays longer than the standard 2 weeks.  Or, they are building an empire and are generating revenue to reinvest into that business to grow it to dizzying heights.

I do not know many entrepreneurs who desire to stop working, at all. Do you?

I honestly believe that the those who are using the promise of earning 6 figures to market their coaching are copping out and being lazy.

It’s like saying, would you like to be thin, or happy, or healthy? It’s a loaded question that prays on our conditioning and pulls us in.

But we are being equally lazy if we buy into that ideal without exploring what that would actually mean for us.

Key takeaway – 6 figures as a measure is meaningless.

What do you really want?

It’s a tougher question than you might think!

Let me share a personal tale.

When I worked a day job, I was making the magical 6 figures. I used to refer to that job as my ‘golden handcuffs’ because I thought I needed to replace that income in order to be successful in my business!

I wrestled with it for a long time. When I left my job, my business was nowhere near generating that income (how and why are another story, but it is a similar one for many who side hustle I’m sure.)

Shortly after, I had a particularly busy day between seeing clients, reaching out for opportunities, driving to my kids’ sports games in the middle of the day, and hosting my parents from overseas.

I sank into my chair with a huge smile on my face.

THIS was exactly what I wanted to be able to do.


The freedom to plan my day, my way. To be there for my kids. To be home for my parents, not stuck in an office. To meet with clients and partners on my terms.

Let me ask you, what do you think the trappings of a 6-figure lifestyle would give you?

  • Money?
  • House?
  • Car?
  • Travel?
  • Freedom?

Most of us actually want to work.  Our work is what we are driven to do. So given the choice, we would rather develop our work and message, write a book or develop a new program over endless beach holidays.

Examine whether you are caught in ‘conditioning’ and that the 6-figure trappings are actually what YOU want, or what society wants for you first.

Then look at the reason behind the things that you do want.

Money is not a driving factor in itself, which is why the 6-figure promise is tricky.

Yes, we all need money to survive, but what do you really need the money for?  Is it to work less?  Is it to reinvest to take your message further?  Is it to care for others?  It is to retire your partner?  Is it for your children’s future?

For each of those statements, then ask yourself, ‘what will that look like?’ and get as detailed as you can.

For each of the ‘things’ that you described that the 6-figure lifestyle would deliver, explore what they really mean for you.

A home might mean security and health, or it could mean a status symbol and pressure to pay a mortgage.

Travel could mean adventures and knowledge, or it could mean a reward for the pressure and stress that you are under in your daily life.

Freedom could mean choice to work or not, or it could mean choice in every area of your life so that you don’t feel that you need to escape.

And once you have explored your answers, look at where you are already experiencing elements of what you really want, and how you are being when you have them. 

What you focus on expands, so enjoy those times and you will attract more.

Key takeaway – Understand what you really want and notice where you have it already.

Turning things on their head

 Have you heard of the principle of Be/Do/Have?

The concept is reasonably simple. Its execution can be trickier.

What we are basically doing is changing the conditioning we’ve been taught over the years.

Think about it: when you were a child, you were rewarded for doing good things. The reward is something that you would have, which would result in you being a certain way – happy, proud, recognised.

This principle is reinforced everywhere. Basically it’s a message of work hard - get your reward for working hard - be happy.

It is the same in your career, your health, in your relationships. The focus is on doing something, in order to have something which leads to being something.

The being is the ultimate goal. In our case ‘rich’ (again, highly subjective), ‘successful’, ‘accomplished’, ‘happy’, and all wrapped up in that perfect package… 6 figures.

I make my money by helping others to see things from a slightly different angle, and how different that can be. And Be/Do/Have demonstrates this beautifully.

Here is how we are conditioned to live our lives currently:

Do/Have/Be. We do work, in order to have 6 figures, and only then will we be "successful". Let’s turn the paradigm and the associated conditioning on its head though.


If we set out to be happy or proud of our achievements, and therefore by definition, successful – it leads us to take the action (do) that will support the feeling. Taking that action then results in having what you need to support the feeling that you seek.

For example, if you seek to live a profitable, purposeful life, how would you be? What feelings would you experience once you are experiencing that purposeful profitable life?

Happiness? Freedom? Fulfilment? Joy? Peace? Contentment? Confidence?

Now from that place, what actions are you more likely to take to support you in maintaining that sense of being?

Making the call? Expecting a positive result? Demonstrating resilience?

And what are the results of those actions? Clients? Opportunities? Connections? Referrals?

Surely, that is a more appealing and magnetic draw than a meaningless number with no consideration to how you feel while you are achieving it?

And that is why the call of 6-figures is an easy marketing tactic for those coaches promising you that. On the face of it, it is measurable, but just underneath the surface, we see that it isn’t.

I often use this quote to describe this phenomenon: “Do not follow in the footsteps of the masters, seek what they sought”.

What this means is that no blueprint or formula is going to work unless what draws you to the end result is powerful beyond making money.  And as I mentioned before, 99% of entrepreneurs that I work and play with are not driven by money first and foremost.

Money is a tool to do more of what they love in their life and work.

Key takeaway – When you start from being, you attract what you need to support that.


Lorraine Hamilton is an award-winning entrepreneur and international coach who has won critical acclaim in both small business and corporate environments.

Using a blend of powerful mindset work coupled with extraordinary communication insights, Lorraine's clients stand out from the crowd so uniquely, confidently and purposefully, it's as if the competition has melted away.

An insightful and intuitive coach, Lorraine can zero in on what makes her clients unique, special and in demand much to their delight. Lorraine is the author of a self help journal for women who seek a more meaningful existence and after a lengthy career as an engineer does harbour some geek tendencies! (She's a massive Firefly fan for one!)

Lorraine has long held a passion for cars and you'll usually find her zipping about in one of her collection sporting brightly coloured hair. www.lorrainehamilton.net