There’ve been a few lessons I’ve learned since putting in my resignation a few weeks ago. When I decided to leave, I effectively walked away from $50k-$100k on the table. That’s no small amount of money, and I’d be lying if I told you that it doesn’t sting. 

I was talking to a friend following the ordeal who reminded me that it was not about what I had or potentially could have had, but what I have now. I could have beat myself up for weeks on how much I had given up. I could have been angry with my former company for not allowing me to close those deals out. This concept of not lingering in the past or in the make-believe future but focusing instead on the present is what has helped me frame what I now call the 0-to-0 mentality. 

The 0-to-0 Mentality 

I try entering each day with this 0-to-0 mentality. It’s this belief that when I wake up in the morning, the score is 0 to 0. There has been nothing from the past that carries over into today – neither good nor bad. All I have is what’s with me and what lies in front of me. 

During the Super Bowl earlier this year, Eagle’s head coach, Doug Peterson, made a comment at half time, “It doesn’t matter that our score is up by 10. We’re playing Tom Brady and the Patriots, and there’s still 30 minutes of football to play.”  

That’s the 0-to-0 mentality. Even though things may be going in your favor (or not) the rest of the game is still up for grabs. Don’t get complacent. Treat each play as if the score is 0 to 0. 

The 0:0 Mentality in Real Life 

It’s easy to think once you’ve built a certain level of success that you’re entitled to more. It’s the comedian who’s reached the point where no matter how bad the joke, people will laugh; it’s the influencer with a couple hundred thousand followers who doesn’t believe their audience will shrink; or, in my case, the business person whose ego prevents him from seeing that “putting in the work in the past” does not equate to a financial reward in the future. 

This 0-to-0 mentality reminds me: last year was last year, yesterday was yesterday, and there’s no carryover – no matter how good or bad today may seem, tomorrow is a fresh slate.  

Why this is important 

Here’s where I’ve found the 0:0 mentality has helped me: 

1) Mitigates Entitlement

Entitlement is a disease that creeps up on you. Even those who enter into a situation with the best intentions can find themselves thinking they are “deserving” of something. When I walked away from the remaining deals I had on the table, I realized the reason I was upset was because I felt entitled to them.  

I’ve worked this hard to set myself up for this; I’m deserving of seeing the fruits of my labor.

0-to-0 reminds me I’m not deserving of anything. In actuality, I shouldn’t have even been in that role at my age. I was 10 years younger than everyone else, both in age and experience. The only reason I had $50k-100k on the table was because of the opportunity I was given. 

2) Reminds me to put in the work

Putting in the work does not guarantee a certain result. It guarantees directional momentum, but that may not always be the direction you want to go. When I put in the work with a 0-to-0 mentality, I learn to appreciate the wins because while I don’t have control of many situations, I have control over my own actions, and I can continue to fight for them every single day. It feels good working hard for something and seeing it pan out. 

With this mindset, I don’t believe the notion that life will get easier once I hit a certain point. I want it to be just as hard and/or get continually harder; that’s where the learning opportunity is.

While others will complain the “work is too hard,” the 0-to-0 mindset reminds me never to quit. Put in the work every single day.  

3) Helps me reset

0-to-0 fuels me to keep going. I learn to try new things because this mindset forces me to believe there’s nothing for me to fall back on. There will always be days when things don’t go my way, and circumstances are beyond my control, but 0-to-0 is my reset button. 

I’m able to go to bed at night knowing that grace renews every morning and tomorrow’s a new day. What happened yesterday stays with yesterday. 

4) Reminds me what it means to steward my resources

There’s a story in Matthew 25 called the Parable of the Talents. In short, it’s about a master who entrusts each of his servants with a certain amount of talents (the currency at the time). Two servants take the money and turn it into more while one buries it in the ground.  

The master returns to settle the accounts and praises the two servants for being “good and faithful.” He ultimately provides them with more. The third is reprimanded for being “wicked and slothful” for burying his talents in the ground. 

The moral behind the story is: 

a) It’s not about how much you do with what you’re given, but asking have you been faithful in doing something with what you’re given. 

b) Each season we’re given resources to steward, but there comes a time when that season comes to an end, and we’re required to give back what we’ve been handed. 

0-to-0 reminds me to hold on to things loosely. When one season comes to an end, I can give back what I have because I’m accustomed to starting over with what I’ve been given. 

With the 0-to-0 mentality, what will you do differently? 

This 0-to-0 mentality has helped me let bygones be bygones. I was laughing with a friend the other day because I realized while $100k seems like a lot of money now, it will pale in comparison to when I may need to relinquish $1MM or maybe even $10MM. This is the type of practice that prepares my heart to be able to do so in the future. 

Money doesn’t drive me, but pursuit of the process does. As with any long endurance marathon, what it boils down to is the strength of my mental fortitude. 0-to-0 is my checkpoint.  

No matter the distance, I have no lead, no advantage. Everything I’ve done in the past is meaningless compared to this exact moment.  

0 to 0. 

Make it all count.