Get UNSTUCK by Pat Flynn

How a near-death experience changed the way I think.

publishedabout 1 month ago
5 min read

Hi, it’s Pat! 👋

There are a lot of business and life quotes that involve roads.

You have “The road to success is always under construction,” or, “It’s a long road, but it’s worth it,” and then there’s the classic, “Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.”

Quotes are cool, but they usually leave us hanging with no direction or actual strategy.

Today, I’m going to introduce a metaphor involving a different part of a road. It’s something most people never even think about, but it’s been the key to saving countless lives, and could potentially save yours, too.

Any guesses?

Read on, and let’s get unstuck.


“There are a lot of business and life quotes that involve roads.”

— Pat Flynn, from today in this newsletter


I had just finished my last exam for the semester and I had a decision to make:

1. Rest after a long week of studying and then drive back home to San Diego in the morning.


2. Leave immediately, drive straight through, and get back home before midnight.

I was anxious to get home, so I chose the latter.

That decision almost ended my life.

I went to college at UC Berkeley up in northern California, and it’s about a 9 hour drive back down to my home in San Diego. I had done this drive dozens of times before with zero problems, even at night, but this time, around 9:30pm, after 7 hours of driving, I fell asleep at the wheel.

Moments later, I suddenly woke up to a loud rumbling sound that vibrated the entire car as I headed toward the guardrail. I immediately took back control of the car, pulled over, and took a deep breath.

I was still alive, and I was in shock.

If it wasn’t for the rumble strips etched onto the shoulder of the road, something terrible could have happened.

Two things I learned that night:

1. Never ever, EVER drive while tired or sleepy. Today, if I’m on the road and I start to feel tired, I exit, find a place to park, and take a 20 minute power nap.

2. Rumble strips exist.

Rumble strips, also known as sleeper lines or waker-uppers, were first rolled out in 1952 on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey, and they are a cost-effective way to prevent accidents on the road.

I now know this first hand.

On the road of life (here’s where the analogy kicks in), oftentimes we’re drifting without even knowing it. Perhaps we begin to tune things out without even realizing it, and it’s important that we have our own version of rumble strips to wake us up and help us get back to where we need to be.

In my life, and in my business, I’ve added rumble strips in various kinds of ways:

  1. My wife — April knows me better than anyone in this world, and she’s taken on the role of rumble strip by telling me, without hesitation, if I am drifting outside of the path of the goals we’ve set together for our family. In most cases, it’s a gentle nudge or honest conversation, but every once in a while I might need a rude awakening of sorts, and knowing why it’s there helps me accept it.
  2. My co-workers and colleagues — Similarly, my co-workers and colleagues in the business and entrepreneurial space not only lift me up, but also keep me from going astray from the business goals that they know I’ve set out to achieve. Often times, I can get very distracted by shiny new objects, but I can always rely on my team and my friends to help me focus back on what’s important.
  3. My habits — I’ve paid close attention to how I work so that I can optimize my time. One thing I’ve noticed is that when I come across something difficult, something that’s a little more heavy on the brain, I tend to immediately pick up my phone and start checking social media. It’s a bad habit, but I’ve noticed that more times than not, this is why I end up on social media at times when I’m not supposed to. To combat this, I actually turn on “do not disturb” on my phone, and place my phone NOT within arm’s reach. This invisible rumble strip keeps me from habitually picking up my phone; when I feel that inherent desire to do so, I can check in with myself to get back to what I should be focusing on.

These are just a few of the rumble strips I’ve set up in my life. Years ago, I even installed software on my computer to stop myself from visiting YouTube when I wasn’t supposed to, and I’ve more recently deleted TikTok.*

* That said, I’ve re-downloaded it to upload to the Team SPI TikTok account for another experiment, and I’m much more disciplined than I was once before.

Your Call to Action

Spend some time to come up with a few rumble strips of your own. Really consider what you tend to do when you start to drift off course, and what mechanisms can be put in place to help you stay on course.

Do not go through life without those boundaries in place to help you stay the course and live the best life you can.

And no matter what, do not drive while tired.


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We work hard at SPI to remain unstuck and consistently provide you with the latest news, trends, and events to support your businesses. Check it out:

  1. At SPI, community is our primary focus. As our communities have begun to grow, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about exactly how they are set up, how they differ, and the most important question, “which community is right for me?” Join us during our live Q&A webinar, The SPI Community Roadmap, this Wednesday, February 15th, at 1pm ET (10am PT). We’ll share an inside look at each of our communities and explain how they serve entrepreneurs at every stage of their business. Register here for event link.
  2. Are you looking to grow your podcast audience? Then this All-Access Pass event is perfect for you! Founder of Sober Powered Media and member of SPI Pro, Gillian Tietz, will be sharing her tips on audience growth and marketing strategies specifically for podcasting. Become a member to join this exclusive event on February 16th.
  3. Starting from nothing and working hard to build a business is relatable. When you finally “make it”, the social dynamic shift can catch many entrepreneurs by surprise. In this inspiring episode of The Smart Passive Income Podcast, Pat welcomes return guest Sophie Walker, founder of the Australian Birth Stories podcast. Sophie shares her story of taking a niche podcast idea and turning it into a vast empire, providing advice on podcasting, business growth, and work-life balance that every entrepreneur can use. Subscribe and listen.
  4. Having a podcast and staying consistent with episodes is a lot to think about but have you also considered the legal aspect of protecting your podcast and staying out of trouble? In this feature article, podcast lawyer Wesley E. Henderson provides insight on how to protect your podcast using trademarks, LLCs, and contracts. He includes a legal checklist for podcasters to follow. Read more here.


Watched a chicken cross the road… was poultry in motion.