Who Is Responsible for Your Success?

June 30, 2010

By Jack Canfield

This isn’t a trick question.

Certainly you know the answer—the person who has been responsible for the life you live right now: YOU.

Everything about you is a result of your doing or not doing… Your income. Debt. Relationships. Health. Fitness level. Attitudes and behaviors.

I think everyone knows this in their hearts, but often times people convince themselves into thinking that external factors are the source of their failure, disappointment, and unhappiness.

External factors do not determine how you live. YOU are in complete control of the quality of your life.

When I hear people complain about the state of their life (be it their problems with personal finances, weight, their jobs, or general dissatisfaction) I like to help them see things differently.

If they feel “stuck” and unable to move forward for whatever reason, I ask them to scrutinize both what is working well and what isn’t working well in their life and see how they’ve arrived at where they currently are.

For example, if a woman tells me she’s unhappy with her weight—she travels frequently, and has no to time to exercise or seek healthy foods—I point out that her weight is not a result of her travels and schedule. It’s an outcome of what she chooses to eat and how she chooses to move, regardless of her daily agenda. Why not make a conscious effort to pre-plan healthy meals and snacks, even if it’s on the go, and sneak in 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there to be physically active (hey, I know some frequent flyers who make it a habit of running through airports!).

If you’re frustrated with any area in your life, then it’s time to take a little inventory. Certainly there are wonderful things happening, whether it’s your job, your romantic relationship, your children, your friends, or your income level. Your accomplishments are just as important as your missteps.

First, congratulate yourself on your successes; and then take a look at what isn’t working out so well. What are you doing or not doing to create those experiences?

Watch out! If you find yourself beginning to complain about everything but the choices you’ve made, then you need to take a step back. See if you can stop blaming outside factors for your unhappiness.

When you realize that you—and only you—create your experiences, you’ll realize that you can un-create them and forge new experiences whenever you want.

How empowering is that!

You must take responsibility for your happiness and your unhappiness, your successes and your failures, your good times and your bad times.

All too often we choose to claim the successes and blame the failures on others or other circumstances. When you stop blaming, however, you can take that energy and redirect it to focus on shaping a better situation for yourself. Blaming only ties up your energy. Imagine roping all the energy into a positive effort.

Some ideas to make this happen:

Believe, Believe, Believe! Have unwavering faith in yourself, for good and bad. Make the decision to accept the fact that you create all your experiences. You will experience successes thanks to you, and you will experience pain, struggle, and strife thanks to you. Sounds a little strange, but accepting this level of responsibility is uniquely empowering. It means you can do, change, and be anything. Stumbling blocks become just that—little hills to hop over.

Take no less than 100% responsibility . Successful people take full responsibility for the thoughts they think, the images they visualize, and the actions they take. They don’t waste their time and energy blaming and complaining. They evaluate their experiences and decide if they need to change them or not. They face the uncomfortable and take risks in order to create the life they want to live.

Stop complaining . Look at what you are complaining about. I’m fat. I’m tired. I can’t get out of debt. I won’t ever get a better job. I can’t stand the relationship I have with my sister. I’ll never find a soulmate in life. Really examine your complaints. More than likely you can do something about them. They are not about other people, other things, or other events. They are about YOU.

Make an immediate change. Are you unhappy about something that is happening right now? Make requests that will make it more desirable to you, or take the steps to change it yourself. Making a change might be uncomfortable for you. It might mean you have to put in more time, money, and effort. It might mean that someone gets upset about it, or makes you feel bad about your decision. It might be difficult to change or leave a situation, but staying put is your choice so why continue to complain?

You can either do something about it or not. It is your choice and you have responsibility for your choices.

Pay attention. Looking to others for help and guidance is helpful, but don’t forget to stay tuned in to yourself—your behavior, attitude, and life experiences. Identify what’s working and what isn’t. If you need to, write it all down. Then…

Face the truth and take action for the long term . You have to be willing to change your behavior if you want a different outcome. You have to be willing to take the risks necessary to get what you want. If you’ve already taken an initial step in the right direction, now’s the time to plan additional steps to keep moving you forward, faster.

Isn’t it a great relief to know that you can make your life what you want it to be? Isn’t it wonderful that your successes do not depend on someone else?

So if you need just one thing to do different today than you did yesterday, make it this:

Commit to taking 100% responsibility for every aspect of your life. Decide to make changes, one step at a time. Once you start the process you’ll discover it’s much easier to get what you want by taking control of your thoughts, your visualizations, and your actions!


Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com


A Kick in the Attitude

January 10, 2010

There’s a new book that my readers will be interested in.  It’s brand new and I think you will want it if you lead a team or if you are looking for easy ways to get started right in 2010!  The author is my friend, Sam Glenn, known as “The Attitude Guy.”

Sometimes life has a way of knocking the “kick” out of us, which is our enthusiasm, focus, and best attitude. Speaker and entrepreneur Sam Glenn’s A Kick in the Attitude: An Energizing Approach to Recharge Your Team, Work and Life (Jon Wiley & Sons, 2010) will put the kick of energy back into your life so that you can achieve success and motivate staff.

Initially written as the author’s notes on how he went from losing everything to achieving enormous success, the book has become an effective tool for reinvention through the simple act of committing to one’s attitude.

The book blends humor, case studies, anecdotal stories, and old-school wisdom to help readers achieve and retain a fully charged attitude. As Glenn states, “Your attitude is like a battery.

In order to work in your favor and give you energy to succeed, it must be fully charged. Feed it, and watch the results.” What jumper cables are to a car battery, this book is to your life. Go Positive™ today, with A Kick in the Attitude! Available at booksellers nationwide. For more info, www.EverythingAttitude.com/kickbook/

You are More than One Shapshot

February 25, 2009

This week I watched ABC reality show “True Beauty,”  a beauty contest with a twist: The contestants were being secretly watched and judged, not only on their physical beauty, but also on their inner beauty.

Each week the contestants had to complete tasks of physical fitness, photo shoots, and interviews, however there was always a hidden challenge.

For example on one particular interview the interviewer opened the opportunity for the interviewee to gossip about the other participants.

On an another assignment a waiter spilled drinks on the contestants and the camera zoomed in on their aggravation and disgust.

The judges sat in the secret room watching instant replays while talking about the contestant’s character, attitude, and inner beauty.

Week by week two people ended up in the “hall of beauty” to see who would get eliminated. The loser then got to see hidden film of their rude behavior, attitude problems, disrespect and other qualities that detract from inner beauty.

I know…a lot of people are going to judge me because of watching a reality show, but the REALITY is, there is a LOT to be learned about life and human nature if you watch from a different perspective.

For example, last night the three remaining contestants, all competing for the final prize of $100,000 and a chance to be positioned in People magazine, finally became aware of the hidden cameras.

They were invited into the secret room where they were shown excerpts of their behaviors, teamwork,  and relationship building skills throughout the course of the contest.

Joel, arguably the most physically fit and most passionate was disturbed at what he saw. After watching clips of himself being sarcastic, critical, disrespectful, and throwing his team members “under the bus” a couple of times, Joel said something quite profound: ” You can’t take a few snapshots of someone’s life and say that is the whole person.

Here’s what I would say to Joel if I was a judge:

So true Joel. But didn’t you do that when you told Chelsea, your fellow competitor “I don’t like you, so stay away from me.”  All Chelsea did to earn  your judgment was tell a joke that you didn’t think was funny. Did you take the time to understand her? Did you try to look at her as a many-faceted person before making your judgment of her worthiness?

Actually Joel’s words gave me something to think about.

Isn’t it true that all of us make judgments on one or two snapshots of a person? All of us are multi-faceted. We are more than our behaviors and more than our outer beauty.

This show was a lesson in Self-Mastery more than anything else. I really do believe we can learn from reality TV. I believe beauty is more than skin deep and I  believe we get what we put out there.

What to Do When You Are Out of the Flow

December 9, 2008

I often talk about “reading the signs” and what I mean by that is not “woo woo” but about increased levels of awareness. With increased levels of awareness or (consciousness) you can make simple shifts to bring you more into that good feeling flow.

Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of themes emerging from those who feel out of sync…out of the flow…a bit hopeless or depressed.

I even found myself feeling that way recently and was surprised at an old pattern resurfacing. I thought I had mastered the “inner game.”

After all, in the end it’s all about alignment; your inner game and feeling of connectedness.

I’ve “read the signs” for myself about WHY I get out of the flow and thought these five signs might be of help to you too.
1. I’m  not telling myself the complete truth
2. I’m not meeting my basic needs
3. I have traded “virtual” reality for “physical reality.”
4. My attitude has slipped into negativity
5. My habits are becoming my master instead of my servant

Telling the truth

It’s so easy to put a smiley face on an empty gas tank.  I think most of us are afraid to tell ourselves the truth when we feel lousy, but staying in denial only prolongs it.  When you feel bad, just admit it and go right to non-resistance. Then  you open the “portal” for change.

Meeting basic needs

When I skip sleep, exercise or good nutrition, it’s just a matter of time before I start feeling a little disconnected.  The biggest victim story that I hear over and over is “I don’t have time.”  I used to “lie” to myself about that too.  Now I know what Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) says is true: It’s about sharpening the saw. To skip out on “sawing logs” will have you sawing logs with a rusty dull saw.

Virtual reality versus physical reality

I love the Internet and the connections and friends I make on Face Book, Ning, and WordPress but when I forget to get out there in public and mix and mingle, or even call a friend on the phone I get completely out of touch with life.  When I’m feeling depressed I always cheer up to go to a networking meeting or social event.


What you think about expands. Attitude is everything but trust me, you simply can’t keep your attitude in check when you are exhausted and your body is full of fat and sugar.  When the little gremlins start taking over the conversation in your head, go backwards and see if you have made the errors already talked about in the previous steps:  You aren’t being honest about  your situation, you are  not meeting your basic needs and you are addicted to your computer and sacrificing your physical, real-life relationships.

Habits: Master or Servant

I can just visualize it…your five year old comes and says “let’s Play” and you say, “be quiet, I’m trying to build relationships…”  Why do we forget that technology should be our servant instead of our master?

I’m as guilty as the next person. There’s always one more thing to learn. There’s Twitter, Squidoo, Animoto, Mind Movies, Face Book, Ning and the list continues to grow. Let’s face it we will never keep up with all of it.  Learning is fun but when it becomes a compulsion it’s a problem.

In the end it’s all about the inner game and we teach what we need to learn.  Living the “Stop  Your Drama” methodology keeps me honest and in alignment.

Financial Frenzy Drama Got You Worried?

October 2, 2008

Reclaim Your Power with these Four Steps

Sick and tired of the wall-street-financial-frenzy-bailout DRAMA? It’s easy to let negative news suck you into a whirlwind of fear and frenzy. It’s easy to forget that your number one job in the face of an apparent crisis is to take care of yourself.

You can’t take care of yourself or make good decisions when you panic, think irrationally or let your energy drain with useless chatter about how bad things are.  These four action steps help you reclaim your power.

1. Master your mindset

2. Master your inner dialogue

2. Become a creator

3. Focus

Master your mindset

Get control of your mind instead of letting it control you. Excessive exposure to the daily news is unnecessary, as is obsessive conversations about the current situation. Think about how much productivity and wasted time is due to fear and projection about future doom and gloom.

1. Set a time to catch the news, and then go about your life.

2. Refuse to get into mind games about future problems

3. Become an observer instead of a participant.

4. Practice deep breathing, exercise and other positive outlets

Master your inner dialogue

Everyone has an inner dialogue. Scientists say we think about 60,000 thoughts per day and over 85-90 percent of them are either repetitive or negative. Probably most of us are experiencing a background noise that sounds something like this

  • I might lose my job
  • What if I can’t retire when I want
  • Our government is corrupt
  • They better get something done

And so on it goes. None of these thoughts are constructive.  A good way to start gaining power is to master your communication. The best advice is to create a mantra so that you can rewire your brain.  Here are some good ones.

  • All of my needs are met
  • This too shall pass
  • Nothing lasts forever, not even problems

Completely eliminate statements such as “that’s not fair” or “this always happens to me.” Instead, face what is and make wise decisions. When someone else starts a conversation that triggers your fear, you can get drawn into the addiction or you can simply say, “the drama stops here,” and you can refuse to spiral down.

Become a Creator

Victims feel that they have no choices, while creators always look for the opportunity, the lesson or the options. To learn how to respond rather than react, recognize your choices so that you are prepared for any unfortunate situation.

1. Talk to your financial planner

2. List the areas where you would be willing to scale down if need be

3. Register to vote

4. Brush up your resume

5. Make a list of your skills, talents and experiences

6. Make a list of all of your blessings and opportunities

Being proactive makes you feel a sense of control instead of a sense of panic. In addition, reminding yourself of all that you have already created for yourself is a great mood booster and a reminder that you can create what ever is necessary to move forward.


Keeping your attitude in check is good for your health and increases your personal productivity. Too much negativity produces stress, anxiety and illness. Even recalling an angry experience for as much as five minutes, suppresses the immune system for as much as six hours. Imagine what happens to your attitude and your health when you watch CNN all day long and hear nothing but negativity.

Attitudes of appreciation increase circulation and promote regular heart rhythms. Which do you want? Only you can choose what you focus on.  Here are some tips for focus.

1. Instead of complaining, ask for what you want or make a new decision.

2. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

3. Instead of projecting into the future, focus on the now.

4. Separate fact from fiction

5. When researching, listen to all points of view rather than being closed minded.

Instead of following mob mentality, focus on getting the facts. It’s easy to listen to someone you admire, whether it’s Rush Limbaugh, your preacher or your dad. Be your own authority and look at all sides of an issue so that you don’t get off focus and swept up in the tidal waves of negativity. Remind yourself that there may be a bigger picture than what is immediately apparent.

Get a free handout with this article (found on the front page of the Stop Your Drama Website). The article includes The 5 Mind Mistakes that will keep you stuck!


How do you know if DRAMA is manifesting in your life?  Click here to get a free e-lesson about how to identify and stop drama.

Looking for Purpose? Six Re-Invention Steps to Success

October 1, 2008

Recently I spoke at a conference using the title of my book, “Success is a Given: Reading the Signs While Reinventing Your Life.” As would be expected, many in the audience were in the midst of reinvention, looking for purpose, reinventing their career or entering a new decade of life. These life transitions, I call “the search.”

Four major themes emerged though personal conversations:

  • I don’t know my purpose
  • I just turned 40 and I want something more
  • I’m scared, frustrated and overwhelmed
  • I don’t know what to do

It’s easy to let the drama of life-reinvention trigger unhealthy conversations that keep you farther away from your goals. The communication we have with others is always evidence of the emotions going on underneath.

I understand the emotions because I traveled a similar path about 10 years ago. I was getting ready to turn 40, I had worked in a factory all of my life and I was searching for a purpose and a new career. Once I actually quit my job, the world was open to possibilities…in fact, too many possibilities which is just as frightening as none at all.

You go from being marooned on an island with no escape to complete freedom floating in the middle of the ocean with no map, too many islands to choose from and just a couple of oars! It’s easy to let your attitude slip into negativity and desperation as you row in circles trying to chart your course.

Here are six easy tips to reinvention success.

1. Slow down

2. Get some structure

3. Create an inner purpose

4. Experiment

5. Master your communication

6. Start where you are

Slow Down
Slow down and take a breath. This is not the time to panic. When you are searching too hard, you mistake activity for productivity. One woman said she was spending 10 hours a day searching on the computer to find just the right opportunity. I asked her if she was willing to go inward and listen to her voice. Just because you are busy doesn’t mean you are rowing in the right direction.

Get some structure
To increase your personal effectiveness and productivity create some boundaries. If you are completely out of work, set up a schedule for yourself. Get up at the same time every day. Set up specific times for job searching, working out, and create daily routines. Creating boundaries for yourself makes you feel in control instead of lost at sea.

Create an Inner Purpose
Don’t allow searching for your life purpose be the big drama that’s keeping you stuck. Too many people are looking for some big magical ah-ha moment that signifies they finally got their purpose. Although some people claim to have such a moment, the reality is that life is lived in small segments of the “now.” Looking for the big purpose can be like trying to row to an island 5000 miles away. At some point it just gets exhausting and you never truly arrive.

Look first for an inner purpose and then you can always be on purpose no matter what you do to make money. For example, when I was in the midst of my life-purpose drama, I could not for the life of me figure out how to leave my factory job. I came up with an inner purpose called ICARE which stood for “Improving Communication and Relationships Everywhere.” Then I knew that was my north star for everything I did, even while working in the factory.

Give yourself a break. Do you really need to have all the answers right now? Life is about enjoying the journey. Give yourself some time to experiment. Try volunteering for a project. Take up a new hobby. Get to know yourself. If you are going through a re-invention such as divorce or career change, it’s important to experiment with life to know what you want to create for the next phase.

Master Your Communication

Master Your Communication

Master Your Communication
Watch the language you use while in the stages of reinvention. Be mindful of sounding like a victim.
Negative self talk becomes negative public talk. Change your attitude and your words will naturally follow.

One woman I talked to kept talking about “I don’t know what to do” and “the reason what I want isn’t possible is because…” No wonder she was feeling lost. My advice to her was to say instead, “I’m in an exciting period of life reinvention and I’m so fortunate to get to try new things, experiment with my life and create exactly what I want for the next phase.

Start where you are.
Life gives you opportunities in each moment to be purposeful. Don’t fall for the illusion that you need some fancy career or big life calling to be purposeful in your life. I remember creating a mantra while I was still at Kraft Foods. Instead of complaining about the job I would say, “Someone has to make cheese.” If you can be on purpose in the mundane, your presence will lead you to the bigger purpose you are searching for.

What myths are you believing about re-invention and success? Get your free copy of The 3 Success Myths and 4 Lies by clicking here.