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


Five Ways to Eliminate the Drama of Assumptions (Guest Article by Lisa Rickwood)

March 8, 2010

“Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once and a while, or the light won’t come in.”
~Alan Alda~
Actor, Writer and Director

It’s one of the most dangerous things you can do in relationships – make assumptions. Assumptions can break up relationships, devastate your health, destroy your finances and wreak havoc in your life.

 The dictionary defines the word assumption as being ‘the act of asserting a claim, taking something for granted, arrogance, assuming of power or possession of something and finally, assuming facts without proof.’

 We do it all the time. We make assumptions about people, cultures and business – the world. We do this because we’re busy and it’s easy; we categorize and assume things to understand and act quickly. In short, we’re impatient beings. Jumping to conclusions or making assumptions causes us undue stress and drama.

 First dates are filled with assumption and drama.

For example, a woman on her first date often makes assumptions about whether her date likes her based on his actions. If he doesn’t kiss her on the first date, a million negative thoughts enter her mind.

 ‘He doesn’t like me, he’s in a relationship, he’s arrogant, he’s…’ The list is endless and if that woman keeps thinking this way, she may sabotage the relationship before it even gets started.

Perhaps the man is a gentleman and was taught to go slow on the first date or maybe he thinks the woman isn’t ‘into him.’ They both won’t know unless they drop the assumption game and engage in true dialogue.

 The assumption game can make or break a company.

 For example, if your business requires that you cold call or follow up with prospects, you may feel stressed if you don’t have a strategy to handle the negative thoughts that enter your mind when you call.

 If you spent your time ‘chasing’ prospects or playing ‘phone tag,’ you may feel frustrated and angry that people aren’t returning your calls. You may conjure up all kinds of drama about why ‘they don’t want you or that they’re not returning your call because they think you’re too expensive, not experienced enough’ and all the other negative thoughts that swirl in your head.Not long ago, I received a phone call from a client who was suffering from assumption drama. She told me her web designer hadn’t been returning her calls and was ‘ignoring her.’ I asked her what was happening and if she had proof.

 “What do you mean?” she asked.

 “Well, what proof do you have that she’s avoiding you? Did you have an argument? Did you tell her that her work is suspect?

 “No,” she said.

 “Well, is it possible that she’s having technical or family challenges and can’t reach you?”


 “Why don’t you phone her and see what’s happening. She might have family, health or other issues keeping her from responding to you. Try not to make assumptions until you have all the facts.”

 “Okay, good plan – I’ll do that.” She said.

 A few weeks later, my client phoned me and she was happy. She told me she wasn’t stressed out and she dropped her assumptions and spoke with the web designer. This person had suffered a computer crash and it took a week to get ‘back on track.’What do you do if you recognize that you’re suffering from assumption drama? Simple – you take the five step strategy and apply it right away.

 Here’s the formula to drop assumption drama and get back to enjoying life:

1.   Recognize the problem: You can’t change what you can’t acknowledge. If you know you tend to assume things and jump to conclusions – change your thinking. Tell yourself that you need more facts before you take action.

 2.  Get all the facts: We’re all busy but that shouldn’t stop you from getting as many facts as you can about a situation so you can make informed decisions.

 3.   Double-check and ask questions: Even when you get the facts, it’s good to double-check and ask questions to clarify. Often, we’re impatient and react to the first facts we receive.

 4.   Communication: Once you have the facts, you’ve double-checked and asked questions, you’re free to communicate. If something bothers you, be honest. If you don’t like the way somebody did or said something, tell them tactfully. Good communication between you and another party will lead to constructive, not destructive actions. 

5.   Take a deep breath: Most of us react to situations. Take a few minutes to deep-breathe before taking action; this is often all the time you need to think clearly.

 My client would’ve saved days of stress and drama by applying this formula. She would’ve recognized that she tends to jump to conclusions and needs to sit back and get all the facts and communicate before making decisions. She would’ve found out that her web designer had technical challenges and that nothing delayed was her fault.

It’s not easy, but if you can sit back without making assumptions and get the facts, you’ll save time, save your sanity, save your business and save your life.

Lisa Rickwood, BFA, CPCC, is a speaker, author, coach and creative VA who helps small business owners and entrepreneurs save two hours a day and minimize stress and overwhelm. To get your FREE Instant Stress Relief Kit visit: www.escapethepace.com If you need a VA with vision, visit: www.escapetheapce.com/virtual to email Lisa for your VA Kit.

Sign up for more free resources during Stop Your Drama Month!

4 Reasons Others Avoid You

February 7, 2010

Relationships are either a source of renewal or source of drama. If you continue to experience relationship drama it may be an unconscious communication pattern, which makes others feel unsafe around you. Here are four communication mistakes and how to correct them.

1. Discounting

2. Giving advice too soon

3. Judging

4. Betraying trust


Rolling your eyes when you disagree; saying “don’t make such a big deal out of it,” or forgetting to keep a small promise are some of the various ways you might be discounting others. You may even say, “it’s no big deal,” which is yet another way to minimize what you have done so you can avoid looking at your own patterns.

Solution: Show respect. Stop rolling your eyes, and simply express your disagreement.  What is a big deal to one person is small beans to another. Never tell anyone their issue isn’t important.

Giving Advice Too Soon

How do you know if you gave advice too soon?  You will trigger a “drama response” in the form of anger, defensiveness, or pouting.  Most of us, even when it seems that we are asking for advice, usually want something else. Right or wrong, we want to be heard, we want agreement, or we want to vent.

Solution: Your goal is to make sure they feel understood. The way to accomplish this is to listen-acknowledge, instead of jumping in with an instant solution. Before offering solutions, acknowledge how the other person feels without rescuing, agreeing or making her wrong. For example, “It sounds like you were really angry,” then wait for her response. Once she calms down she may be open to your advice or opinion. A good rule of thumb to remember is this: the solution is always secondary to feeling understood.


Your spouse or partner will avoid you like the plague if when they are around you they feel judged. Calling someone “stupid,” or saying things like, “I would never do that,” or telling your loved one what he should have done, is a sure-fire way to make him avoid you. As I mentioned before, giving advice too early can also be seen as a form of judgment.

Solution: Accept your partner and be open. The best way to avoid judgment is to listen and become curious instead of jumping to conclusions.

Betraying trust

Besides leaking a secret, teasing is another way of betraying trust. When you know someone has a sore spot and you bring it up in public you represent yourself as one who is not safe to share sensitive information with.

Solution: Consider your loved one’s feelings and avoid the temptation to tease them about their weaknesses.  They are not good at numbers? They can’t balance a checkbook? They are directionally challenged? It’s fine if they want to be the one sharing this information in a humorous way but it’s not OK for you to.

A good rule of thumb: Don’t tease anyone unless it puts them in a positive light and honors them.

Stop Holiday Drama

November 11, 2009

I used to dread the holidays, and I also felt guilty because it was my secret. I thought I was the only one who felt this way.

Most people have mixed feelings during the holiday season. That’s because relationship challenges always come to the surface and magnify. This drama can be avoided if you know how to access the power of clarity.

Join me for this special edition of Attitude Builders absolutely free. The Attitude Builders membership is usually for members only, however this is my holiday gift to my friends, and subscribers.

In this  teleseminar I will share the very first step in the Stop Your Drama Methodology.  We’ll talk about how to get crystal clear, specific communication techniques to keep you in control, and I’ll even give you some tools to create the right mind set when dealing with difficult people or situations.

Join me by registering here.

The Drama Happens:Your Drama Teaches

February 18, 2009

You teach what you need to learn.

That thought gave me comfort after a technical glitch I encountered during one of my Signature Series Tele-seminars.

Yep…I punched the wrong button and muted myself.

After all the work to write the copy, prepare for the program, invite the guests, only to disappoint.

The Drama happens, but YOUR DRAMA is always a teacher.  Here are four things I had the opportunity to learn because of my mistake!

1. The Drama happens
2. Your Drama is your teacher
3. Building relationships requires risk
4. In the end it’s all about trust

The Drama Happens
You’ve heard me say “The Drama” is what happens in the gap.  Any time you are working on a goal you have a gap…where you are versus where you want to be.

Things often go wrong in the gap. Your boat springs a leak. You get stuck on the rock. (You plan on hosting a tele-seminar but you screw up. You lose the call or press the wrong button. ) It is what it is. The problem is when you create resistance for yourself in the gap. When you are fortunate enough to notice the resistance you can still benefit from “The Drama” because you now have a teacher.

Your Drama is Your Teacher
There’s a difference between “The Drama” and “Your Drama.”  “The Drama” is the unwanted  situation, “Your Drama” is your reaction to the unwanted situation.  Eckhart Tolle (one of my favorite authors) says if you want to know how conscious you are, look at how you react when things don’t go  your way.

Ouch! I have to admit I was mad at myself.  I had a “drama” reaction. (It wasn’t really that big, and it only lasted three minutes.)  I was able to give my listeners the recording but nonetheless, I did experience a fair amount of resistance. I didn’t like the idea of my listeners see me make a big mistake, even if the call was a freebie. I pride myself on “delivering” and being professional.  I also pride myself on being able to be authentic in relationships so this leads to my next point.

Building Relationships Require Risk
You have to let people in if you want a real relationship.  You have to be willing to be human; to make mistakes and to tell the truth instead of blame your mistakes on something else when it really was your fault. (I so wanted to find someone or SOMETHING to blame,) but not this time. I knew it was me.

If you want others to trust you, you have to be willing to own your good, your bad and your ugly. You have to let people who view you as “the teacher” see that you still have lessons to learn too.

In fact, if you are really really really teaching you will find that you teach what you need to learn and life gives you the opportunity to own it if you are willing to trust.

In the End, it’s all About Trust
If you are willing to trust that everything happens, happens for your good, you can immediately release resistance. If you trust your clients and do right by them, they also will stand by you. Perhaps that’s why I had so many who had signed up for the call give me a note of thanks to get the link. And, perhaps the relationship and trust is the reason so many of my callers were holding out and hanging on a dead mute line for over 23 minutes.

I’m grateful for life’s lessons and the community of friends and clients who are living and learning the SYD Methodology.

Stop the Spiral Down Drama

January 27, 2009

When you start to “spiral down” no matter what the reason it is a sign.  Something is out of whack. You don’t feel hopeful about your relationship, the economy, or your career. You see others who seem to have it all figured out and you secretly envy them. Your projects overwhelm you and your surroundings are full of clutter. All of the sudden you have a case of “stinkin thinkin’” but knowing it doesn’t help you spiral back up. Even though an occasional dip is normal, it doesn’t mean you have to stay there for long. Here are four ways to move through the valley and back up the mountain.

1. Slow Down
2. Clear the Clutter
3. Reconnect
4. Reassess

Slow Down

Right before the spiral notice the tendency to overexert. You are acting out of fear. Fear that there aren’t enough opportunities. Fear that you are running out of time. Fear that you aren’t keeping up. Fear that you are running out of money. The tendency is to get distracted with opportunities or “doing” so that you don’t feel those fears. The illusion is that you are going to find the magic formula if you just “do” one more thing. The reality is you will never create success when you are feeling frustration and failure. It isn’t possible to be in “drama” during the journey and arrive at the island called Nirvana.
You must recognize the urge to do more as an addiction, and you must consciously decide to be in charge of your compulsion and slow down or even stop for one day.

Clear the Clutter

Clutter manifests because you didn’t see the signs. You added one more thing to your unfinished projects. You didn’t slow down and now you are overwhelmed with a list of tasks that are not attached to a plan. Signs of clutter are an e-mail in box with 2000 emails, stacks of magazines you intend to read, piles of junk you keep promising you will sell on e-bay. Clutter only reminds you of all you haven’t done and promises you haven’t kept. On your “slow down” day, instead of working on another project or coming up with yet another idea, clean the clutter.


When you spiral down you often feel old patterns surfacing. You feel self-doubt, unworthiness or envy. All you need to do is reconnect. Reconnect spiritually and relationally. Spend some time in prayer, journaling or meditation. To paraphrase Wayne Dyer, “it’s always between you and God anyway.” Reconnecting spiritually will remind you that your depression, fear or overwhelm is not about your situation or other people it is because you have lost connection. Reconnecting with others can also give you a huge boost of energy if you do so from a pure intention. Don’t look at others as a means to an end, such as hoping they will purchase something from you or give you a good lead. Just enjoy their company, see the value in them as a person and you will be surprised how easily it is to get recharged.


Most of what you believe to be true is just a story you are making up. You see someone else and believe they have it made because they are wealthy, famous, beautiful or all three. In reality you can never know what someone else is going through. Everyone has challenges and every person has his own demons to face. So many times people have been in admiration of me when I was going through my own private world of despair.

Instead of automatically believing every thought that pops into your head, select the thought offering you the highest and best truth while still allowing you to change or improve what is necessary.

We will be talking about these kinds of things in the new Signature Series Calls.