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


7 Reasons People Lie

September 3, 2009

People lie as a way to gain pleasure or avoid discomfort. Below are seven examples of little white lies and the reasons behind them.

1. To save face

You blame being “too busy” for being behind on a project rather than admitting you are unorganized.

2. To avoid taking responsibility

You  tell the sales person to call back next week because you don’t want to take responsibility for saying “no.”  When he does call back we tell him it’s “not in our budget,” or “the committee said no.”

3. To avoid confrontation

The fired employee is told  “we are just moving in another direction” instead of telling him his work didn’t measure up.

4. To gain a benefit without paying the price.

You call in sick just to have another day off with pay.

5. For self-protection

You look in the  mirror and say to yourself, “of course you don’t look fat in that outfit” and you say one more helping won’t hurt and I’ll start my diet tomorrow.

6. To influence others

You compliment someone so that they will like you or buy from you. Or, you agree with their point of view even though you secretly disagree.

7. To please others

You laugh at a disgusting joke even though you are offended. You justify your lie by the belief that if they knew you were offended they would have ammunition.

To live honestly in the purest sense of the word may be more of a journey than a destination, and the first step is awareness and introspection.  One reason people lie is that they have not developed the delicate communication skills required to live honestly and still keep the relationship in tact. The way we apply honesty in our lives is a mirror to our character. Derived from the Greek, the word character has come to mean the constellation of strengths and weaknesses that form and reveal who we are. Honesty that is absent of the other character traits such as courtesy, kindness, integrity and self-discipline, can be toxic and truth telling must be delivered with kindness, integrity and with regard to the relationship.

Four Ways To Stop the Drama at Work

June 18, 2009

Have you ever felt taken advantage of in the workplace? Your co-workers manipulate situations, do underhanded petty things, gossip and leave you out of conversations?  How do you get them to stop? There are four areas where you have a measure of control. To illustrate, read this true story about Miriam.

For several years Miriam, 52, has worked for a large corporation that has gone from a word processing department to a desktop publishing unit.  Although her coworkers are younger and have more seniority, Miriam has a degree in art and extensive graphic experience.  Miriam wants to retire with the company in six years but lately she feels like an outsider at work and she perceives this as a threat to her career.In her view, three of her coworkers are competitive and do underhanded things to get the “fun” jobs or the jobs that make them noticeable to management.  They withhold information, manipulate situations, steal ideas, or act helpless so that others will come to their aid and give them extra help. Miriam resents their skills at self-promotion and she finds it hard to sell herself, or to be taken seriously. She wants recognition for her work yet she finds it difficult to accept a compliment for fear of being perceived as haughty or ‘too proud.’ Miriam has tried on occasion to fit in with her coworkers by joking around but they act disgusted and make Miriam feel as though she has been inappropriate. When Miriam has tried to participate in the conversation she gets ignored and interrupted even to the point to where she has had to ask them to let her finish.  Miriam came to me for advice. She wanted to know how she could take charge of this situation.

There are four areas where Miriam has a measure of control: By exercising her choices, taking responsibility for her own career, changing her communication and becoming aware of the message she is sending.


None of us can control how coworkers act, but we can choose our reaction. Miriam must decide who she is (in the context of this situation) and continue to choose reactions that reflect confidence and centeredness.  When coworkers brag on themselves, rather than being envious or discounting them, she can agree with what is true and follow up with a question, “How did you do that?”   When we put ourselves in the position of believing we have all the confidence in the world, we’re not so hungry for the approval of others.  With this attitude and belief system in place, Miriam has more choices: to be come interested rather than envious, to become curious instead of competitive. With new choices comes the freedom to compliment her coworkers without discounting herself.


It is your responsibility to take charge of your own promotion at work. Waiting for others to notice our attributes and talents is a poor way to gain personal power.  You can be ‘good’ in a closet and no one will ever know it.   Miriam can emphasize her background in graphic design and art by going to the library and brushing up on trends, and reporting the findings to her boss in an attitude of sharing knowledge. Instead of trying to compete with her coworkers and continue the cycle, Miriam can take credit for her ideas by telling the boss she would be glad to hold a session to teach some of her techniques and skills to her coworkers.  She might offer to train new hires or those that lag behind. She will be communicating that she is a team player and a leader.


Communication is tricky-it’s more than mere words. Since Miriam feels rejected and distant it is most likely her communication is reflecting these emotions and perceptions, if not in her words or her tone, then perhaps in her body language.  One reason Miriam doesn’t receive support is because she communicates to her coworkers that she is uncomfortable with praise and doesn’t know how to react.  It’s best to acknowledge appreciation with a smile and a “thank you,” instead of arguing the point.  Rather than begging coworkers to let her finish her sentences, she can show her interest by asking open-ended questions. Miriam can monitor her communication to insure that the message received was the message intended.


For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Without making assumptions it’s likely that there is a reason Miriam is being received the ways she is.  Let’s look at the reactions from her joking:  My question to Miriam:  “Are you interjecting sarcastic comments or trying to be subtle in letting them know you feel like an outsider? Are you rolling your eyes when you disagree with your coworkers?”  Miriam admitted she was a big eye-roller and it was an ah-ha moment. We can’t cure or change what we are unaware of.  Without self-awareness it’s difficult to choose differently, or change our communication. Self-awareness is the key that unlocks the door to taking charge.

To get more information about how to identify the drama, sign up for The Drama Stops Here.

US San Diego College Mistake Offers Spiritual Business Lesson

April 1, 2009

Disappointment always leads to drama, and drama always has a spiritual lesson to teach even in the business world.

Consider the big mistake US San Diego College made when they mistakenly told 28,000 students they had been accepted into their college.  OOPS.

Control Z! Control Z! Resend! (I can almost see the secretary trying to undo what had just been done.)

That’s one of the pitfalls of instant communication and instant gratification. Mistakes happen on a HUGE level.

Are we really ready for all that technology has to offer?

Only if we can learn and apply the many many spiritual business lessons.

1. With more choice comes more responsibility
2. Disappointments are largely due to expectations than reality
3. There are no guarantees
4. Forgiveness is the new stress management tool

With more choice comes more responsibility

In order to be ready for technology we have to become more responsible. It is clear to me we aren’t there yet. We have kids “sexting” each other, we have cyber-bullies and teens committing suicide. This is because we have not balanced choice with responsibility. We have to see any new choice (like the speed and convenience the Internet provides) like a teeter totter: With more choice you must apply equal amount of responsibility for all things to balance. Our kids are definitely not mature enough yet to handle all the choices, and I’m not so sure we adults are either.

Disappointments are from expectations not reality

I’ll never forget the time I thought I had a speaking engagement in the bag. An e-mail came to me that said, “Go right ahead and draw up the contract. It was close, but everyone agreed you are the one.” I had a moment of celebration then went to work.

Right before I started to draw up the agreement I got another message that said “resend.” I made a call and this is what I heard: “I’m sorry, I sent the e-mail to the wrong speaker. It was so close and I got confused.”

Here’s what I learned. Nothing really changed, I just had a fantasy about what was going to happen and then when the fantasy didn’t materialize I was upset. It was a good lesson that nothing is for certain.

There are no guarantees

Why can’t we learn this one? We get married and later are disappointed that there’s a divorce. We invest in the stock market and when it crashes we freak out.  We grow up and lose the youthful body and get wrinkles. Why do we forget that there are no guarantees…even if there’s a contract, a hand shake and a promise?  In the end if you can’t change what happened your best choice is to forgive.

Forgiveness is the next stress management tool

You can make yourself miserable, and you can talk about what shouldn’t have been done and you can find out who is wrong, but in the end it only prolongs your agony.  Even a five minute episode of recalling an angry experience suppresses the immune system for as much as six hours.

My guess is because we are moving at the speed of light, we will also have mistakes happening at the speed of light. They aren’t going to be little ones either. We are seeing evidence of that with the Wall Street fiasco. My bet is the best investment right now is in learning self-mastery skills such as communication, self-awareness and most of all forgiveness.

It’s Not a Recession it’s a Reinvention

March 18, 2009

Recession…that’s the new buzz word. Today I had a revelation.  What we are going through is  not a recession it’s a reinvention.

Reinvention always feels a bit scary as we leave behind things that no longer serve our best interests.

Do we want to let go of the old? No…because we are addicted.

We were addicted to…

  • wastefulness and now we are reinventing to being green.
  • comparison and we are reinventing to collaborate.
  • force and we are reinventing to find our power.
  • apathy and now we are reinventing to find purpose.
  • business as usual and we are reinventing to see new opportunity.
  • “My territory” and we are reinventing to a global economy.

Letting go of addictions never feels good so we think up words like recession to describe the withdrawal of letting go of the poisonous substances that threaten to ruin us in the end.

Being “in a recession” keeps us living in drama as a victim, forever waiting for a rescuer to bail us out.  Being in a “reinvention” helps us to reclaim our power as we become a creator.

The best way to deal with the “recession” is to see it as a reinvention, to take full responsibility and keep our eyes on the prize.

Join me April 2nd in Springfield Missouri for the collaborative effort between The Skinny Improv and Stop Your Drama as we present the show, “Recession or Reinvention: You Choose!”

Don’t Confuse Where You Are With Who You Are

February 24, 2009

The economy is bad.

You didn’t make enough money last year.

This  year isn’t looking much better.

How will you get clients?

You feel insecure; uncertain.

You wonder if you have what it takes.

DRAMA is any obstacle to your peace and prosperity.  When your thinking or your circumstances become your drama, it is time to CLEAR THE FOG and reinvent.
Reinvention can take the form of an action, a mental shift, an attitude, a decision or a physical transformation.

I want to encourage you to reinvent your identity.

Reinvent Your Identity
One of my favorite authors, Eckhart Tolle says that what you identify with will eventually cause you pain. Do you identify yourself as a business owner; as one who has a lot of money, as a mother, or as beautiful?

Don’t confuse WHERE You are, with WHO you are.

So you feel insecure. So your check book isn’t what you think it should be.  Don’t be tempted to start making up stories about yourself or using the economy to make excuses not to be successful.

Beating yourself up or blaming circumstances is the unconscious path of least resistance.  LIVE above the LINE of blame and resentment and make a conscious choice that you will not define yourself by your mistakes, your learning curve or your circumstances.

When you start to drift into the fog and the murky waters of head drama, take charge immediately. I have a few mantras I have created for you.

  • I am not my drama
  • This is just WHERE I am, not WHO I am
  • This too shall pass
  • I’m  smart, I’ll figure it out

As T Harv. Eker says in his book, The Millionaire Mind,

Rich people are bigger than their problems.
Poor people are smaller than their problems.

Tell yourself the truth. You are a creator.  Creators are resourceful, they ask for help, they are innovative. Creators don’t blame the economy nor do they “wait on the economy” to get better before they act. Creators find a way to learn from the mistakes and circumstances and the result is growth.

You are always bigger than your problems. You will take full responsibility for your situation and one day you will be able to use this experience to help someone else who also needs to be reminded that where you are is not who you are.