Circumstances Reveal Who You Are

August 2, 2010

I used to use a little humor in my keynote speech by talking about dealing with adversity, and then I would ask the audience a question: Do you know when I’m at my best?

The audience would guess something like, “when you are tested and overcome circumstances?” I would say, “No, I’m at my best when everything goes my way.” 

After a few laughs the audience would recoginze the truth in that statement. All of us want things to go our way and we are happy when circumstances are of our choosing.

However, the opportunity for growth often presents itself through difficulties and unwanted circumstances.
I call this place “The Gap.”

If you are committed to personal growth there will almost always be a gap between where you are and where you want to be.  The visual I use in my Stop Your Drama Methodolgy is that of a rowboat going to an island. If the journey is 5 miles away, there is not so much drama. If the journey is 500 miles away there is more opportunity for drama. In other words, the larger the gap, the more potential for drama.

Here are some truths to help you manage those difficult times in the gap.

1. Know what is required
Do a little planning and research before jumping out there too far. You can’t get to the island 5000 miles away with a rowboat, no team and no map. Know what you need in time, money, and resources before you make such a big commitment, otherwise you are not going to be equipped to handle the drama in such a big gap.

2. Chunk it down
Whether you are working by yourself, or leading a team you can manage the gap more effectively by making designated stopping places. In other words, row to the island 50 miles away and stop on an island to celebrate. Then get back in that boat and row toward your island. Your team will stay motivated if they feel a sense of accomplishment along the way.

3. Make a game of it
Instead of resisting the drama in the gap, be prepared to see how you can handle it with grace. Make it a part of your inner journey of growth. Practice patience if you are normally impatient. See how long you can go without complaining. Make yourself bigger than your circumstances and see how this improves your self-esteem.

4. Realize that life is lived in the gap
Realize that drama in the gap will not equal success on the island. If you are miserable while on the way to accomplishing your goal, chances are you aren’t going to be much happier once you get to “the island.” Keep in mind that life is always lived in the gap and drama in the gap will not equal real success on the island.


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:

Success Starts on the Inside

March 2, 2010

A lot of people who believe that more money or a higher position at work would alleviate the anxiety or worry. This is an example of looking for success in  the wrong place.

Stephen Covey, one of my favorite authors says, “Private victories precede public victories.” You must do your inner work first, then you can enjoy your outer success!

Higher levels of success in the form of more money or a higher leadership position, only magnifies unfinished business. You can’t fool the Universe.

If you aren’t ready for the more money, or more responsibility your weaknesses  will be magnified.

If you haven’t done your “inner work” the extra money, bigger title, or fancy degree won’t fill the  spiritual “hole” you are trying to fill with outward success. 

If you are suffering with a small business, a bigger one will make you suffer more. If you can’t get along with the folks you work with now, chances are you’ll have problems at the next job too.

During Stop Your Drama Month I am offering so many free resources for people at all levels. I get that not everyone can afford some of the things I offer, so this is my way of giving back and living on purpose without worrying about who is my client.  Let’s have some fun this March and see what happens when we all stop our drama.

Get Free Resources Here!

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.

Is Your Business Profitable and Fun?

February 26, 2009

Are you shoveling coal in the boiler room or navigating the ship? If you have lost yourself and your purpose in the pursuit of success you are not alone.

Here are a few of the signs.

1. You feel overworked, and overwhelmed

2. You have a hard time saying “no.”

3. You suffer from anxiety

4. Drama in the office takes up too much time

5. There isn’t enough time.

6. Your mind is cluttered

7. Your health is suffering

It’s not your fault

We are all in the same boat! After surveying thousands of people over the last three years over 70% of us admit we are way too hard on ourselves, we feel guilty and we have a hard time saying “no.” Our world has become more complex. No longer do we have natural boundaries.

Think about it. Before electricity when it got dark you went to bed. You didn’t have a fax, cell phone and e-mail competing for your attention. Now it’s possible to work 24/7 and in the success quest it’s easy to lose yourself to overwork, comparisons and complete burnout. It is if you are in a little rowboat paddling to an island that is 5000 miles away and no matter how hard or long you row you just row in circles. The illusion is if you had more money it would get better. Or if you just had more time, could work a little harder, or get some cooperation it would magically change.

Here’s the truth:

Your Boat Has a Leak

Your energy is drained and the energy drain is YOUR DRAMA.

You can paddle as fast as you want, but you aren’t going to get to your magical island as long as water keeps filling up your boat.

You can deny the leak, meditate, pray, focus on the positive or hire a coach to improve your rowing abilities, but until you admit you have a leak you are at the mercy of the hole in your boat. You can blame the boat maker but that doesn’t close the hole in the boat.

You can take massive action (LEVERAGE) and still nothing works. Neither a motor, a sail, the wind or a team of rowers can help you get to your island as long as you have a hole in your boat! Until you identify and plug the hole you will struggle.

You’ve no doubt heard me say “Stop Your Drama: Create the Life You Want.” You could easily replace the “Create the Life You Want” part with “Build the Business You Want” or “Have the Fun You Want” or “Make the Money You Want.” The whole “Stop Your Drama concept is about eliminating that which keeps you stuck so that you can receive and create that which moves you forward.

The same principles work in your personal life and in your professional life.

The fact is, you CAN’T create ANYTHING from a place of exhaustion. Until you plug the leak and reclaim your life you aren’t going anywhere expect in circles or at the bottom of the ocean.

DRAMA holds keeps you stuck, wears you out, impacts your health, tarnishes your relationships and contributes to your dissatisfaction, disconnection and frustration. Drama keeps you from reaching your potential. The big question you must ask yourself is this:

Where would you be without Your Drama?

Your answer might surprise you. You could be happy, successful, profitable, peaceful. Instead of office gossip and backstabbing you could be engaging your team and increasing your profits. Instead of fights with your kids you could look forward to time with your family. Instead of people pleasing you could be doing what you want and loving your life.

Register for the Signature Series Calls where we discuss how to plug the leak!

“Right Thinking” Eliminates Mind Drama

February 4, 2009

One of my favorite books is “As a Man Thinketh,” by James Allen.

Allen says, “Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction.”

When you are suffering (mentally or emotionally) challenge yourself to see the whole picture. Is there one ounce of good in what you are going through? Is there a lesson to learn? Have you become a better person though your trials? Can you help others because of your new insights?

Once you begin to “think right” your suffering will begin to subside.

In my SYD Signature Process, I call it “Telling Yourself the Truth.” Suffering is usually a result of telling yourself things that are not entirely based on fact, or looking at only a part of the puzzle and making a judgment.

What I see with a lot of my clients is the suffering they feel when they compare their growth and/or success with someone else. They see someone who has skyrocketed their business in just two years and they are already on year five and are struggling.

All of us can fall into this trap if we aren’t careful. While it’s good to let someone’s success motivate you, the REAL truth is you never have all of the puzzle pieces.

You don’t know their level of desire. You don’t know what skills they started with. You don’t know their background.

Not that any of that matters. Ultimately you need to keep a clear vision about YOUR goals and tell yourself the truth about what you need to do to reach your goals. I call this “identifying the gap.” Most of the time we just make an assumption and work from feeling rather than planning, organizing, or doing the necessary research.

Get clear about who you are and what you want. Identify where you need to up your game. Keep your eyes on your island. Anything else is just drama, and drama always leads to suffering.

To your mental and emotional health…