5 Unorthodox Productivity Tips to Get More Done

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living in or where you work – everyone is looking for productivity tips to get more done. Everyone is looking for ways to get their jobs done faster, easier, with fewer headaches. But, what if I told you that true productivity doesn’t just come down to making a task list and checking things off when you finish. It takes more than that. True productivity lies not only in how you manage your time – but in how you manage your mind.


So follow these 5 uncommon tips to become an all-around more productive person.

1. Clean Up Your Messes

First, clean up your messes. When you live in a state of mental and physical clutter, it’s likely that you won’t be very productive. Incomplete projects, unfinished business, and piles of cluttered messes can weigh you down and take away from the energy you have to move forward toward your goals. When you don’t complete tasks, you can’t be fully prepared to move into the present, let alone into your new future.

What this means is that in order to be productive, you must complete any unfinished business or tasks that have been holding you back.

2. Focus!

Next, focus! The most successful people create entire days dedicated to focusing. A Focus Day is a day in which you spend at least 80% of your time operating in your core genius, or primary area of expertise—interacting with people or processes that give you the highest payoffs for the time you invest. To be successful, you must schedule more Focus Days and hold yourself accountable for producing the results. The more you focus on your highest payoff activities, the more productive you’ll be.

3. Just Say No

Third, learn how to say no. If you are going to increase your results and your income, as well as increase the amount of free time in your life, you are going to have to eliminate those activities, requests, and other time-stealers that don’t have a high payoff.

You will have to structure your work so that you are focusing your time, effort, energies, and resources only on projects, opportunities, and people that give you a huge reward for your efforts. You are going to have to create strong boundaries about what you will and won’t do.

4. Practice the Rule of 5

Next, practice the Rule of 5. The Rule of 5 simply means that every day, you must do five specific things to move your most important goal toward completion. By committing to take meaningful daily actions to achieve your goals, you will accomplish more than you thought possible in a surprisingly short amount of time.

5. Meditate

Meditation is very important when it comes to productivity. In general, through meditation, you can do many things better. When your mind is clear, you make better decisions, you’ll be able to focus on your most pressing issues, you’re more creative, you have much greater awareness of the world around you, and you ultimately get more done. All these are great benefits.Pick one of these productivity tips and begin implementing it today. Leave a comment below on which one you are choosing to implement first starting today, and I’ll be sure to follow up with you.

In order to be productive, you must also learn to plan and execute on your goals. Click the button below to download my free 12-month goal planner and get started.


Now What? Some Thoughts After the Presidential Election


The people have voted, and we now have a new president-elect in the United States. Half the country is elated and the other half is shocked, dismayed and disillusioned. Whichever side you were on in this presidential election, let me suggest a few things to consider on how we move forward.

1. You Still Determine the Quality of Your Life

Being 72 years old and having lived through 13 elections since I was old enough to vote, I have continually seen people believe that whoever they elected as president would dramatically change the quality of their life. But it hardly ever happens. The truth is that whoever is in the White House rarely significantly changes the quality of your life. Certainly, they can affect some of the conditions within which you operate, but they do not ultimately determine the quality of your life. You are responsible for that.

Sure there have been incremental changes over time in terms of civil rights, social security, and medical care, but generally, the things that really matter about the quality of your life lie outside the influence of the government.

2. Apply the Success Principles to Your Work and Life

I once read a book called Prince Charming Is Not Coming that made the point that most people give their power away to someone else, hoping that person will rescue them from their circumstances and dramatically improve the quality of their life. It is the fodder for all the romance novels that sell millions of copies. It allows you to live in a fantasy world, hoping that Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy will somehow make it all better without you having to do the work of creating your own success.

As you know, I teach the formula E+R=O: Events + your Response equals the Outcomes you get in life.

Whether you are happy or despondent, today is the result of the story you are telling yourself right now. It is your thoughts about the event, not the event itself, that determines how you feel, and it is only your actions in response to the event that will determine the quality of your future. So whatever your feelings and concerns are right now, the main thing for you to do is to apply the success principles to your work and life.

Focus on the vision you have for your family, your career, your company or nonprofit organization, and your local community, visualize and affirm the results you want, believe you can create it, and then work with your team, your mastermind group, and your accountability partner to make it happen. Simply sitting around celebrating or sitting around feeling bad will not get it done.

3. We All Ultimately, Want the Same Things

I saw a wonderful ad from Pedigree dog food that aired during the election coverage last night. It showed a woman wearing a Hillary tee shirt with a golden retriever that she pretended was a lost dog wandering around among Trump supporters waiting in line to get into a Trump rally pretending to look for the owner of the dog. Later she did the same thing wearing a Trump tee shirt wandering around a gathering of Hillary supporters. When the people on both sides began bonding over the dog, they acknowledged their common humanity and shared values, and as one woman stated, “If you talk person to person, you realize you care about each other.”

So, while we all have our political differences, most of us ultimately want the same thing: a safe environment for our kids and families, access to education and affordable medical care, a decent job, freedom of expression, mutual respect, a sense of belonging, and the right to pursue our dreams.

And even though we may disagree on the best way to achieve those things, we now acknowledge that most people, and there are some exceptions, are good and decent people, who are doing the best they can with the awareness and skills they have to create a life that works for them and the people they care about.

4. Create Win-Win Solutions for All People

I think this election has taught us that, as a nation, a lot of people’s needs and concerns have not been heard by the people in Washington and by many in the media. Hillary Clinton on the left and Donald Trump on the right have made us aware that more people than many have realized have felt left out, ignored and disenfranchised.

And while I still believe that our own personal lives are primarily our own responsibility, if we are to create in reality the country we all were taught America is when we studied civics and social studies in school, we have to start deeply listening to each other, and work to create win-win solutions that take into consideration the needs of ALL the people, not just the people who look and think like us.

5. Keep Joyfully Pursuing Your Dreams

As many of you know, I have defined my life purpose as “to inspire and empower people to live their highest vision in a context of love and joy in harmony with the highest good of all concerned.”

In harmony with the highest good of all concerned means that in all our actions, we need to quit seeing others who don’t agree with us as the enemy or as people who don’t matter. They simply represent a set of human experiences and a point of view that needs to be sincerely listened to and deeply considered. We need to look beneath the surface of their different position and see what deeper unmet human needs they represent. We need to seek understanding and practice compassion.

So I encourage you to keep joyfully pursuing your dreams, believe it is possible to achieve them, while at the same time sincerely caring about and taking into consideration how all your actions and non-actions impact others and the environment.

6. We All Need to Come Together to do Our Best Work

Finally, for those of you who were supporting Hillary and are perhaps feeling sad, scared, hopeless and depressed, remember that it is okay to grieve. Psychologists agree that there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Last night, you probably couldn’t believe what happened, and now many of you are angry and/or depressed. Make sure to give yourself permission to feel all your feelings, but also remember that you must eventually accept what is simply because it is, and then move on with your life.

None of us ever knows for sure what the future will bring. It may be better or worse than you currently imagine, but it is important to remember that you always have a choice about how you react to it. As the work of Byron Katie has taught us, it is not the event, but our thoughts that it shouldn’t be the way that it is, that creates our suffering. And as we have learned from the work of Esther and Jerry Hicks, the best way out of suffering is to think a better feeling-thought—a thought that makes you feel better.

As we always must do after an election in America, we all need to come together and do our best to work together to create the best solutions we can to the problems and challenges that face us. I believe that if we act together we have the power and the ability to do that.  

Do you want to learn how you can apply the Success Principles in all areas of your life? Click here to download the first two chapters of my best-selling book, The Success Principles.



You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is the 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 FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

How to Navigate Your Inner GPS to Find Your Purpose in Life

What if I told you that you have your own guidance system within you that can help you get from where you are in life to where you want to go?

It’s called your inner GPS.

I’m sure the first question you have is, “What is my inner GPS?”

Your inner GPS is similar to the GPS system you use in your car or on your phone. It tells you how to get from point A to point B.

When you get in your car and are heading to a specific destination, what is the first thing you input into your GPS? First, it finds your current location. Once it’s determined where you are, it gives you directions to where you are heading.

For the system to work, it simply needs to know your beginning location and your end destination. The navigation system figures out the rest by the use of an onboard computer that receives signals from multiple satellites and calculates your exact position. Then it plots a perfect course for you.

All you have to do from that point on is follow the instructions it gives you to reach your destination.

Click here to get free access to more success strategies like these.

Success in Life Works Like a GPS

Success in life works the same way:

All you have to do is decide where you want to go by clarifying your vision, then lock in your destination through goal setting, affirmations, and visualization, and then start taking the actions that will move you in the right direction.

With every picture you visualize, you’re “inputting” the destination you want to get to.

Every time you express a preference for something, you are expressing an intention.

A table by the window, front row seats at a conference, first-class tickets, a room with an ocean view, or a loving relationship.

All these images and thoughts are sending requests to the universe.

If you stay out of its way—meaning you don’t interrupt the process with a stream of negative thoughts, doubts, and fears, your inner GPS will keep unfolding the next steps along your route as you continue to move forward.

In other words, once you clarify and then stay focused on your vision, the exact steps will keep appearing along the way in the form of internal guidance, creating ideas, and new opportunities.

Be Clear and Focused About What You Want

Once you are clear about what you want and keep your mind constantly focused on it, the how will keep showing up—sometimes just when you need it and not a moment earlier.

You were born with an inner guidance system that tells you when you are on or off course by the amount of joy you are experiencing. The things that bring you the greatest joy are in alignment with your purpose and will get you to where you want to go.

When you present your goals to the universe with all its powerful technology, you will be surprised and dazzled by what it delivers. This is where the magic and miracles truly happen.

Where is Your Inner GPS Taking You?

Take some time to think honestly and openly about where you currently are in your life.

What is your financial status? How are your relationships going? How is your health? And so on…

Next, think about where you would like to be.

If your life were perfect right now, what would it look like? What kind of job would you have and where would you be living? By continually doing this exercise, you’ll send powerful triggers to your subconscious mind to help you get there.

And remember to leave a comment below and share with us your ideal vision for your life!

You can learn more success strategies like the ones in this article, by clicking the button below to get the first two chapters of my book The Success Principles for free.



You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: 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 FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

5 Steps to Achieve Your Own Personal Transformation

Transform your life

5 Steps to Achieve Your Own Personal Transformation – and Make 2016 a Standout Year

December is a season of transformation – which means it’s the perfect time to set aside an hour amid the bustle and whirl of activity and spend a few moments contemplating the idea of personal transformation – and what that means for you.

Over the course of the next few weeks, are you hoping to transition from a state of darkness into one of emerging light, as represented by the solstice? Would you like to awaken a deeper sense of love for yourself and others, as represented by the many powerful symbols of peace and compassion that are so abundant this time of year?

Or do you simply want to say goodbye to old behaviors that no longer serve you, and say hello to a more positive and motivated incarnation of yourself, as we bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new?

No matter what kind of personal transformation you would like to accomplish in the next few weeks, here are five of my most powerful tips on how to create remarkable change in your life – by focusing on yourself first:

1. Complete the past to embrace the future

One of the biggest reasons why we find it difficult to move forward in life is because we haven’t properly dealt with the things that are holding us back.

Are you holding onto past hurts, past anger or fear, or past incompletes? Releasing these anchors could be the final step you need to complete your past and embrace your future.

I’ve known people who have forgiven their parents and doubled their productivity and ability to achieve their goals, almost overnight. I’ve known others who have finally sat down with an accountant and got their financial numbers in order – and doubled their income in a matter of months as a result. I even know someone who spent the weekend cleaning out his garage once – and scored a new dream client the following Monday!


I encourage you to take some time before the end of the month and make a list of all the anchors that are weighing you down – from unresolved issues with your family or loved ones, conversations you’ve been putting off having, projects around the house that you keep delaying – then create a schedule for completing every item on your list over the next few weeks.

You will be amazed at how liberated you feel!

2. Embrace change

In order to achieve personal transformation, you must embrace the fact that change is not only necessary, but it is inevitable.

After all, as President John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

When you resist that change, you risk being swept away by it. But when you choose to embrace change wholeheartedly as an inevitable part of life, looking for ways to use new changes to make your life richer, easier, and more fulfilling, your life will work much better. You will experience change as an opportunity for growth and new experiences, rather than a potential source of discomfort or fear.


Take some time this holiday season to consider your life and decide where you most need to grow.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s changing in my life that I’m currently resisting?
  • Why am I resisting that change?
  • What am I afraid of with respect to this change?
  • What am I afraid might happen to me?
  • What’s the payoff for my keeping things the way they are?
  • What’s the cost I’m paying for keeping things the way they are?
  • What benefits might there be in this change?
  • What’s the next step I could take to cooperate with this change?
  • When will I take this step?

When you choose to cooperate with change, adapt to it, and benefit from it, you will thrive no matter what life throws your way.

3. Transform your inner critic into an inner coach

Research indicates that people talk to themselves about 50,000 times a day – and that 80% of that self-talk is negative.

So if you have a voice inside you that says things like, “I shouldn’t have said that… they don’t like me… I’m never going to be able to pull this off… I’m a fraud… I’m so disorganized… I’ll never be good enough…” you are certainly not alone.

The problem with all this negative self-talk is that we actually BELIEVE it. Such thoughts affect our attitude, our motivation to act, our physiology, even our biochemistry.

So how do you stop them? By realizing that YOU are in charge of your own mind. You can choose whether to listen to or agree with any thought that passes through your head. Get into the habit of asking yourself: “Is this thought helping me or hurting me? Is it getting me closer to where I want to go, or taking me further away? Is it motivating me to action, or blocking me with fear and self-doubt?”


If you experience a thought that is having a negative impact on you, make the effort to consciously replace it with a more positive one. An ideal way to do this is to start a daily meditation practice. By meditating for just 5-10 minutes every morning, and focusing on the positives in your life, you will go a long way toward replacing that critical inner voice with one that always has your back and encourages you to accomplish great things.

4. Commit to developing four new success habits a year

Your habits determine your outcomes. Successful people don’t just drift to the top. Getting there requires focused action, personal discipline, and lots of energy every day to make things happen.

So if you want to create higher levels of success, chances are you are going to need to drop some of your current habits – such as not following through on your commitments, staying up too late, watching too much television, making sarcastic comments, eating fast food too often, smoking, spending more than you earn – and replace them with more productive ones.

For example, if your goal is to get to the gym every morning, you might develop the habit of going to bed one hour earlier every night. If you want to be more productive at work, maybe you’ll get into the habit of identifying five main tasks you want to accomplish each day – then not leave the office until they’re complete. Or if you want to improve your relationship with your parents, maybe you’ll get into the habit of calling them at the same time every week just to chat.

Here are 5 habits of successful people to hep you get started.


I encourage you to create a list of four new habits you would like to establish in the new year. You can adopt a new habit each quarter and work diligently on making it part of your natural routine. By systematically adding one behavior at a time, you will dramatically improve your overall lifestyle.

5. Stay motivated with the masters

Achieving personal transformation can be challenging work – and without daily motivation, it’s all too easy to backslide.

One great way to stay on track is to seek out external motivation to keep your thoughts and attitude oriented on success. In my experience, truly successful people commit to lifelong learning and are always reading, watching, or listening to books, videos, or audiotapes that inspire them to keep moving forward.

If you spend even 15 minutes a day listening to motivational talks, learning a valuable new skill, or discovering the success secrets of the world’s most powerful entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, or other professional titans, it will inspire you to pursue your own incredible success.

Here are 5 reasons self motivated people win at life.


I encourage you to sign up for my Success Principles 10-Day Transformation series. If you’ve never taken this free training before, you will be amazed at how much it will teach you in just 10 days!

You will receive daily lessons that will help you overcome the obstacles that have been holding you back from achieving your biggest goals and enjoying deeper, more fulfilling relationships with the important people in your life.

You’ll learn how to regain 100% control over your life… heal old wounds… gain clarity on what your true purpose is… and clear your path of the roadblocks that have been preventing you from creating an ideal life filled with joy, meaning, and passion.

This is the most popular free training I have offered. More than 85,000 people have already gone through this 10-day series and experienced incredible results.

Now it’s your turn.


I hope you enjoy a wonderful holiday season – and that you experience the personal transformation you need to make 2016 an incredible year for you!

You May Also Enjoy:

Visualization Techniques to Affirm Your Desired Outcomes: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Meditate for Clarity, Intuition & Guidance

How to Create an Empowering Vision Board

Canadian soldier: How the Success Principles helped me overcome my mental illness

blog-CanadianSoldierCanadian soldier: How the Success Principles helped me overcome my mental illness

One of the best parts of my job is reading letters sent to me by people who want to let me know how the Success Principles have changed their lives.

I recently received such a letter from Lex Stockdale, a graduate from my popular Train the Trainer program. Lex was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces when she developed a mental illness called depersonalization/derealization disorder.

This is how she describes her experience:

“At that time I was not allowed to be left alone. I would often forget who I was, where I was and what was going on. I would have no memories for long stretches of time. And it was unclear if I would ever return to normal.

This put me in a bad way as I felt completely helpless and dependent on those nearby. I lived in constant fear of being locked in isolation again. By no means was I a danger to myself or anyone, but nobody really understood what was going on and nobody wanted to understand either. I was shunned as an outcast and a burden by those who I thought were friends. My family pretended nothing was wrong or that I was just faking it. I was at the lowest point in my life.”

Then she discovered my book, The Success Principles, and her life changed. As she read through the book, she started to apply the principles to her life and saw improvements right away:

lex-stockdale“Noticeable positive changes occurred. This condition I have no longer controlled me. With the help of the principles and my doctors I started to get better at an alarming rate. I started to take responsibility of myself, figure out what I wanted to do, and remove the toxic people.

Now I’m building the life I want to live and filling it with all the people and things that bring me joy. My doctors now believe that I will be normal in a few years. And there is no doubt in my mind that that is due to The Success Principles.”

Lex was so moved by the impact the Success Principles have had on her life that she decided to become certified to teach them to others. That’s when she enrolled in my Train the Trainer program.

“Now I’m able to share the principles with others and help them experience those wonderful ‘a-ha’ moments, too,” she writes.

Not only that – but by incorporating the Success Principles so deeply into her life, she has also managed to overcome the crippling fears brought on by her mental illness.

“Two years ago I never would have thought it possible but now I’m not afraid of anything. Sure fear pops up every now and then but I recognize it for what it is: a tool to help me.”

Lex says that the greatest insight she has gained from studying the Success Principles and learning how to share them with others is that it’s all about “taking ownership of your life.”

“You are your own biggest roadblock and once you stop getting in your own way, anything and everything is possible. Fear, like any emotion, is just a tool to help you protect you. You are in control, so take control and stop being passive.”

I’m so proud of Lex for taking charge of her life and healing process in the way that she has. Her courage and desire to help others is humbling, and I’m thrilled that she has become certified to share the Success Principles with others! She is a bright light in the Canfield Community and I know she will continue to achieve great things in her life.

If you know anyone who is suffering and not living a life of deep joy and abundance, please tell them about The Success Principles – it could be the solution they’ve been searching for.

And if you have ever felt called to share the Success Principles with others, please check out Train the Trainer Live or my new self-directed Train the Trainer Online program – and learn how you can help others while achieving something remarkable with your life!

Announcement: Call for Stories for My Next Success Principles Book


I’m currently writing a book entitled Living the Success Principles – a collection of true and compelling stories from people (just like you!) who have had a breakthrough results from applying the strategies and concepts found in the The Success Principles book, our audio and video programs, or any of our workshops, trainings and coaching programs. 

The purpose of the book is to inform people about how powerful the principles and techniques are in creating powerful transformations in the lives of the people who apply them. All the stories are as inspirational, motivational and instructional as the stories you would find in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book.

Over the next several months, I’ll be publishing these stores here on our blog and hope you enjoy them and that they remind you of the power of the principles and that they inspire you to practice them more fully in your life. Please feel free to share any of these stories with your friends and family. And, if you are so moved, please take moment and post your reactions to the stories.

Submit Your Story

If you have a story of a breakthrough or a success that you have created as a result of applying the success principles in your personal or professional life, click here for details on story submission.

Read these Empowering Stories


A Blind Man’s Vision

The following story from Charlie Collins illustrates the transformative power of two important Success Principles—#50: Tell the Truth Faster and#17: Ask! Ask! Ask!   and is part of a new book I’m currently writing entitled Living the Success Principles.

Let me know your thoughts after reading Charlie’s story. Please post your reaction, and learn how to submit your own story below. – Jack

A Blind Man’s Vision by Charlie Collins


Charlie Collins, CPSC
Founder and CEO
Vision Dynamics, LLC

My parents and I sat in the doctor’s office as he gave us the diagnosis. “I’m afraid it’s juvenile macular degeneration,” he said, his tone grave. “There’s nothing we can do to save Charlie’s sight.” I was nine years old.

At 13, I received a certificate from the state of Connecticut declaring that I was legally blind. I didn’t need the certificate to know that—for the last three years, the writing on the chalkboard had progressively disappeared, and in the school hallways, the faces of the people I passed had become dim and gray. Although I could still make out shapes, colors, and areas of light and dark, my world seemed to be shrinking rapidly around me.

The certificate only cemented the belief growing inside that I was going to fail in life, and my self-esteem began its long nose-dive. 

I struggled through high school—seemingly on an all-out quest to prove that my negative self-image was accurate.  I tried to numb my pain by drinking and even taking drugs, but that never solved anything for long and only ended up creating more problems in my life. When I graduated, I tried college twice, but flunked out both times. After that, I moved back in with my parents and began working odd jobs, landscaping, and grooming ski trails and tennis courts.

As a kid, I’d wanted to fly planes, be a cop or a private detective, do something with engines, and go fast! But all those ambitions had died with my diagnosis.  After high school and my failed attempts at college, I literally had no dreams, sure that my life, dominated by my disability, was going nowhere.

One day, when I was about 24, I was on a landscaping job, cutting the grass at a local motorcycle dealership. I had just finished edging the walk and I stood up for a moment, aware of the long line of shining new motorcycles parked in front of me.

Motorcycles were special to me. Even though I couldn’t hold a driver’s license, I owned a dirt bike that I often took out in the woods behind my house where I had walked a trail and memorized it. Some of my happiest moments of that period were spent speeding along through the trees, the breeze ruffling my hair. At those times, I didn’t feel quite so blind.

Standing in front of the parked motorcycles, I fell into a daydream, imagining myself racing, leaning into corners, the roar of the engine filling my ears. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Startled, I turned around to see a bearded ZZ Top-looking guy. I recognized him immediately: it was Jimbo, the owner of the dealership. I often came in to buy parts for my dirt bike and we knew each other by name. Assuming he didn’t like the job I’d done on the lawn, I cringed inside, waiting for the dressing-down I expected.

“Charlie, he said, I was wondering if you’d like to work for me.”

My first thought was, Why would he ask a dumb blind guy? But all I said was, “To do what?”

Well, I know you love motorcycles, and I think you’d make a good salesman.”

I was stunned. I told Jimbo I’d think it over.

That night I lay in the same single bed I’d slept in my whole life—the bed where I’d spent so many nights crying or wondering why I existed or even thinking “Boy, wouldn’t it be nice not to wake up tomorrow.” But tonight I was arguing with myself. I truly believed I wasn’t good enough for the job. Yet, I really wanted to try. Torn between fear and hope, I cried out inside, “If there’s a God up there, I really could use some help here. There’s a big part of me that would love that job. Please remove whatever is blocking me from saying “Yes” and just giving this a shot. I can’t allow this blindness to control me anymore! I can’t allow a disease in my eyes to take over my entire thought process, my body, every inch of me—to let it kill me! Please, help me.” After tossing and turning for hours, I eventually fell asleep.

In the morning, I went straight to the dealership and told Jimbo I’d take the job. “But,” I said, “do you have any idea how poor my eyesight is?”

Jimbo said he knew there was something going on with my eyes, but it didn’t matter to him. “I don’t know you as a guy with an eye condition; I know you as a guy who’s passionate and enthusiastic, and who loves this type of stuff!”

“Really?” I said. “What the heck; I never saw that.”

Jimbo gave me a chance, and I wasn’t going to let him down. I threw myself into my new job and discovered that I was really good at sales.

To my amazement, within two years, I had worked myself up the ladder and become the co-owner of the dealership—a $2-million-a-year business! This was beyond my conception of anything I could have even imagined for myself. During those years, I also married a lovely woman I’d known since sixth grade, and bought my first house. Wow, there I was, living the American dream!

Yet strangely enough, I still wasn’t happy. I had the toys, the prestige, the power, and the money, but something was missing—something I vaguely recognized as a sense of purpose and meaning in my life. On top of that, I had started trying to hide my eye disease from my customers, and this pretense and self-inflicted pressure to be “normal” was getting to me.

So I sold my share of the dealership and took a year off to figure out what to do next. During that year I realized that, even with my success, I still felt unworthy. My self-esteem had been temporarily propped up by my business accomplishments, but underneath, at my core, I still considered myself that “dumb blind guy.”

 As I mulled over my career options, I promised myself that whatever I picked would have to help me find a sense of purpose in my life, and most of all, allow me to be myself—vision impairment and all. Once I got that clear, bingo! That was it! I had the idea to start a company to help other people with vision impairments.  So I founded Vision Dynamics, a company that supplies products and services to people living with low vision and blindness so that they can lead independent and happy lives.

What I still didn’t know was that vision impairment has less to do with the eyes and more to do with the brain and our thoughts.

That knowledge came a few years later, when I began to look into the world of personal development. I’d heard of it, but didn’t really know much about it. One day, I Googled “self-esteem” and found a website for Jack Canfield. This guy sold audio books. Perfect! I bought one called Maximum Confidence and began listening. I was so excited by what I heard that halfway through the first CD, I paused the disc to run to my computer and buy more of his audio books: The Aladdin Factor and The Power of Focus. I was blown away! This guy knew exactly what was going on with me—down to the specific wording of the negative self-talk that still ran constantly through my mind.

Best of all, Jack had answers. I began using his tools and techniques, practicing what I was learning from his CDs, both at work and at home. Soon I started teaching my staff a few of Jack’s tools. “Today, we’re going to practice visualization,” I said to them. “Isn’t it cool that blind people can visualize?” Of course, I’d been visualizing all my life, but I didn’t know that’s what I was doing. Most of my visualizations were negative, focusing on lack, scarcity, and what I felt I couldn’t have. Slowly, I began turning that around.

For the next two years, I listened to Jack’s tapes over and over, and things in my life got better and better. I was really impressed with this Jack Canfield guy. So impressed that in early 2008, I found myself sitting in the first row at a three-day Jack Canfield seminar, hearing the man speak live.

Just getting to the seminar had been a huge stretch for me. I’d traveled across the country to California alone—something I didn’t know if I could pull off. I’d retrieved my luggage, found transportation to the hotel, and navigated through a completely unfamiliar building by myself. I was practicing trust, practicing “I can!” Whenever I started telling myself, “You can’t,” I’d quickly change it to “You can! Remember that Jack says you can.”

A few weeks earlier, when I’d registered for the program, I hadn’t told anyone I was vision-impaired. Now, surrounded by more than 300 smart, successful people, I tried to hide my disability. I thought these people might feel sorry for me or look down on me.

It wasn’t a problem the first day. It was great to hear Jack in person and observe how he worked with people on the course. I hung on every word. I took copious notes, writing with a big black Sharpie—the only way I could see what I was writing—until the lady to my right asked me to please use a different pen because the fumes from the

Sharpie were bothering her. I didn’t want to tell her why I needed to use that particular type of pen, so I took out a ballpoint pen and pretended to use it.

The next day, the hiding thing came to a head. I arrived for the morning meeting and saw our name badges laid out on a table outside the door. I couldn’t see the writing on them at all. I looked around to make sure no one was watching me and then bent down with my nose an inch from the badges, trying to find mine and straightening up whenever I heard someone approach—which was every 30 seconds or so.

After a few minutes of this, I was panicked, ready to run back to my hotel room, skip the meeting, and hide until it was time for my flight back to Connecticut.

The doors were about to close when I had an idea. The next person who walked up to the table was a woman. “Excuse me,” I said. “I left my glasses in my room. My name’s Charlie. Can you point out my badge to me?” She smiled and handed it to me. I thanked her, my heart pounding, and sprinted into the meeting room.

At the first break, I walked up to the stage and introduced myself to Jack. We began talking and for some reason, I told him about my experience with the name badges. After the break, I sat down in my chair, ready for more, when I heard Jack say, “Somebody please give Charlie the microphone.” Then he asked me to stand up.

“Hi, Charlie,” Jack said. “I want you to take a look around at all the people in the room. Now, tell them what you told me at the break.”

I was mad! How could he expose me like that! How could he make me tell everyone my secret? But I did it. And as I spoke, I could feel more and more power flowing inside me. And at the end of my story, people clapped!

Jack said to me, “So, Charlie, I think you get it: you need to stop living your life this way. As of right now, you’re no longer going to allow that legal blindness to run your life.” Then he looked around the room and asked, “Is there anybody here who would say no if Charlie approached them and asked for help?”

The room went nuts. Everyone was calling out, “I’d help him!” “I’d love to help!” “Of course I’d help him!”

Jack continued, “Human beings like to help each other. That’s what we’re here for, to serve and help each other—and all of us need help at certain times. Now, do you believe that, Charlie?”

To my surprise, I did. 

For the rest of the seminar, I had a great time. I felt somewhat vulnerable—and yet more open, authentic, and empowered than I’d ever felt before. And because I had felt so much growth working with Jack in person, before I left that 3-day seminar I signed up for every damn course he taught. The next one I went to—Breakthrough to Success, Jack’s weeklong training program—was also a life-changing experience. It was there that I finally discovered my true calling: being a inspirational speaker.

Today, I have two careers that I’m passionate about. At Vision Dynamics, in addition to selling “talking” clocks, computers that have large-print screens, and other items that make life easier for vision-impaired people, I’m also able to inspire and empower them. Through workshops and classes, I share what I’ve learned about personal growth, using all the tools Jack taught me—and people love it. This two-pronged approach makes my business unique, which has kept it flourishing year after year.

And I’m also a inspirational speaker. I travel around the country speaking to groups of people, both sighted and blind, about how we can overcome our blind spots—because no matter how good a person’s eyesight is, we all have them!

In fact, one of the most important things I learned from Jack is that we all lose our vision when we block ourselves with negative thinking patterns. Even people with perfect eyesight can’t see their way to creating a happy life for themselves until they put their thoughts to work for them, instead of against them.

I am living my true life purpose and it’s a great one:  I teach people how to see again.


To learn more about the purpose of my upcoming book Living the Success Principles and how to submit your own story, click here.