by Colleen Kettenhofen

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Albert Einstein

After attending a seminar in Las Vegas this past weekend on personal and professional success, I walked away with a plethora of time-tested tools that can be applied immediately. Many of the presenters were self-made millionaires. I emphasize the term “self-made” as I’m not talking about someone who inherited it or married into it. These individuals, through grit, determination and calculated risk did it on their own. Here are the seven proven strategies guaranteed to dramatically improve your happiness and success in any area of your life if you apply them:

  1. Wherever you are today, is a result of what you’ve done in the past. Take responsibility for the choices you’ve made. Learn from them and move on. Let go the mistake but don’t lose the lesson. This frame of mind alone can turn your life around.
  2. “You become what you think about all day” Earl Nightengale once said. Have you ever noticed while driving your car that if you keep looking to the right you eventually go to the right? Keep looking to the left and your car veers left? What you think about and focus on becomes reality.
  3. The books you read and the people you interact with most determine 90% of your success. So surround yourself with successful positive people. Join a mastermind group. It can consist of like-minded individuals all around the country where you talk by phone once a week. Attend business and personal development seminars to find the right people. Who are the people you spend the most time with? What about their goals, values and priorities? Do they have any goals?! You are an average of the five people you spend the most time with. Try this exercise: Add up their yearly income. Now divide by five. Most likely your income is within 10% of that sum. You can spend time with people less successful than you and feel like a big fish, but as you discover your passion and climb the ladder of success those same people will drag you down and discourage your dreams.
  4. The books you read. Invest at least 3% of your yearly income in personal and professional development books, CD’s, e-books, teleseminars, webinars and the like. If you’re pressed for time, listen to motivational CD’s in your car. The average person spends 500 to 1000 hours per year in their cars. Turn your car into a virtual mobile classroom.“Fill your mind with rich mental protein.”
    Brian Tracy
  5. Reprogram your mind. You’ve heard the phrase “stinkin’ thinkin’.” To reprogram your mind with positive thoughts, spend a few minutes upon awakening reading inspirational literature or something related to your field you are passionate about. Do the same thing within that last hour before bedtime. The subconscious mind is most amenable to suggestion the first hour upon awakening, and that last hour before retiring.
  6. The mirror exercise. Every morning when you get up and every evening before going to bed, give yourself pep talks. At first you will feel embarrassed and ridiculous but this technique is very powerful. Ruben Gonzalez, three time Olympian in the luge, was the keynote speaker this weekend. He told how his friend used to make him stand in front of a mirror and say to himself (with emotion) “No matter how terrible it gets I am going to make it happen!” He would say this over and over until he believed it. Saying it with emotion will help your dream manifest itself more quickly.
  7. Learn to overcome procrastination. Most people procrastinate doing something because they fear it. For example, if you’re procrastinating learning a new software program take classes or hire a tutor. Because if that skill is necessary in helping you achieve an important goal you must do it. Also, do the thing you like least first. The more you just think about what you “should” do and procrastinate, the harder it is to get started and your anxiety is compounded. Think how much better, lighter (and more confident) you’ll feel when it’s complete.

Celebrate your successes and reward yourself for even small accomplishments. All work and no play serves as a de-motivator. And the larger the success, the larger the reward. Have you ever noticed how much you accomplish right before a vacation? Because you’re looking forward to that reward and you don’t want to think about it when you’re on vacation. Do the same thing with these simple steps. Apply them. Work them.

Focus on your dreams not the fear. The price of success is huge, but the price of regret is worse. Increase your self-belief and increase your desire. Ask yourself, “Who am I?” “What do I want to be?” And go do that. Good luck.

March 9th, 2005

You are free to reprint or repost this article for use in your newsletters, association publications, or intranet provided Colleen Kettenhofen’s contact information (name, website, and email) is included with the article. Colleen Kettenhofen is a Phoenix, Arizona motivational speaker, trainer, & co-author of “The Masters of Success ,” featured on NBC’s Today Show, along with Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield. For free articles, video clips, and e-newsletter, visit Colleen’s area of expertise are leadership, managing people, life balance, difficult people, presentation skills. Colleen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions and seminars.


She can be reached at contact information listed below:

Colleen Kettenhofen

(971) 212-0479


Please let us know how you plan to use this article or send an electronic tear sheet.