Dreams Are Destinations in Your Internal GPS!

By Susan Ford Collins

Here’s something you need to know about your brain and the brains of the people you live with and work with..

Like the GPS in your car, your brain contains a Search and Find function. Before you head somewhere in your car, first you must enter the details of the location you wish to reach… in your mind and in your GPS… the city, house number, street and the zip.

When you head for a destination in life, you must do the same thing. Before you begin taking action, you must the first enter the precise sensory details of the experience you want to have. Then when the details coming in through your senses match, you’ll know “You’ve arrived.” You’ve successfully created the experience you wanted.

A word of caution… not all of the destinations we enter in our internal GPS are really where we want to go. All too often, we unconsciously program destinations we don’t want to reach… fears, failures, arguments, upsets… mistakenly thinking that our brain will somehow magically translate that “don’t want” into what we “do want” instead. But our brain can’t and won’t and so we keep “arriving at the same unwanted destinations” again and again… job situations we dislike, relationship issues we don’t want. And, instead of taking responsibility for our role in getting there, we blame fate, bad luck or other people.

And we mistakenly program what we don’t want in other people’s brains too… our spouses’ and friends’, our employees’ and kids’ … don’t be late, don’t play with matches, don’t drink and drive, like don’t forgot to call… believing our strongly stated “negative instruction” will head them in a positive direction. But it won’t. And here’s why…

Like it or not. we have a Positive Command Brain

To the human brain, all statements are positive. All statements are based on sensory input. Don’t think about a hot fudge sundae immediately requires you to think about a hot fudge sundae, that scoop of luscious ice cream, the warm chocolate dripping down the sides. “Not” is ignored so the sensory words can be processed and understood. But hopefully you remember the “not” quickly enough to think about what else you could eat… a crunchy apple or your favorite healthy bar.

So if you hear yourself saying “I don’t want”, you need to quickly catch your mistake and turn your instruction around…” I want”… then, with s positive destination in mind, your inner computer will begin programming steps to get there. Instead of “don’t play” with matches, we need to say “do play” with your new video game. Don’t drink and drive needs to become… if you choose to drink, select a designated driver to take you home safely.

What positive destinations do you have in your life? What negative destinations do you need to rethink, pre-experience and take appropriate action to enjoy.

Are you as clear about the details of your dreams as you are about the destinations you enter in you GPS? From now on remember this…

What you think is what you get, like it or not.

So make sure you think about what you do want… instead of what you don’t want.

And make sure you communicate what you want in detail too.

Then your brain will direct you, and others, there and, like your car’s GPS, it will suggest alternate routes when obstacles occur. Recalculating… recalculating…

Something else life-changing for 2019

Take some time to consider this life-changing question: Are the destinations you have in mind really your destinations? Or, are they destinations other people have in mind for you… your parents’, your teacher’s, your bosses’, your spouse’s. Are they destinations you never wanted before, and don’t want now either?

It’s time to grab the steering wheel of your life, reset your Internal GPS, and drive and arrive where you really want to be! Where you will find the joy of success!

c) Susan Ford Collins

* For more on Self-Confidence, read Skill 1 in The Joy of Success and Our Children Are Watching.

THE TECHNOLOGY of SUCCESS Book Series… compact, concise and powerful…

the perfect toolbox for today’s “always-on” global world.

$14.95 paperback$3.99 eBook

Listen to Caroline Dowd-Higgins interview Susan Ford Collins on Your Working Life.

DREAM Passionately*… And Your Dreams Will Lead You There, If You Let Them!

by Susan Ford Collins

Are you feeling stuck? Here’s something that will get you moving again.

To create anything life-changing, or earth-changing, you have to be willing to look a little crazy up front!

Early in 1994, Jeff Bezos left his secure New York finance job, flew to Texas on Independence Day, and headed for Seattle by car to start what most people thought was a sure-to-fail venture, an internet bookstore. His wife Mackenzie drove while Jeff typed a business plan. They named the company Amazon after the South American river that has seemingly endless branches. They started in their two-bedroom house, using three Sun Microstations set up on desks made from Home Depot doors powered by extension cords running to the garage.

“I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew

the one thing I might regret was not trying.”

Jeff Bezos

On July 16, 1995, Bezos opened to the world and asked 300 friends and acquaintances who tested it to spread the word. And they did! In 30 days, with no press, Amazon sold books in 50 states and 45 foreign countries; by September, sales were $20,000 a week. Early naysayers thought Bezos would lose his shirt but in 2015 Forbes listed his net worth at $50.4 billion!

Thanks, Jeff and Mackenzie, for moving ahead through investor-payback concerns and “the unexplored jungle of internet-business.” Our lives would be quite different without your committed action! Today many of the things we buy, read and view are delivered via Amazon, Kindle and Prime.

Here’s something most people never fully appreciate… the road to dreams isn’t a straight line.

Like a river, it’s curving and meandering, treacherous and unpredictable. To reach our imagined destinations, we must constantly recommit and keep taking action. What we were taught as kids… to not do anything unless we know how for sure… is holding us back now as adults.

The same year high up in the Palomar Observatory, Carolyn and Gene Shoemaker and David Levy had been spending months getting ready to photograph something historic… the first collision of two solar system bodies ever photographed by man! A comet had been drawn into Jupiter’s gravitational field and fractured into 21 pieces that were about to strike Jupiter’s surface like a string of nuclear bullets! They were committed to capturing that sight on film. The Shoemaker-Levy team was ready to start shooting when they discovered someone had accidentally opened the film box and exposed the film. It was overcast so seeing the comet at all was highly unlikely. Doubt set in.

They found themselves at a crucial choice point all of us face some time in our lives: Quit or Continue? Committed to capturing those images, they decided “to go for it anyway” and started shooting using film exposed along the edges hoping it would be usable farther in. And it was! When Carolyn viewed the film later, there was the comet in the middle of the first shot!  In honor of their skill and persistence, the history-making comet was named the Shoemaker-Levy.

Call it prayer or intention… either way, the ability to hold an outcome and turn obstacles into opportunities is one of the astounding powers our human brain gives us… if we can learn how to use it.

Are we are sending ourselves, and our kids, the wrong message about creativity?

Creativity isn’t carefully planned and detailed out up front. Creativity is messy! It’s coincidences and accidents; it’s chemicals overheated or mixed incorrectly and hands left unwashed. Any one of these unexpected errors can lead to a breakthrough if an alert observer notices and seizes the opportunity… like the Johns Hopkins University researcher who noticed the bread he made for dinner tasted unusually sweet. Wondering why, he remembered that he had forgotten to wash his hands after handling a chemical in his lab so he started experimenting and patented saccharin.

Not all new projects turn out the way their creators expect… like flickr that began as a game but thrilled its inventors by becoming the most-used site for sharing photos online. Or potato chips that became a taste sensation because an annoying customer kept complaining that his potatoes were too thick and soggy and an irritated chef cut his potatoes thinner and thinner. Once you create a dream, you need to let it lead you, even if where it takes you is beside, above, below or beyond where you thought!

The “real power” of dreams… this story can help you and your kids realize your dreams!

During the Korean War Stanford University neurosurgeon, Dr. Karl Pribram was operating on shrapnel-injured soldiers when he observed something unexpected. The science he’d been taught in school proclaimed that specific memories were stored in specific locations in the brain. If that part of the brain were destroyed, that part of the memory would also be destroyed. But it wasn’t! These brain-injured soldiers were remembering things they shouldn’t have been able to remember! The memories were less clear than usual, but they were still there! Something was wrong with “the old science.”

Soon Pribram stumbled upon an article in a scientific journal about something newly discovered, Holograms. In a flash he realized this was a clue. Memory, he concluded, is stored holographically… whole in each part … instead of photographically, part in each part. Suddenly his war findings made sense! He proposed Holographic Brain Theory to the scientific world… to much initial disagreement of course! But to a Nobel Prize nomination!

Pribram discovered something else you need to know!

Thoughts generate an electromagnetic forcefield that is measurable. Thoughts it turns out are quite literally magnetic!

The more detailed a thought (or dream) is, the more attractive power it has.

The more senses are involved, the more attractive power it has.

So dreams that make you feel like you’re already there are quite powerful indeed!

Virtual Reality Googles

Now science has presented us with Virtual Reality Goggles that we can put on to experience being and doing virtually anything, anywhere. And experience it from all sides, in full color and sound. That let usbe there in our brains… the very thing we need to do to create powerful dreams and seize life-changing opportunities. And  Microsoft has just introduced their new HoloLens.

It’s time to tell yourself “a new holographic truth”… not all dreams you follow are yours!

Whose dreams are you pre-experiencing in your brain as you approach life day by day… your dreams, your parents’, your teachers’, your bosses’, your society’s? Or some complicated, interacting, inter-conflicting mix that is pulling and tugging at you, adding and subtracting from your brain’s attractive power?

Do you really want the dreams you are pursuing consciously and unconsciously, or it is time to weed old ones and create new ones? Ones that are truly yours now, ones that make you eager and excited about life.

The Case for Teaching Ignorance

In Jamie Holmes's New York Times op ed,The Case for Teaching Ignorance, neuroscientist Dr. Stuart J. Firestein reveals a truth most people don't understand: Unlike the neat, linear process most people imagine, discovery usually involves "feeling around in dark rooms, bumping into unidentifiable things, looking for barely perceptible phantoms." Social scientist Michael Smithson draws us a new map, "The larger the island of knowledge grows, the longer the shoreline — where knowledge meets ignorance — extends." The more answers emerge, the more questions need to be answered... good news indeed for students and researchers!

It’s time to let go of old limits and impossibles and feel our way into new dreams and possibilities!

Let’s take a minute to update the title of this article from… DREAM passionately*… to DREAM holographically* in vivid sensory detail… to see your dream in advance, hear it, feel it, smell it and even taste it. To live it in virtual reality! Don’t worry about knowing exactly how yet. You will be shown how… if you pay attention to what’s coming in and you are willing to continue taking action.

It’s time to tell yourself “a new holographic truth”… not all dreams you are pursuing are really yours!

Whose dreams are you pre-experiencing in your brain as you approach life day by day… yours, your parents’, your teachers’, your bosses’, your society’s… or some complicated, interacting, inter-conflicting mix that’s pulling and tugging at you, adding and subtracting from your brain’s attractive power?

Do you really want the dreams you’re pursuing consciously and unconsciously, or it is time to weed out old ones and create new ones that make you eager and excited about life? Dreams that will lead you to the joy of/the-books/ success!

c) Susan Ford Collins. For permission to use this article, email

* For more on Self-Confidence, read Skill 1 in The Joy of Success and Our Children Are Watching.

THE TECHNOLOGY of SUCCESS Book Series… compact, concise and powerful…

the perfect toolbox for today’s “always-on” global world.

$14.95 paperback$3.99 eBook

An Unexpected Christmas Visit and a Sparkling Jewish Star

By Susan Ford Collins

Two weeks before Christmas, my friend Sharon came to take temporary refuge in my home. She and her husband had ended their ten-year marriage under very painful circumstances, and she was feeling lonely and abandoned.

I was having a hard time helping Sharon through it all until suddenly early Christmas Eve morning, I was awakened by an unusual voice. "Susan, I need your help."

Was I dreaming or was I awake? Either way, standing in front of me in the dim light was Sharon’s beloved father-in law who had died several months before. "Susan, I need you to do something special for me. I want you to find a Jewish star to give to Sharon for Christmas. It needs to be old and silvery like me," he chuckled, "but alive and sparkly like her. Please wrap it beautifully, as I know you will, and attach this note: "Merry Christmas from Lou. I love you dearly, Sharon, now and always and I am grateful for the openness to Judaism you showed our family so I want you to have this Jewish Star." I was startled by this extraordinary visit and grateful that I had met him shortly before he died.

I was eager to do this favor for Lou, but I had no idea how I would find the old silver, sparkly Jewish star he had described… and do it on Christmas Eve! Wide awake, I quickly got dressed and started rushing around getting everything ready for tomorrow’s family celebration at my home until an electric-charged feeling alerted me to head for a consignment shop a few blocks away. The sensation was so urgent that I immediately put aside my tasks and got in my car.

The shop sold used clothing so it seemed like a long shot, but I was way past thinking logically at this point! When I got there, I walked around the shop several times slowly remembering Lou’s description, looking up, down and around until I finally saw exactly what Lou had described—a silver marquisette Jewish star—in a glass case almost completely buried under a pile of old newspapers. "I want to see that piece! I think it’s exactly what I’m looking for.” The owner took it out and told me about the young woman who’d left it there the day before. With my brain pounding, I quickly paid, asked for a box, and headed home to finish my Christmas preparations… making fresh cranberry-pear sauce, mashing sweet potatoes, prepping vegetables, thawing turkey and making pies.

On Christmas morning when everyone had arrived, I told the kids to tell their parents to sit down in the living room so they could start opening their stockings and presents. As the kids tore the wrappings off their gifts, Sharon sat quietly until I pointed out “a small box under the tree with your name on it.” Earlier I had whispered to everyone that there was a surprise present (shhh!) for Sharon so the room fell silent in anticipation. With a stunned but delighted look, Sharon quickly walked over and picked it up. Before she opened it, I asked her to read the note out loud for all of us. With tears in her eyes, Sharon listened as I told everyone about Lou’s early morning visit and the words of love and gratitude he wanted me to give her.

In the months that followed, whenever the pain of Sharon’s disrupted life overtook her and the unclarity of her future overwhelmed her, she held Lou's star to her heart and no longer felt alone. She knew somewhere, in another realm, the man she considered “her true father” was still with her.

Are energies in other realms able to reach out to us? Lou's present that year was the answer to that question. Yes, they can. And they still love us dearly.

(c) Susan Ford Collins. For permission to use this article, email

* For more on Self-Confidence, read Skill 1 in The Joy of Success and Our Children Are Watching.

THE TECHNOLOGY of SUCCESS Book Series… compact, concise and powerful…

the perfect toolbox for today’s “always-on” global world.

$14.95 paperback$3.99 eBook

When Your Success File is Full, You Feel Success-Full

By Susan Ford Collins

While I was shadowing highly successful people (HSPs) for more than 20 years, I discovered they were using 10 Success Skills consistently. The first and most important is Success Filing.

HSPs made time each day to acknowledge themselves for what they were accomplishing, time to build their Self-Confidence (their faith in themselves, in their ability to change their lives and world) so they didn’t have to rely on others to praise or agree with them… so they didn't need Other-Confidence.

Most HSPs Success Filed once a day. Others filed more often. Some wrote their successes on paper. Others  created a Success File on their computer or cell phone. Some simply wrote them in memory. HSPs told me they had been Success Filing for years and they were surprised to realize other people didn't do it!

Success Filing is the key to building Self-Confidence, the confidence you need to lead yourself and others through the periods of doubt, confusion and disagreement that are a inevitable part of creating anything new, anything disagreed with, anything impossible. (Keep in mind, impossible probably just means it hasn't been done before, by you or anyone else… like electricity, cell phones or! Jeff Bezos left his job, sold everything he owned and moved his family across the country to start Some people thought he was crazy. Yeah, crazy like a foxy creator!)

Success Filing will give you the Self-Confidence you need to start dreaming again, not stingy, little, "been there and done that" dreams, but big, juicy, exciting dreams like those you had as a child, dreams that wake you up in the night excited, and propel you out of bed eager for your day.

How, and when, to Success File

Pick a time of day that works for you—in a car or train, at dinnertime or bedtime. When and where you Success File is up to you. Who you Success File with is up to you too. (Make sure that person is a Codreamer!) What’s important is regularity. Build the habit. Do it every day!

Rewind your "inner recording" to when you woke up, when you started thinking and doing, and ask yourself this question: What successes did I have today?

But wait! To Success File skillfully… to get the greatest benefit… you need to be clear about what success is, and it isn’t. And never will. (* When I coach people one to one, I start each session by Success Filing to accelerate the growth of this essential habit. And to clarify how to apply it in their lives, and their children's lives.)

Some people mistakenly Failure File at the end of the day, thinking about what they didn't do, couldn't do, what they don't want to happen. Affirming that things never turn out for them. But they can.

What is success… really? How are you defining it?

One of my most cherished memories is of Marjorie, an elegant, slightly built, sixty-something woman who attended one of my early seminars. She had been sitting quietly listening to a hundred or so people sharing their successes when she abruptly raised her hand and stood up. With tears streaming down her face, she blurted out, "You've all had lots of successes, but I've never had any. I was never an A student, I’ve never had a job, I’ve never made money or won prizes or earned bonuses or plaques." Then she sobbed openly.

As I asked questions to discover more about Marjorie's life, she told us she had raised six highly successful children... teachers, lawyers, writers, even an inventor. And her children were raising successful families as well. Marjorie happily listed her children and grandchildren’s prizes and achievements, but she didn't see how their accomplishments had any relevance to her. All her life she had felt like a failure. In fact, that was the reason she was attending my seminar: Her HSP kids had sent her!

During breaks I watched to see how Marjorie was doing and saw her in the hall with people all around her talking and sharing. They were relating to Marjorie’s story, to her lifelong struggle to feel confident and successful. The next day was the same and the next. Finally on the last day of the seminar Marjorie raised her hand again. This time she stood up proudly and spoke, "I want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. I came here a failure. But I leave here a success. My new thinking about success has changed my life forever!"

Here’s what Marjorie learned in my seminar.

Success has three essential parts…
1- Success is Completion

Success is being able to complete what you have in mind. Getting up early. Lacing your sneakers and running your route. Emptying the trash. Eating a healthy breakfast. Calling your child's spelling words. Getting gas in your car. Returning phone calls. Completing items on your to do list. Following through with salad for lunch instead of your usual pasta. Speaking out about a concern you have with a project or timeframe. Stopping to pick up groceries and dry cleaning on the way home. Reading your child the story you promised. Sharing your day with your mate.

Without daily successes, your life falls apart. Your body gets out of shape. You run out of gas and arrive late for your meeting. Your clients abandon you and find others who can serve them more skillfully. Your boss constantly points out your lack of follow through. There's no food in the refrigerator. Your trash is piling up. There's no clean underwear in the drawer. Your electricity is turned off. Your car isn't running right. Your child is upset and insecure, hostile and acting out.

Without daily successes your Self-Confidence falls apart too, because completions like these are what the life experience is all about. Long term goals are realized in tiny daily steps. Long term relationships are enjoyed in daily conversations. Long term careers are the result of day to day completions. Long term dreams come true because you take steps each day with those dreams clearly in mind.

Marjorie, you are indeed successful... Highly Successful in fact! Lifelong parenting, like yours, requires years and years of daily completions… whether you feel like doing them or not! Remember all those sleepless nights you spent taking care of sick kids, and all those times you had to help your teens do projects and assignments they'd left till the last minute?

2- Success is also Deletion

But defining success as only completion sets us up to be "productive robots" always needing to do more and have more. Higher scores, higher profits, more exciting sex and adventures. Faster cars, planes, bodies, lives. Bigger TVs or far smaller ones. Higher mountains to climb, deeper space to explore. Always desiring and aiming at but never there. Never satisfied. Never feeling Success-Full and whole.

Any skillful gardener will tell you that a healthy tree needs regular pruning. That's true of success too. Success is also cutting out, down or back. Like completions, deletions release energy—energy you’ve had tied up and unavailable for years—so you can begin using it to create the experiences you want. So you can enjoy a healthy, balanced, fulfilling life.

Deletion Successes include: Being able to eliminate old habits, outgrown ways of thinking and reacting that no longer work for you. Letting go of an outgrown relationship you’ve tried everything to improve. Or a well-paying job you’ve done too many times to enjoy. Success is quitting smoking, drugs, sugar, wheat, caffeine or whatever else you choose. Or it's rethinking your society-rewarded addiction to long hours, money and power.

Remember this: Each time you acknowledge that you complete or delete a creation cycle ( I want to... I do... I experience) a new quantum of energy is released for your use now.  

3- Success is Creation… and ultimately creating your own life

The most joyous part of success is also the most challenging. To stop looking back, to what others did and didn’t do and start looking ahead to creating what you want moment-to-moment. What do I want to eat today for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks? What kind of exercise would work best for my body? Do I want to go to that noon meeting or have lunch with my friend? Do I want to stop to handle this phone call now or respond to a message later? Do I have the time and energy to take on a new project, or do I want to tell its creator, No I can't do it now? Do I want to go out to dinner with friends or stay home to rebalance? To plan and dream my life?

The new parent, new manager dilemma

New mothers (and fathers) face a success crisis at the birth of their child. Suddenly, instead of enjoying the successes they’re used to... getting up and exercising, taking a shower, heading to work, staying late if they need to, going out in the evening—they are at a loss for success as they’ve known it. Sleep deprived, shower deprived, independence deprived, or home on maternity leave, they are hard pressed to Success File. After a few weeks, they feel down not just because of hormonal changes but because of success changes as well.

As parents we need to realize that what we can include in our Success Files has multiplied. Not only can we file all the new successes we are having as parents—preparing food, changing diapers, giving baths, smiling and cooing back, making our baby feel safe and acknowledged, making our child’s needs a higher priority than our own. But we can also file all the successes our child is having—the first time she grips our hand with those tiny, perfectly formed fingers; the first time he looks us straight in the eye and smiles knowingly; the first time she sits up or crawls or walks or rides a bike or sings or reads, or does any of these activities a little better; the first time he sleeps without a pacifier, rides without training wheels, or crosses a street without holding your hand.

Yes, as parents, our children’s successes are our successes too. But ultimately, our greatest successes will be supporting our children as they differentiate between our ideas about success, their society’s ideas, and their own. Our greatest successes will be living and modeling the skills they will need to lead their own lives.

Top producers experience a similar success crisis when they step up into management. Suddenly the criterion for their success changes from what they are able to do all by themselves… to what everyone they are managing is able to do. Suddenly there is the opportunity to jump from satisfaction, which comes as a result of our own efforts, to fulfillment, “to realize all one's potentialities as a person” (New Webster’s Dictionary) which comes as the result of our leadership.

We humans are like seeds that produce plants that produce seeds that produce hundreds and thousands and millions and billions of plants and seeds more. Make sure you file not just your successes but the successes of all those you lead at home, at school, at work, in your community and world. ... including those that may appear to threaten your current view of the world. The very ideas that could transform your life, our children's lives and their children's lives...!

How successful do you feel? That depends on two essential things: How you define success and how willing you are to make time to Success File. Success is not just aimed at or desired. Success is feeling satisfied and fulfilled by what you choose to do, and be, on a daily basis.

Marjorie, my dear, creating a successful family requires millions and even billions of daily completions, deletions and creations. So now that you know, you can feel as Highly Success-Full as your kids do!


When your Success File is low, you feel dependent and needy.
When your Success File is full, you feel Success-Full and confident...
ready and able to lead your life, your way.

(c) Susan Ford Collins. For permission to use this article, email

* For more on the 1st Success Skill, read The Joy of Success and Our Children Are Watching.

THE TECHNOLOGY of SUCCESS Book Series… compact, concise and powerful…
the perfect toolbox for today’s “always-on” global world.

$14.95 paperback  $3.99 eBook or susanfordcollins *at* msn *dot* com

Your Working Life: Caroline Dowd-Higgins interviews Susan Ford Collins

Success Quiz: Are You Using All 10 Success Skills… At the Right Time?

By Susan Ford Collins

Most people complain about not having enough time, but the truth is most of us spend time doing things that don’t really matter to our success. What does?

Take a few minutes to complete this Success Quiz. Then I will share with you how Highly Successful People (HSPs) answered these questions…

1. How often do you acknowledge yourself for what you accomplish?
Circle one:   daily          weekly              monthly            annually            

2. How often do you fall asleep thinking about what you didn’t get done or you’re afraid might happen?
Circle one:   rarely        sometimes        frequently

3. Are you able to maintain your confidence when obstacles and failures confront you?
Circle one:   rarely   sometimes        frequently

4. Do you pride yourself on doing “more-better-faster”?
Circle one:   rarely        sometimes        frequently

5. Do you make time to learn the basics of new skills before you start using them?
Circle one:   rarely        sometimes        frequently

6. Can you stand up in a meeting and say you don’t agree?
Circle one:   yes           no

7. How often do you push so hard that you can’t slow down to rest?
Circle one:   rarely        sometimes        frequently

8. Do you share your dreams with others or keep them to yourself?
Circle one:   rarely        sometimes        frequently

9. Do you spell out the details of outcomes you delegate?
Circle one:   rarely        sometimes        frequently

10. Would you rather ask an expert for input or figure it out yourself?
Circle one:   ask expert                   figure out

11. Do you need to know how you’ll reach your goal before you take action?
Circle one:   yes           no

12. Can you comfortably move into the unknown when you have a clear outcome in mind?
Circle one:   yes           no 

13. Do methods and solutions come to you out of the blue?
Circle one:   rarely        sometimes        frequently

14. When you are stressed, do you spend time away from the task?
Circle one:   rarely        sometimes        frequently

So now let’s compare your answers with theirs…

1. HSPs make time each day to acknowledge themselves for the successes they’re having. But the successes they have in mind aren’t just the usual ones. For them, success goes beyond finishing “business to dos.” It includes things that keep their lives in balance… eating a good breakfast, exercising, spending time with family and friends, buying gas, dropping off dry cleaning and remembering to pick it up. Most people don’t acknowledge themselves for completing things like these, but what happens to your productivity when you leave them undone? For HSPs, success also means saying NO to actions that violate their values and dreams. Deletion Successes can be the most important ones of all! And how about acknowledging yourself for your creative ideas... even if no one agrees they're possible yet!

2. People who “succeed big” know that the last few minutes of their day are most important. Your brain is in the Alpha State so it’s the perfect time to think about what you want tomorrow and long term. And the worst time to beat yourself up for oversights and failures. As you fall asleep, plan how you’ll make corrections instead. Remember: What you think is what you get, like it or not… so focus on what you do want instead of what you don’t want. That tiny change in focus will enhance your ability to move your life and career ahead!

3. If you are Success Filing—that is, acknowledging your successes each day—you will have the confidence to continue to move ahead when everything goes wrong, when obstacles besiege you and everyone disappoints you. Remember: When your Success File is full, you feel Success-Full. When it is low, you feel dependent and needy… at the mercy of others’ opinions and in need of their agreement. HSPs are willing to put off low priority items, but making time to Success File each day is a number one item for them.

4. Constantly priding yourself on doing more-better-faster lands you in The Success Trap, constantly having to work longer and harder to raise the quantity-quality bar higher and higher. It can also land you in the hospital. For staying power, you need to acknowledge yourself for slowing down to learn new skills and technologies, for allowing your mind to wander into future possibilities and solutions. In today's business environment, creativity and innovation are becoming more important than productivity.

5. It is essential to slow down to a stop from time to time. Why? Because unless you do, you won’t be able to gear your mind back to learn new skills and technologies and so you'll slip behind. HSPs schedule time to learn the most efficient tools and approaches available, rather than slogging along with equipment, programs and procedures that weren’t designed to do what you need to do now. Make time to master the basics before you attempt to gear up into 2nd Gear production. Otherwise the mistakes you make will trip up you and your teammates and take more time in the end.

6. To stay ahead, you have to be able to disagree with the pack. For some people, getting others’ agreement is more important than getting their result. Not so for HSPs. They can stand up, disagree and then so powerfully communicate the details of the scenario they see, hear and feel, that other people take on their vision and team up with them. They lead the way by inspiration, not perspiration.

7. When you push so long and hard that you can’t slow down to rest, you’ve gone over the edge. HSPs use this over-the-edge feeling to signal when they’re overusing the 2nd Gear of Success. Yes, success has three gear-like phases and unless you know when to shift, unless you can use all three gears as circumstances require, you’ll burn out your transmission… and that means your body. And the time lost will set your business way back. Read The Joy of Success and Success Has Gears for specifics on the Three Gears of Success and Leadership.

8. Highly successful business people share their dreams with Codreamers, people who hold onto the details of their dream with them. People who contribute additional perspectives and information. People they can call when they come out of a meeting so devastated that their dream seems to have literally been erased from their minds. One phone call to a Codreamer can get you back on track. Who are your Codreamers? And who are your Codreaders (the ones who always tell you reasons why not?) Make sure you know the difference!

9. Going so fast that you can’t gear down to spell out the details of a task you’re delegating may seem expedient at the time. But in the long run it could ruin your business. To get the support you need from coworkers, customers and vendors, you need to share precisely what you have in mind. When you provide a sketch, others will automatically fill in the details they have in mind instead of the ones you have in mind. Beware of Sensory Fill-in! Who is responsible for the errors that result? You are of course.

10. Would you rather ask an expert or figure it out yourself? Well, that all depends. If you're climbing up the learning curve, then asking experts and following their directions is what works best… with one exception. When you know next to nothing about something, using a salesperson as your expert may set you up to buy what’s best for him or her, but not for you. Consult an independent expert before you make a major purchase. On the other hand, depending on tried-and-true experts when you are creating something new, may take you back to how it’s already been done. Listen to their input but, as its creator, know that you are the ultimate expert when it comes to your dream!

11. When we were kids, we were rewarded for doing things by the book. But as the head of your own business or life, that simply won’t work. These days, having-to-know-how upfront will hold you back. What you need is a thoroughly detailed outcome… then the appropriate method will find you. Powerful life changes, inventions and new businesses frequently start out as hunches or middle of the night Ahas! Most leaders I interview tell me they rarely know how, but they always know what.

12. The ability to venture into the unknown is essential today. The marketplace is changing so rapidly that top CEOs say they don’t have a ten-year plan or a five-minute plan either. Flexibility is key. Can you think on your feet? Can you seize an opportunity that others fail to notice? Can you abandon your ten-year-ago or five-minute-ago action plan and take the next step to your dream when it presents itself?

13. For years I interviewed inventors and creators and over and over I heard the same comments. I woke up in the night with a clear image in my head or a voice telling me what to do. Or I was taking a shower when my idea hit me. Jeff Bezos, creator of, was so sure about his hunch that he packed up everything he owned and moved across the country in pursuit of his dream. And we all know he found it!

14. When you’re stuck, instead of sitting and staring at your computer screen, get up and do something else. Go for a walk or switch to a project that requires another mindset altogether. HSPs constantly tell me their most creative solutions come when they walk away from their desk and WHAM! The solution comes out of the blue… or out of the right brain. They say they strategically use the Alpha State to “program in” their problem at night and they trust their mind to deliver a solution when they first wake up. And it does.

(c) Susan Ford Collins. For permission to use this article, email

* For more on the 10 Success and Leadership Skills, read The Joy of Success, Success Has Gears or Our Children Are Watching.

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Your Working Life: Caroline Dowd-Higgins interviews Susan Ford Collins