The College Admission Process is Underway… and Your Kids Are in the Gap!

By Susan Ford Collins

Your seniors are half way through their last year of high school and the college-selection | student-selection process is racing ahead. Applications and essays are in, but chances are the tension is higher than ever! And if your kids are juniors now, you’ll be going through it next year.

First-round college choices have already replied. If the answer was yes and it was your senior’s top choice, hurrah! But many students are caught in the emotionally straining and self-confidence draining gap between being turned down or deferred… and finding out which college wants them. A rough period for students, and for parents! What will the next four years really cost… tuition plus expenses? And how will you pay for it?

Your senior, who was probably diligent last semester, may have come down with a serious case of “senor-itis”… that energy-draining disorder that sets in after three and a half years of long hours, hard work and after school sports when the accelerator was constantly pressed to the floor. But now it isn’t.

What to do now: Two all-important steps

Here are two things I learned by studying Highly Successful People for 20 years, and teaching The Technology of Success in major corporations, schools and universities for 20 more! Two things you need to do with your kids now. Or support them in doing on their own.

Step One: Make time to Success File

There is still time left for you and your kids to learn and practice the First Success Skill: How to “Build and Rebuild Your Self-Confidence”… a skill your kids will need more and more in the years ahead. First you will need to create a file… an old-school manila folder or, better yet, a computer file or One Note… bottom line, a place where you can permanently store your kids’ successes and they can continue adding them on a daily basis. A place they can quickly access when the going gets tough… and from time to time it will, like it or not.

But first, here is a key question: What is success?

Most people have never asked themselves what success is. And most students and teachers haven’t either. But this is a question you and your kids need to consider before they enter college and have to maintain their self-confidence and enthusiasm, courage and determination without you there beside them. Or when a phone call can’t reach you.

Success has three essential parts. Colleges want to know that you have the ability to produce all three kinds.

1-Success is Completion: Yes, this is the part of success most people know about… accomplishment. Starting, doing and finishing what we set out to do, and others set out for us to do. Colleges predict future success by looking at past success. They want to know you’re a “completer” not just a starter, a contributor not just a taker, so it’s smart to start filing times when you completed something most kids would have given up on. Or a painful experience you turned from a loss to a win. Times when you helped someone else win. Or when you led others at school, sports, in your family and community.

2- Success is also Deletion: Sometimes success is not doing, knowing when to let go of what no longer works for you: old habits, methods and relationships, foods that make you revved up and racy or stuffed up and sleepy. Friendships that encourage you to wander off track. Colleges want to hear about your Deletion Successes because they tell them about your character, your ability to make vital choices and avoid needless injuries, detours and mistakes. What have you let go of that could have ruined your life or another’s, but didn’t? Some deletion successes may seem too private to share but revealing them in a positive light in essays and interviews shows colleges that you’re willing to share experiences that can help you and others in the future.

3- Success is Creation: Success is being able to go beyond what you’ve been taught, beyond the methods already in use. Success is coming up with new ways. In the world you are entering, it’s no longer enough to succeed by only by completing and deleting, you also need to be creators and leaders. Your ability to create and innovate is what colleges and future employers will be looking for, first and foremost.

Do you know who Jeff Bezos is? Have you ever ordered anything from Amazon.com? Then you know Jeff Bezos; he’s Amazon’s creator. Do you know Blake Ross? Have you ever used Firefox? Then you know Blake Ross. He co-founded Firefox at 16 and appeared on the cover of Wired Magazine at 19. Then he became Director for Product at Facebook. More and more top innovators start their life work at your age! Who else can you think of? How about in fashion, music and dance? Do you know Julianne Hough? She is a highly successful young TV and movie star who is asking Miriam Webster to redefine success in their dictionary so kids won’t get caught working longer and harder and never feeling satisfied the way she did. This is an important topic I will be giving a keynote on at the Redefining Success Conference at Smith College in April.

Two Laws of Success Filing you need to remember now and forever:

*** When your Success File is full, you feel Success-Full. When you Success File is low, you feel dependent and needy. And you tend to lie around, eat, drink and procrastinate too! So fill up that file now.

*** Success is your past gives you confidence in your future. And, success in your application, essays and interviews gives colleges and future employers the confidence they will need to tell you YES! And to stick with you in the years ahead.

STEP TWO: Dream Your Future Now… in full sound and color

Your parents’ world of science fiction will be your reality! Here’s what’s already underway… Bioprinted ears (in 3 years) and bioficial hearts (in 10) made from extra fat from around the recipient’s own stomach so rejection will be avoided. What will you create that will change the world? What is your passion and mission?

Prelive your future success… like skiers do who are about to successfully head downhill, or golfers about to make a crucial putt, or exams you are about to pass with flying colors, or jobs you will want and earn. Start imagining and filing future successes as well (yes, add them to your Success File past and future now. What do you want to do and be in your life?

Start creating your life like a movie producer would… with that much color and clarity, that much sound and emotion, all the completions, deletions and creations that will make life worth dreaming and living. And inspire others to succeed too.

c) Susan Ford Collins. For permission to use this article, email susanfordcollins@msn.com

* 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


Home-Based Professionals Need to Understand More About Success Than Their Big Corporate Counterparts!

By Susan Ford Collins

Working from home gives you the freedom to forgo exhausting commutes or be there for your kids, but it also means you need to understand success and leadership in more detail. Everyone needs this information today, but most of all you!

Success has gears

As you drive, you use gears to move ahead, slowly at first then more rapidly and easily. As you succeed, you use gears too. No gear is better than any other; all are essential. Each has its own timing and use. Like a skillful driver, you must shift up and down as circumstances require.

The 1st Gear of Success is for starting and restarting, for becoming effective at new skills and technologies. 1st Gear is signaled by familiar* keywords:can, can’t, safe, dangerous, right, wrong, good, bad, should, shouldn’t, have to, must, always, never, possible, impossible, rules, test, retest, certify and permission. (* Keep in mind, the word familiar comes from the word family.)

The 2nd Gear of Success is for producing and competing, for deciding which 1st Gear rules you can eliminate to become more efficient. Keywords include: more, better, faster, cheaper, quantity, quality, win, lose, produce, compete, deadlines, irritation, longer hours, frayed nerves, missed deadlines, higher stress, injury, illness and burnout. The 2nd Gear of success is for winning new clients and satisfying those you have, for making more money by getting more work done… on time at top quality. Most business people spend most of their time in 2nd Gear, but regularly gearing up to 3rd Gear is essential in today’s highly competitive, rapidly changing world.

The 3rd Gear of Success is for creating and innovating, moving past what used to be productive to what will work now, and in the future. For trusting hunches and embracing serendipity so you can discover new approaches your customers may not know they need yet, but they do. Keywords include: aha, realize, breakthrough, discover, create, invent, innovate, and startup.

Leadership has gears too

Each Success Gear has a corresponding Leadership Gear designed to meet the needs of individuals and teams using that gear.

Your greatest challenge as a home-based business is to be able to shift out of the gear you’re in… into the gear someone else needs you to be in…your customer, your provider, your spouse or your child. If you can’t shift immediately, you need to make an agreement to shift in a few minutes or at the end of the day. And then keep your agreement so they’ll believe you next time and they make, and keep, similar agreements with you!

When you lead in 1st Gear, you supervise new learners, building and rebuilding their self-confidence and enthusiasm, monitoring progress and intervening quickly to avoid injuries and setbacks. You are responsible for deciding when learners are ready for the increased decision-making and quality/quantity standards of 2nd Gear. (A quick reminder: Next time you meet with a new customer or provider, be sure to shift into 1st Gear and allow yourself plenty of time to learn about their outcomes and requirements, and share yours in detail.)

If you’re home-based, you need to remember that children are in 1st Gear most of the time. So if they’re around, you’ll be starting and restarting, supervising and supporting a lot! Sometimes their needs will conflict with your customers’ needs, especially when your kids are sick or on vacation from school and you’re pressing to meet deadlines. Or when someone you count on can’t come as expected. “Oh no, I don’t know that program! Where is the manual?” Even though slowing down from 80 mph to 15 is hard, once a solution is found, you’ll be ready to speed up again.

When you lead in 2nd Gear, even though you’re not physically working beside them, you are still in charge, managing their performance… in advertising, social media, design or accounting… via weekly reports, phone calls, emails and texts. You manage from more distance, explaining the job, answering questions, and providing timely feedback. (Be sure that you teach your collaborators how to use these gears too so they will know when they need to gear up or down! And ask you to do the same.)

When you lead in 3rd Gear, you are responsible for nurturing creative ideas, yours and others’. For finding the support and expertise needed to bring “out of the box” thinking into reality and profitability. And for holding dreams when setbacks wipe them out temporarily. (Remember, your customers want you to help fulfill their dreams so they especially appreciate when you remember details they forgot, or add features they have never even considered… creating a new sale and a delighted customer.)

It’s time to break a business-destroying habit… waiting for permission!

What keeps most people from gearing up to creativity is an old habit. As you grew up, you had to get permission to shift from 1st Gear control to 2nd Gear independence. But the shift from 2nd to 3rd is one you must make yourself… in your own timing and according to your own instincts. You don’t have to ask for anyone’s permission. Simply stay alert and gear up when a great idea presents itself out of the blue!

Most business people spend most of their time accelerating in 2nd and most of their coworkers… hearts pounding, nerves jangling… race along with them. But this overuse eats up the time you need to gear up to create new approaches (3rd) or down to learn and relearn skills, technologies and information (1st). Bottom line: Spending too much time in 2nd Gear makes business development and people development, including yours, next to impossible.

Who do you know who is constantly doing more, better, faster, pushing longer and harder to earn promotions and bonuses… sometimes making productivity and competition more important than future thinking, creativity and growth? Who do you work with who needs to gear down to relearn and restart (keywords: missed deadlines, stress, frustration, illness and burnout). Or gear up to create a new dream?

When financial push comes to shove, instead of listening to and supporting creative ideas, do you sometimes subtly, or not so subtly, incent yourself and others to stay “in the box”? Do you over-reward or disproportionately bonus more-better-faster behaviors? Or under-reward the learning and relearning your business and life needs? What support systems and incentives do you have in place for nurturing new approaches that could bring you, and your customers, greater success in the future?

Home-based business professionals need to understand more about success and leadership than your Big Corporate Counterparts do! Gear Flexibility is vital for those of you who have to be CEO, head of sales, admin, advertising, marketing, training and maintenance… all in one day! And who work with kids nearby, requiring you to stop, listen, get stuff, and refocus on the task at hand in between. So, especially for you, using the right Gear of Success and Leadership at the right time is essential for your sanity and future success as well!


Susan Ford Collins is a sought-after speaker, trainer, and the founder of The Technology of Success. She began her career as a young researcher at the National Institutes of Health with a radical idea: to focus her research on healthy, highly successful people (HSPs) rather than dysfunctional ones. Her Technology of Success book series includes: The Joy of Success: 10 Essential Skills for Getting the Success You Want, Success Has Gears: Using the Right Gear at the Right Time in Business and Life, and Our Children Are Watching: 10 Skills for Leading the Next Generation to Success. Find Susan Ford Collins on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and www.technologyofsuccess.com.

Heads up CEOs… Success and Leadership Have Gears!

By Susan Ford Collins

Are you and your organization using the right one at the right time?

As we drive, we use gears to move us ahead, slowly then more rapidly and easily. As we succeed, we use gears too.

Success has three gears

1st Gear is for starting and restarting, for becoming effective at new skills and technologies. Keywords: always/never, can/can’t, safe/dangerous, possible/impossible, right/wrong, good/bad, should/shouldn’t, have to and must.

2nd Gear is for accelerating productivity and honing your competitive edge, for deleting startup rules and devising shortcuts. Keywords: more-better-faster-cheaper, quantity/quality, win/lose, produce/compete, longer hours/higher stress, burnout and injury.

3rd Gear is for moving beyond the previously productive; for creating and innovating, inventing new products and services. Keywords: aha, discover, create, invent, innovate and start up.

Each success gear has a corresponding leadership gear

When you’re leading in 1st Gear, you are responsible for supervising, or having others supervise, new learners, for developing new skills, building self-confidence and enthusiasm. We need to supervise closely and intervene quickly to turn around setbacks and rebuild self-confidence. To assess and certify their readiness for 2nd Gear.

When we’re leading in 2nd Gear, we need to manage from more distance, describing specifically what we want them to accomplish and providing regular and accurate appraisals. Even though we’re not always with them, we are still in charge, managing by numbers, charts and graphs.

When we’re leading in 3rd Gear, we need to support their creative ideas, help them find expertise and resources to build a powerful start up team. When setbacks wipe out their dreams temporarily, we need to hold their dreams with them, and even for them, until they get regain their vision and enthusiasm.

How are “your gear-habits” impacting your organization?

Which people on your team prefer to operate in 1st Gear? Which ones prefer doing more-better-faster, working long and hard to earn promotions and bonuses? Which ones are generating new ideas and a? Who is ready to gear up, and who needs to gear down to relearn, or start elsewhere?

When financial “push comes to shove”, instead of leading individuals to creativity and innovation, do you sometimes incent employees to stay in one gear or another? Do you over-reward or disproportionately bonus more-better-faster 2nd gear behaviors? And under-reward the 1st gear learning and relearning your company needs to keep up? What incentives and support systems does your organization have in place for nourishing the new ideas and approaches you need for success in the future?

You Learn More From “Failure” than “Success”… or Do You?

By Susan Ford Collins

You’ve probably heard the old saying… you learn more from your failures than your successes. Well maybe, but not necessarily. Let me explain why.

If you fail to get the result you want and let that experience slip back into memory AS IS, your brain will unconsciously recall that upset and disappointment whenever you’re in similar situations creating dread and hesitation in the future. You know the feeling… Oh no. Not again. Procrastination, avoidance and, like it or not, repetition. That’s just the way our brain works.

Despite what “they” say, you don’t learn more from failures… you actually learn less… because unconsciously thereafter you avoid opportunities to learn more and gain more experience. But if you Update that memory, by thinking through what you learned, you can learn more.

Here’s How to Update a Failure… 3 Essential Steps

1-Imagine watching that failure scene again. (If was really painful, imagine viewing it on a movie screen while you sit in the audience. This will give you perspective and disconnect old painful emotions!

2-This time picture that situation working out. What would it take to be a success instead? How could you change what you thought and did, what others thought and did? What expertise could you use to switch that experience from negative to positive? This process of mentally transforming a failure into a success is called Updating… an essential skill you need to know, and use, to be fearless enough to change a product, system and our world. To be creative and innovative.

3-Once you have the details of that Updated success scene clearly in mind, step into it and experience it… see it, hear it, taste it, smell it… and by all means feel the pleasure of it working out. In this step, you do want to feel the emotion, so enjoy it and savor it. Memorize this Updated version so your brain can access it the next time you go into in a similar situation. So you will feel confident.

Why does Updating work?

To our brains, thoroughly detailed virtual experiences work the same way real experiences do… and even better. This was demonstrated years ago by Dr. Maxwell Maltz who had two teams practice basketball. He told one team to go on the court and practice as usual. Maltz had the other team mentally/virtually shoot basketballs and imagine making every shot. A perfect performance! Which team did better the next time they played? You guessed it. The team that pre-experienced doing it perfectly.

Bottom line, to learn more, increase the time you spend Updating past failures (no matter how long ago they occurred!) so you can be far more successful in your future. And far more confident and enthusiastic now.

(c) Susan Ford Collins. For permission to use this article, email susanfordcollins@msn.com.


*For more on Updating, read Skill Six in The Joy of Success or 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

www.technologyofsuccess.com or susanfordcollins *at* msn *dot* com


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


10 Responsibilites of a Highly Successful Leader

By Susan Ford Collins

As leaders, what is expected of us at work, at home and in our communities? What do those who follow us need so they can become successful... effective, efficient and ultimately creative? So they can bring forth the next generation of ideas, systems, inventions and innovations?

Here is a deep and sensitive look at what others really want from us. Isn't this exactly what you want from your leaders now... or you wish they had given you in the past?

A Declaration of Leadership... 10 Responsibilities of a Highly Successful Leader

1- We are responsible for being trustworthy leaders, for allowing those who follow us to have confidence in us until we can help them build confidence in themselves... self-confidence. We are responsible for protecting and educating them until they can effectively take over these responsibilities themselves.

2- We need to recognize when those we lead are ready for independence when they need more freedom, less control and supervision. We must sense when to shift from acknowledging compliance to our rules and regulations, to acknowledging their productivity and competition, their creativity and innovation.

3- We need to support them as they begin dreaming their own dreams—pre-experiencing desired outcomes along with them or suggesting others who can assist them in discovering appropriate first steps.

4-We need to communicate patiently and skillfully, making it safe for our followers to share their evolving ideas, likes and dislikes, choices and preferences—handling their “newborn dreams like tiny precious butterflies.” By respecting their choices now, we encourage them to respect others’ choices when they will lead later.

5- We need to provide expertise until we can find other experts to assist them, or they learn how to select and vet experts on their own.

6- We are responsible for updating their fears and disappointments, or finding experts who can. We need to regularly update old rules and limits that we set for them, helping expand their Safe Zone and contract their Danger Zone. And opening the door to The Potential Zone, the zone where they will create our future as well.

7- We need to hold their outcomes with them, especially when they don't have the foggiest idea what to do next, when they get discouraged or fall into the depths of impossibility. We need to cheer them all the way to completion and greater creativity.

8- We are responsible for shielding their dreams from the cold drafts and scorching heat of others’ disagreement and overpowering statements of impossibility. We need to say things to them that they will need to say to themselves. Yes, you can. (Yes, I can.) You need to think of another way. )I need to think of another way.) Let's hold this outcome together until we can find other *Co-dreamers... people who will keep the details of your dream alive in their hearts and minds with you, people you can talk to when upsets and setbacks make you temporarily forget where you are headed. People who can help re-install the details of your dream destination and re-energize you as you set out again.

9- We are responsible for turning negative thoughts into positives ones by asking switching questions. If you don't want this, what do you want? If this doesn't work, what might work instead? If you don't know this, who might know it? Even when we disagree with their outcome in the moment, we need to encourage them to keep asking for what they want, from us and from others. And we need to celebrate their success with them when they finally get there... to attend their product launches, award ceremonies, weddings and baby showers.

10- As leaders, we are responsible for maintaining our health and balance—monitoring our food and exercise, feeling the effect it is having on our health, on our moods and emotions, so those around us will learn how to maintain their health and balance too. We need to remember that we are leading by example 24/7. We need to be powerful inspiring, happy, healthy models.

And, we need to extend the same care and sensitivity to other leaders and followers with whom we work and live.

(c) Susan Ford Collins. For permission to use this article, email susanfordcollins@msn.com

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

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

The 10 Responsibilities of a Leader... a Parent or Grandparent

By Susan Ford Collins

As the stages of life advance, the stages of our responsiblities advance too. From taking care of ourselves, to taking care of our spouses and businesses, to most exciting and most challenging of all... taking care of our children and our children's children. What is expected of us then?

First, we are responsible for being trustworthy leaders, for allowing those who follow us to have confidence in us until we can help build their self-confidence. We are responsible for keeping them safe and educating them until they can take over these responsibilities themselves.

Second, we need to sense when those who follow us need more freedom, when they’re ready for more independence. We must sense when to shift from acknowledging compliance to our rules, to acknowledging their production and competition, their creativity and innovation. And teaching them how to acknowledge themselves.

Third, we need to assist our children as they begin dreaming their own  dreams—pre-experiencing desired outcomes with them and assisting them in finding appropriate methods for completing them.

Fourth, we need to communicate patiently and skillfully, making it safe for them to share likes and dislikes, choices and preferences—handling their “infant dreams like tiny precious butterflies.” By respecting their wishes now, we encourage them to respect others’ wishes in the future.

Fifth, we must provide the expertise they will need until we can find other experts to assist them, or they learn how to select experts on their own.

Sixth, we are responsible for updating their fears and disappointments, for learning how to do this ourselves or finding experts who can. We need to regularly update old rules and limits we’ve set for them, helping to expand their Safe Zone and contract their Danger Zone. Opening the door to The Potential Zone, the zone where they will create our future as well.

Seventh, we need to hold their outcomes with them, especially when they don't have the foggiest idea what to do next, when they get discouraged or fall into the depths of impossibility. We need to cheer them all the way to completion and greater self-confidence.

Eighth, we are responsible for shielding their dreams from the cold drafts and scorching heat of others’ disagreement. We need to say things they will need to say to themselves. Yes, you can.(Yes, I can.) You need to think of another way. (I need to think of another way.) Or, let's hold this dream together until we can find co-dreamers who will nurture it with us.

Ninth, we are responsible for switching negative thoughts to positive ones. I know you feel you can't, but I know you can. What do you really want? How will you feel when you've completed it? What difference will it make in your life, and others’ lives? Even when they’re frustrated or disappointed in us, we need to encourage them to keep asking for what they want from us, and from others.

Tenth, as leaders, we are responsible for maintaining our health and balance—monitoring our food and exercise and the effect it is having on us, on our moods and emotions, so they will know how to maintain their balance as well. We need to remember… we are leading by example 24/7.

And, of course, we need to extend the same care and sensitivity to our followers at work and in the world.

(c) Susan Ford Collins. For permission to use this article, email susanfordcollins@msn.com

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

www.technologyofsuccess.com or susanfordcollins *at* msn *dot* com


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

Becoming a Grandparent... a Hard to Believe Moment!

By Susan Ford Collins

Exhausted from a 14 hour day, I had been asleep for 15 minutes when a call from my daughter Cathy suddenly woke me up, "Mom, I think my water just broke."

Those words took me back to 31 years before. I had been baking cookies with one eye on late news, when a sudden gush of warm water rearranged our evening’s plans. Grabbing pre-packed bags, my husband and I immediately headed for the hospital and, in less than two hours, I was holding Cathy in my arms.

With that memory prodding me, I packed quickly and drove an hour and a half north to West Palm Beach, praying I would arrive there before the baby did, and rehearsing what I'd say if I was stopped by a state trooper.

But what happened to me didn't happen to Cathy. After two hours, anesthesiologist Dad-to-be Alan and I were still tossing and turning on lumpy cots in her room. At sunrise we took pictures of her sitting up in bed, ready and beautiful. But she wasn't in labor. The birth was 34 days early, so the doctors ran tests to determine her baby's maturity. Twelve hours later, the results were all positive. They would induce labor the next morning at six.

After 20 minutes on Pitocin, a printout of high spikes and low valleys confirmed that Cathy was in labor. Alan stood to her left, breathing through the pains with her. Her sister Margaret and I took turns on the right.

The pain increased and she needed anesthesia, but the anesthesia failed to work for this anesthesiologist’s wife… despite three painful attempts at correctly inserting the needle in her spine. My doctor-daughter Margaret and I winced as we watched her husband stand helplessly by observing a procedure, he had done successfully 200 times, go wrong on his wife. Having instantaneously assessed that jumping over the bed and jerking the needle out of that doctor's hand was illegal and inappropriate, he remained as calm as those circumstances allowed.

Cathy rose to the occasion. Focusing on her breathing, she managed herself masterfully for 12 grueling hours with only a minute between pains. As the baby’s head crowned, the obstetrician shouted, "Keep your eyes open!” On the next push, he helped Cathy reach down and deliver her own baby. At 5:47 p.m. Dylan's cone-shaped head and slippery supple body finally emerged, and Cathy pulled him up to her chest lovingly, gasping and sobbing as she glimpsed their new son for the first time. We all stood awed by the miracle of birth.

His waxy face looked exactly like Cathy's had when she was born—the same tiny nose, the same peachy complexion. But this baby was my daughter's, not mine. Our babies looked alike, but our deliveries were quite different. I had been taken off to labor alone, comforted only by a call button and overwhelming anesthesia. My husband paced the halls while my mother, recovering from electroshock therapy, sat limply by in the waiting room, knowing I was her daughter but not remembering my name.

As Cathy began to nurse her new baby, I reflected on the profound changes that had occurred in the generation between these births, changes in my life and my society. Today I can ask for what I want, and, even when I'm told No, I still hold my outcome. And I've long since learned how to avoid individuals who try to manipulate and control me—attempting to get their way by blocking mine.

But I hadn't known how to ask for what I wanted when I was Cathy's age, and even if I had, the hospital staff would have told me no. What I wanted didn't matter to them, bound by procedures, right ways and wrong ways, have tos and musts. So I simply did what I was told.

This birth was different. First and foremost, Cathy and Alan focused on their baby's safety and health. Second, they expected their staff to perform effectively and efficiently. Third, and most satisfying, Cathy and Alan had made choices. Dylan's birth was their creation. They had been preparing for months—visiting local hospitals to discover the one they wanted, interviewing obstetricians, pediatricians and delivery nurses to ensure their personalities would be compatible. Cathy had chosen a room with a sunrise view of the water.

It had never occurred to me to look at rooms when I delivered, to find which ones I liked and I didn't. So when Cathy asked me to walk through the halls to check out rooms with her, I was constrained by a certain residual compliance. I had taught her to make choices and she was comfortable doing it—even more comfortable than I was at times.

Cathy and Alan chose to leave the phone turned on during labor so friends could check on her progress. Nurses came as needed, doctors did too. There was no secrecy, no separation or aloneness. Anyone could hold her hand. Anyone could brush her hair, not just genetic family but family of heart. The entire birthing process took place in her room. Alan and I slept there the whole time. Dylan stayed there too, his tiny rolling glass-sided bed always within eyeshot. We bonded as a family in those precious first days.

I had reached a new level—The Grandparent Level. My leadership responsibilities had expanded again.

The Grandparent Level

My children are now asking me how to raise their child—how and when to feed him, when and how to bathe and pick him up. I am no longer just parenting, I am teaching them to parent.

Cathy and Alan are temporarily dependent on me, not knowing how to handle their screaming child in the night. Not knowing what to do when a fever spikes suddenly, or a rash erupts painfully. Their phone calls have increased. Their visits have increased. And my perceived value has increased as well. Oh how I wish I’d known about this stage when we were going through the rebellious and unappreciative teenage years. The years when I was viewed as "stupid and out of touch.” The years when my only value seemed to be paying their way.

Soon we will be teaching Dylan how to deal with new experiences—which ones are safe for him and which ones are dangerous, which things he can reach for and which ones he should draw back from. What’s possible and impossible for him, temporarily. We are installing his “basic life program.” And we’ll be responsible for updating it as he grows.

By the second week, I began noticing Cathy's resistance to my input. Her self-confidence was building and she was beginning to feel competent again. I was already backing off, remaining nearby in case she needed me. Even when there was nothing she needed, I was busy holding the vision of Cathy and Alan as successful parents and looking forward to Dylan's creations and inventions, to what he will teach us, to what he’ll contribute.

For the 10 Responsibilities of a Leader... a Parent or Grandparent, go to the Resources page or The 10 Responsibilities of a Leader... a Parent or Grandparent.

(c) Susan Ford Collins. For permission to use this article, email susanfordcollins@msn.com

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

www.technologyofsuccess.com or susanfordcollins *at* msn *dot* com


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

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 amazon.com! Jeff Bezos left his job, sold everything he owned and moved his family across the country to start amazon.com. 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 susanfordcollins@msn.com

* 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

www.technologyofsuccess.com 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 Amazon.com, 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 susanfordcollins@msn.com

* For more on the 10 Success and Leadership Skills, read The Joy of Success, Success Has Gears or 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

www.technologyofsuccess.com or susanfordcollins *at* msn *dot* com

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

The Rite of a Leader

The Manager Was Tied Up... Literally... Till He Learned To Lead

By Susan Ford Collins

It was time for a promotion and Jim was called to his manager's office for a chat. Bob smiled warmly as he congratulated Jim. "You've been successful doing your work so now I am going to promote you to leadership." But what followed next was unexpected. 

Bob pulled a sturdy rope from his top desk drawer and tied Jim’s arms together securely in front of him saying, "Every morning for the next week, I will tie your arms in front of you to remind you that your responsibilities have changed. To get ahead till now, you've relied on your doing. But from now on, you must learn how to rely on others' doing. You must rely on your team. You are becoming a leader.

If your team members don't know what to do, you are responsible for explaining it to them or finding others who can. If they don't have the skills they need, you are responsible for helping them develop those skills or find others who already have them. Whatever your people need, it is your job to provide it. From now on, you will be evaluated on your leadership results and how well you facilitate your team.

As a leader... your team's failures will be your failures;

your team's successes will be your successes;

your team's results will be your results;

your team's creativity will be your creativity. 

That first day was tough! It was busy and the rope clearly held Jim back. Oh how he wished Bob would untie it for an hour or two so he could do the job right and more quickly. But no such luck!

The Rite of a Leader was working! Now Jim could clearly see what Bob had already seen... he had "great doer skills" but "underdeveloped leadership skills." It was frustrating to have to explain in detail what he wanted his people to do. He knew how to do it himself, but he didn't know how to effectively teach it or coach it.

Jim started making changes in his thinking and communication. Day by day Jim's team successes were piling up. By Friday he realized that his successes were being multiplied, not just by hisdoing but by the doing of his whole team. Excited, Jim enthusiastically stepped into into his expandedpower as a leader.

We must each choose to "tie" ourselves to leadership, understanding that it no longer matters that we can do it all by ourselves." The challenge now is... can we do it all together? And how?

(c) Susan Ford Collins. For permission to use this article, email susanfordcollins@msn.com

* For more on the 10 Success and Leadership Skills as well as how and when to use them, read The Joy of Success, Our Children Are Watching or Success Has Gears.

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

The Little Boy in the Bathroom Story

By Susan Ford Collins

While I was doing a Technology of Success seminar for customer service supervisors at Florida Power & Light, a participant asked me about a problem he and his wife were having with their six-year-old son. They were concerned that he might have a learning problem. He just couldn't follow instructions. Tom felt the information I was teaching might be relevant. And it was.

"What exactly does your son do?” I asked.

"Well, every night he takes a shower and he does the same dumb things over and over. He leaves the shower curtain hanging outside the tub so water pours all over the floor. Then he leaves the towels in a pile sopping wet on the floor, and the soap floating in the tub till it melts into a thick, sticky goo. We go through a bar of soap every couple of days. And my wife hates scrubbing that soapy goo off the sides of the tub."

"And what exactly do you do when your son does all that?” I asked.

"Pretty much the same thing every time. I get mad and I yell: “I’ve told you a million times not to leave the shower curtain hanging out, not to leave the wet towels in a pile on the floor, not to leave the soap floating till it melts into a thick, sticky goo. Son, I can't believe you're so stupid. You must be slow. Then our son starts to cry and we send him to bed. What do you think, Susan?"

"Well, I have good news and bad news," I replied with a chuckle. "The good news is, based on what you just said, I see no reason to think your son has a learning problem. The bad news is... you and your wife are responsible for creating this problem!

Think about the instructions you're giving your son. He’s done exactly what you told him to do, if you take the not out of every sentence!” We all laughed and started talking honestly about where and when we were doing the same thing. I asked the group what they thought this father could do to turn the situation around. and developed a plan for what he could do that evening. The next morning we were eager to hear how it had gone.

"It was amazing," he said with a smile. "I told my son that I wanted to show him how to take care of the bathroom. I was sorry that I’d forgotten to teach him how to do it right in the first place, but I'd be happy to correct that now… if he'd let me. I know you’ll be able to do the job perfectly from now on. And hesitantly, he said yes.

First I showed him how a shower curtain works. Turning on the water, I pushed the curtain in the tub and aimed the shower head in that direction. The water ran down the curtain into the drain. Did you see that? ‘Yes, Dad, I did.’

Next I pulled the shower curtain out of the tub and turned on the water. As the water headed down the curtain toward the floor, he quickly pushed it back in the tub. Good son, you've got it. You're a very quick learner! He was smiling and proud, happy to know he’d finally done something right!

Next I told my son he could choose between two ways of folding the towel. First, there's the one-fold method. I laid the towel on the floor, folded it down the middle lengthwise, picked it up carefully, hung it over the towel bar, and straightened out the edges. My son nodded OK. Then he laid the towel on the floor, folded it down the middle lengthwise, picked it up carefully, hung it over the towel bar and straightened out the edges perfectly. His confidence was growing.

Now how about the two-fold method. I laid the towel on the floor again. This time I folded it lengthwise twice, one third and one third. He followed my example and liked this way even better.

OK, son, there's just one more thing—the soap. Could you figure out a way to make a bar last a week if I promise to take you for ice cream? "I sure could! Dad, let’s go buy a soap holder with points on the top and points on the bottom. I'll use it to keep the soap high and dry. And, if it lasts two weeks, would you get me two cones?”

You bet, as long as you still manage to get yourself clean! Son, you're no only smart but you're one heck of a salesman!

Then my son started to cry. Oh no, what's wrong? "Dad, I thought you didn't love me. You always said I was stupid. I couldn't do anything right. I'm a good boy, aren't I Dad?"

Yes, son, you’re a good boy.

"I love you, Dad."

I love you, too. Not only are you a good boy but a very smart boy as well! We hugged each other hard. OK, let's go get your soap holder!"

We were touched by this Dad's story and spent hours talking about how supervisors and managers could use these same understandings. He said this experience would help him at work too “because I’ve been making the same mistakes with my employees as well!”

What is the real message you’re sending yourself and others? Take the not out of the sentence and you’ll immediately know.

Not creates stress and uncertainty. And, it also signals opportunity… the opportunity to make a more thoroughly considered choice. A healthier, more loving choice. Starting today, let’s resolve to think and communicate what we do want. And when we catch ourselves not-ing ourselves or not-ing others, let’s resolve to take that extra life-saving, love-saving step by simply asking, What do I want instead?

(c) Susan Ford Collins. For permission to use this article, email susanfordcollins@msn.com

* For more on The Positive Command Brain, read Skill 3: The Science of Dreaming in The Joy of Success. And Skill 3: Hologramming in 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

Time to Create a New Tradition… Parenting Vows

By Susan Ford Collins

Infants’ capabilities are limited. They can move, fuss, cry or smile. But they can’t feed themselves, change their diapers or safely get in and out of their cribs. In this stage of life, they’re totally dependent on us to figure out what they need, to make time to meet their needs completely, and to replace ourselves appropriately when we have other responsibilities.

The choice to have children is one that impacts the rest of our lives. It requires five years of being totallyresponsible and sixteen more years of being heavily responsible, an even harder job since we’re not always there with them at that stage. And it’s demanding financially too. It takes $100,000 to $500,000 plus to pay for a child’s health and education.

Have you seen the Nyquil commercial where a man wakes up feeling awful and seems to be asking his boss for a sick day? As the view widens, we realize he’s asking for the day off... from his son who is standing up in his crib! Fun but true. In good times and bad, in sickness and health, there are no days off from parenting! With all this responsibility in mind, something seems to be missing.

It’s time to create a new tradition—Parenting Vows

We promise to love, honor and cherish when we marry. But there are no vows when we create a new life!

It’s time to initiate a new tradition—Parenting Vows—sacred vows that affirm our mutual willingness to be responsible for our children's lives. Let us vow to support their growth and future contributions forever. Then, if one of us dies or we decide to live apart, our children will truly know that the form of our relationship has changed. But our love for them hasn't.

Before that precious moment of choosing to parent, let us make a solemn promise to each other…

Repeat after me...

No matter what—no matter how much money we have or we don't have, no matter how much time we have or we don't have, no matter what happens in our lives or what doesn't happen—we will make certain that our child is supervised, safe and secure. That he or she will have the support and independence needed to develop skills and gain experience. And that—no matter what—we will parent so he or she will be able to lead our families and our society in new directions in the years to come.

We promise to manage our lives and relationships so we can meet the parenting needs of our child—whether we are living together or apart— until death do us part.

(c) Susan Ford Collins. Contact me for permission to use it.

* For more on Parenting Vows, read The Gate to Fulfillment: Beyond Personal Success, the final chapter in Our Children Are Watching: 10 Skills for Leading the Next Generation to Success.

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

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

A Bad Year in the Life of a Top Sales Rep

Here’s important news! Success Has Gears… and so does Leadership

By Susan Ford Collins

As we drive, we use gears to move us ahead, slowly at first then more rapidly and easily. As we succeed, we use gears to move us ahead too.

First Gear is for starting anything new. Second Gear is for accelerating into productivity and competition. Third gear is for breaking through into creativity and innovation. No gear is better than any other; all are essential—each one has its own timing and use.

Each Success Gear has a corresponding Leadership Gear which specifically meets the needs of individuals and teams who are operating in that gear… the 1st Gear of Success/the 1st Gear of Leadership, the 2nd Gear of Success/the 2nd Gear of Leadership, the 3rd Gear of Success/the 3rd Gear of Leadership. Today most of us spend most of our time accelerating in 2nd Gear (more-better-faster-cheaper). And most of our managers are accelerating in 2nd Gear with us. Unless something unexpected occurs.

It was a peak moment. Bob had just returned from Pharmco’s national convention where he had been appointed to the President’s Council and invited to speak on how to be a successful sales rep. Because of Bob’s consistent high performance, he had won every mixer, toaster, bonus and trip, even one that landed Bob and his wife, via helicopter, on top of a volcano high above the clouds in Hawaii.

Finally Bob and Ellen felt secure enough to start a family and they had just received the long-awaited call: Ellen was pregnant. Elated, they took the steps they had been planning: they bought a larger home and a kid-friendly mini-van.

But a few weeks after the conference, Pharmco lost its contract with a major healthcare provider. The loss was over profit margins and had nothing to do with how well Bob was servicing their account. But instead of backing their loss out of Bob’s next year’s sales numbers, management simply tacked on the usual 6% increase.

Bob was staggered. He would have to produce a 31% increase just to make his numbers! Six per cent was a stretch but 31% was outrageous. He tried talking to his boss Howard and suggesting alternative approaches but, instead of being supportive, Howard accused him of having a bad attitude. That stung! Bob had always been seen as “positive and resilient.” In fact, those were the words his managers had included in past appraisals.

The next twelve months were tough. Bob had felt valued when he was exceeding expectations. But now he felt he had become upper management’s personalized message… no matter who you are or what you’ve done in the past, you have to increase your sales 6% each year. Or else.

Even though Bob was making steady progress, Howard kept delaying his appraisal. When they finally met, instead of acknowledging Bob’s successes and reaffirming his confidence in him, Howard was critical. Weeks later, his feedback was threatening. “Unless you start getting the job done, we’ll be forced to find someone else who can.”

It was time for the convention again, but this time Bob didn’t walk away with all of the prizes; in fact, he didn’t get any. But most devastating of all, this year’s top sales rep only exceeded his plan by 10%... and not 31!

Weeks later Bob was offered a job with a competitor. And despite lingering feelings of loyalty, he accepted it, eager to find a company that would be loyal to him as well.

What would skillful 1st Gear Leaders have done?

How would responsible leaders have behaved when they heard about the loss of the SMB account? As soon as they found out, they would have immediately asked Bob to meet. Let’s imagine sitting in and listening to what is being said. “Bob, we’ve just learned that we’ve lost the SMB account due to pricing, and we know this is going to affect you and Ellen profoundly. That’s why we’ve asked you to come in and think this through with us.” “SMB? Whew, it sure will. What happened?” asked a stunned Bob. “We simply couldn’t make the price point they insisted on. These things happen from time to time, but we don’t want it to hurt you. We would like to help you lay out a new plan and rethink your goals for the upcoming year.”

This kind of support would have been great, but it didn’t happen. If they had, Bob would have felt Pharmco’s leaders were there for him, and he would have reached his goals and taken home an award. And even if he hadn’t, he would have felt good about his company and been a far more motivated and loyal employee in the future! Instead they lost him to a competitor who gave Bob the support he needed and (with his inside track on the moves Pharmco would probably make) Bob soon became number one in their company. Unfortunately, millions of valuable employees are being lost in just this way because companies fail to understand this crucial shift leaders need to make from the 2nd Gear of Leadership back into 1st Gear... at times like these.

The mantra of today’s business is more-better-faster-cheaper. But when circumstances force you to gear down, to rethink and restart, will your company's leaders have the skills they need to help you? Or will they force you to move on and take the experience and inside-information you’ve gained into the open arms of a competitor who is all-too-eager to take away a significant chunk of their business?

(c) Susan Ford Collins. Contact me for permission to use it.

* For more information about the 2nd Success Skill, how to when to use all three success and leadership gears, read The Joy of Success and Success Has Gears.

The Technology of Success skill set empowers team members to move ahead together, instead of forcing one or more to leave and take their ideas and expertise, and your ideas and expertise, with them to a competitor.

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

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