What do you expect?

February 17, 2015 — Leave a comment

You may have heard some variation of the story about the two men who were moving to a new city and wanted to know about the people who lived there.

The first man visited the city and, approaching one of the town’s elders, asked about the people there. “Well,” said the man, tell me about the people where you live now. What are they like?”

christmas in New York - 06

“Well,” the man replied, “they’re rude, unfriendly and generally not very nice to be around. That’s why I’m moving here.”

The elder replied, “I think you’ll find the people here pretty much the same.”

The following week a second man approached the same town elder and asked the same question. Once again, the elder asked about his current location.

The man replied, “They’re terrific. They’re friendly, caring people who always watch out for each other. I’m going to miss them.”

The elder again replied, “I think you’ll find the people here pretty much the same.”

I first learned about the concept of “expectation” many years ago and can honestly say I typically have good experiences as I go through my day-to-day life. I rarely encounter a difficult or unfriendly person.

Dr. Wayne Dyer once said, “we teach people how to behave toward us.”

That’s a powerful idea. Your expectation in any situation can have as much do with it’s outcome as any other factors.

This becomes apparent watching a small child and how they act with different people. The child is the same, however depending on the person they’re interacting with, their behavior can be radically different.

family-playingWith one person, the child is friendly and well behaved, while with another they’re difficult, disobedient, and unpleasant to be around.

Since it’s the same child, one can only deduce that it must be something that’s originating in the other person that is activating the behavior in the child.

It’s the other person’s expectation and their energetic vibration that’s triggering the child’s behavior.

How many times have you had to deal with a situation that you just “knew” was going to be a hassle and, sure enough, it was?

Your “knowing” was enough for the forces of the universe to start creating the situation in response to the vibration you were putting out. You are the Co-creator and have the God-given ability to direct your life.

“As a man (or woman) thinketh in his heart, so is he. ”Proverbs 23:7

If you accept that we create our life then what is it that attracted the situation?

It was your focus and expectation that set up the magnetic energy to attract the difficulty.

When you accept you create your life, you’re willing to give up blame in your life. When you do this, the benefit you receive is power over your own life. You can start choosing to expect things to go smoothly.

Will this work every time? I don’t know, but whether it does or not, you will have more pleasant encounters with the people in your world than you do now. This I do know from many years of, as Mr. Otto suggests below, experimenting with my own life.

“Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life” Herbert Otto

If you want a simple way to begin bringing more pleasant experiences into your life, devote a little time each morning “pre-paving” your day.

rainbowImagine going about your day, seeing everything flowing and working out in your favor.

Feel the lightness of living a life that just flows from activity to activity.

You do not need to include all the specifics of your day.

Simply see and feel the essence of living a joyful day.

As with anything I write, I’m not asking you to just take my word for this.

Incorporate this practice into your “morning quiet time” for a couple of weeks and test it for yourself.

Please add your experiences in the “comments” section and please share this blog with the people you care about.

One of the reasons so many people feel frustrated and unhappy in their work is largely due to the fact that, in many cases, they didn’t make a conscious decision to follow the path their presently on.

All-too-often a person takes a particular job or enters a field of endeavor only to find that it’s not what they wanted. They find themselves in a job they’re not suited for, but because they didn’t have a plan in the first place, they can’t see a way out.


I’m suggesting that you flip this practice on it’s head and start by asking yourself, “If I were living my ideal life, working in a job that made my heart sing, what would I be doing?”

If you begin with an image of what you desire, no matter how vague, you will at least be moving in the right direction. It may be a matter of knowing what you don’t want. That’s okay. Knowing what you don’t want helps you determine what you do.

If you’ve read my story or heard me speak you may know that I never really set out to be an author or speaker, even though it’s clearly what I’m meant to do. While I didn’t know I would wind up where I am, I did know that I wanted to use my gifts and talents to communicate ideas and information# that would help people. I wrote that statement of purpose more than twenty years ago.

Holding that as a guiding principle led me from a starting a small marketing and advertising business serving the local business community, to publishing a business newspaper and, eventually to writing and publishing my first book. The initial success of that book, “Handbook to a Happier Life,” literally changed my life forever and put me on a path that was to enable me to live my passion. The rest, as they say, is history.

By starting from where I was at that moment, and continuing to apply questions like, “How can I use my gifts in an even bigger way and help even more people” and similar questions, I progressed from one stage to another until I found a way to play my special music.

Another way you might approach living your passion without leaving your present job is to find your bliss in something outside your chosen career.

Our former postmaster did just that. While spending a stellar career in the Postal Service he played his music, literally, with an Irish rock band. Doing this not only gave him pleasure, it also became something he is able to do more of now that he’s retired, if he chooses.

If you’ve read “Don’t Let an Old Person Move Into Your Body” (Austin Bay 2007), you know that I do not consider retirement a good choice. I’ve seen too many retired people just going through the motions of living, not feeling connected to the rest of the (working) world. I’m not suggesting you continue at any specific job but that you simply find something to keep you engaged in life.

Whether you’re wanting to embark on an entirely new career path or just looking for ways to make your life more enjoyable, taking the time to identify what makes you happy and finding more ways to incorporate it into your life is a good place to begin.

Using intuitive questions, like the ones below or something similar, will continually move you closer to your ideal vision. Just remember to relax, trust the process, and enjoy the ride.

• How might I do what I love in an even bigger way?
• In what other ways might I share my gifts with the world?
• What could I do, starting from where I am with the resources I now have, to move closer to living my passion?

this is your life, not a dress rehearsal audio course

Learn more about creating the life you were born to live here.





“So, I asked my young friend as I walked into my favorite cafe, “what kind of car do you want?” She had been talking with another friend about wanting a car.

“You mean, what’s my dream car,” she queried, as her eyes widened and a bright smile came over her face. I answered, “Of course, why settle?”

Wanting to help I offered to share my “How to attract your dream car” secrets. For anyone else who’d like to have their dream car, keep reading.


The process of drawing to yourself whatever you desire, including cars, homes, relationships, and jobs, is the same. Regardless of the object of your desire, the steps are identical.

You’ve likely heard the idea that, “What you consistently focus your attention on you attract to you.” That’s the key. The Law of attraction works all the time, in every area of your life, and can be applied to whatever you desire. In this case we’ll use it to attract your dream car.

It’s important to understand that you’re already attracting into your experience, you’re just doing it unconsciously. I’m suggesting you harness this incredible power we all have to create the life we want, not to leave it up to chance.

1. What car do you want?

If you answered, “any car would be great,” you’re going to have a harder time attracting it. The clearer you can make your intention to the Universe, the easier it is to attract your desire. What make, model and color?

2. Why do you want it? What will having this dream car do for you?

List all the good feelings and experiences, as well as safety and security this new car will give you. Doing this exercise will get your juices flowing and bring your emotions into your desire.

3. Imagine you already have your dream car.

jim_purpleThis is the most powerful step in the process. It is the “secret sauce” that’s used by virtually every successful person you meet. It is the “edge” used by most professional and Olympic athletes.

Your imagination – your ability to imagine your future as already existing – is the key to its manifestation. Einstein, a pretty smart guy, considered imagination more important than knowledge. Everything begins with an idea, an image of what’s to come.

Set aside some time each day, preferably first thing in the morning and again at night just before you drift off to sleep. Imagining your desires at bedtime brings your them into your dream state where they can be integrated into your powerful subconscious mind, which, by virtue of Laws of the universe, must go to work bringing them to you.

Treasure map or vision board4. Add visuals to engage more of your senses.

I’ve used a technique known as, “Treasure Maps” (sometimes referred to as Vision boards or Dream boards) for many years.

Basically it involves making a visual collage of, in this instance, your dream car. It may be as simple as my first “Car treasure map” which was nothing more than a photo of the car I wanted, and ultimately received. Or you can create a beautiful visual depicting everything you want for your life.

You can create mini-maps, or boards, for any part of your life you’d like to enhance. We typically respond more strongly to visual imagery more than other types of stimuli.

5. Ask, “What next step will bring me closer to my desire?

This is a key question. Too many people ask “how.” Don’t you think that if I knew how to achieve my goal I would have already done it? Duh!

Obviously you don’t know how. Asking how shuts your mind down and blocks whatever creative solution you may have been able to come up with.

Asking “what” will produce a response in your mind. There is always a “what” that you can do. In the case of your dream car, one great action is to get photo of the car you want, or grab one from the manufacturer’s web site.

I’ve always liked going to the dealer and getting a brochure that I can cut up and use to create my “Treasure map.” You can “super charge” your desire by sitting the car and asking someone to take a photo of you in your dream car. Consider what a powerful image this will impress on your subconscious mind.

If this sounds like something you’d like to know more about, check out this awesome course by my colleague, Joe Vitale, author of the Attractor Factor and featured in the hit movie “The Secret”


Part II

Note: If you missed part one of this post, please read it here now. It contains the necessary steps preceding what follows.


Creating your ideal life’s vision

In my opinion this is the key component missing from many goal setting programs. Beginning with a vision of your ideal life, in all the key areas, ensures that your goals and, thus your outcomes, will be in balance with the life you want to live.

You can’t hit a target you haven’t set

Retail mogul J.C. Penny, founder of the stores that bear his name, said, “Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I’ll show you a man who will make history. Give me a man without a goal and I’ll show you a stock clerk.”

This is where the proverbial “rubber meets the road” in your success plan. If there’s one single act that can change your life beyond anything you’ve ever expected it’s adopting the habit of setting and achieving goals.

Goal achievement activity

Looking over your Dreams list and Life Vision, create one or two goals that you can accomplish in the next year that will move you closer to your ideal life’s vision. Do this for each key area.

For example if, in your vision you are at your best level of health and fitness, your one year goal may include being free from foods that do not support your health.

One of the reasons so many people fail at goal achievement, especially in health areas, is that they expect reaults too fast and do not have a process for the successful achievement of their goals.

Set goals that will move you out of your comfort zone; that’s where your most amazing life begins.

Making your commitment to succeed

Decide now to make the commitment to live the life you’ve always wanted.

One of the best ways I know to strengthen your commitment to accomplishing your vision and goals is to gain leverage on yourself.

We do things to either gain pleasure or avoid pain. It’s the “carrot and stick” story about using positive motivation (the carrot) as well as negative motivation (the stick) to create a behavior change.

The key here is for you to be in control of both the carrot and the stick. You can use this idea to gain leverage on yourself and maintain the commitment necessary to reach your goals.

Completing the activity step below will give you the leverage you’ll need to maintain your commitment to your goals. It’s the “why” of the goal; why you want it. If you have a big enough “why” you can accomplish more than you ever expected.


“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world”

Activity – gaining the leverage to maintain your commitment

Make two lists

On the first list, write everything you will gain by having achieved your goals. Write all the good you will gain by following through with your commitment. Really pour it on. Imagine living your dream. How does it feel?

Next, make a list of everything you have been missing out on by not already having achieved this goal. This is your “stick” so you’ll want to create as much imagined pain as you can to help motivate you.

Do this for each of your key goal areas.

Little happens without action

The next steps in your success plan is defining the actions you will need to take to achieve your goals. 

Too many people are simply taking action, regardless of their own state of mind, and with little inspiration. I call this “Gerbil action” as it reminds me of the little gerbil running on his wheel all day long, becoming very tired but going nowhere.

There is a more effective way to approach this, one that will, more often than not, produce breakthrough ideas and actions.

Rather than simply take a lot of action toward your goals, first read your vision statement for that particular goal, seeing it as already complete, enjoying the rewards of having achieved it, and basking in your success.

Then and only then, ask what next step you could take that will propel you closer to the successful achievemlent of your goal.

Then simply sit quietly for a few moments and listen to your internal guidance for an inspired idea. You may get an idea right away or it may come to you as you go on with your day.

You may well be surprised that the ideas and actions your are inspired to take are different, perhaps bigger, that what you may have done.

What you are actually doing in this practice is aligning your vibrational energy with the energy of having already achieved your desired outcome. In the realm of Spirit, it’s a “done deal.”

this is your life, not a dress rehearsal audio course

 If you’d like to know more about this entire process, check out my audio home study course, “This is Your Life, Not a Dress Rehearsal” here 

Since the publication of happy@work – 60 Simple Ways to Stay Engaged and Be Successful in April I’ve spent a lot of time speaking with people on all sides of the workplace-happiness and employee-engagement issue.

The one complaint that keeps coming up when speaking with managers and their staff is their feeling that they’re not being recognized for their contribution. In talking with one mid-level manger in the financial services industry I was told that, even though she was being asked to “do more with less,” she and her colleagues wouldn’t mind it so much if they were at least recognized for their extra effort.

How hard is that?

Yellow Springs Farm A simple “Good job Letitia. That’s a terrific sales letter,” or “Thanks Mario for staying to finish that presentation. It helps a lot,” will go along way toward improving communications and strengthening your team’s commitment to the company.

We, as human beings, need to feel connected to the world around us. It’s one of the basic human needs as presented by Abraham Maslow in his “hierarchy of needs.” It comes just after our physiological and safety needs in its importance.

If you want to take this a step further, share the company’s vision and goals or at least your vision and goals for your unit, with your entire team. Including them in the visioning process and helping your people see how they fit into the company and teams goals and how this all fits into their personal goals is a key to improving employee engagement and productivity. People do things for their own reasons, not your’s and mine.

Employee engagement ideas abound, however, the more you can do to help people see how their work relates to the whole, and how it’s all part of their personal life, the more they can understand the “why” of what they do. Doing this allows them to feel more connected to the company and their role in it’s continued success.

If you want to increase employee engagement and productivity in your organization, and, as a result, increase revenue, find ways to recognize and reward your people. It’s that simple. Studies have proven that, as employee happiness increases so does revenue.

If you want to improve your results even more, ask about our Happy at Work employee development programs for your business. Investing in your current employees is the best and fastest way to grow your revenue.

Part I

The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.

Marcus Aurelius (121-180)


Regardless of where you find yourself at the present moment, you can change your circumstances at any time simply by following the basic principles of the Universe.

If you take a moment and reread the quote above from philosopher and one time Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, you’ll have the key.

christmas in New York - 04The title of this post and the “keys” below are the exact steps I personally used many years ago to change my own life from one of misery and despair to the amazing life I live today.

They are the basis of my seminar work and are written in more detail in my international bestselling book, What are you waiting for? It’s Your Life, originally titled “This is Your Life, Not a Dress Rehearsal.”


Whatever you want to be, become, do, own, or have begins by accepting where you are right now. Now is the time to get honest with yourself about whatever it is you want to address.

If you’re 100 pounds overweight stop blaming it on your ’big bones.’ The late motivational legend, Zig Zigler, pointed out that he had gained weight intentionally because he never accidently ate anything.

By accepting your situation 100% you are empowered to do something about it. Until you do so, you’re a victim. Own your “stuff.”


You’ll want to cultivate and strengthen your belief that you can succeed. This may involve a combination of weakening any old, limiting beliefs that have been blocking you, while developing more and more empowering ones, supported by evidence, that represent your desired life.


My colleague, Vinny Roazzi, author of “Spirituality of Success,” said, “If you want to change your life, you have to change your life.” It’s that simple.

For you to have whatever it is you desire will require you to change something. When my life was at it’s worst I learned I had to be willing to do “whatever it takes.” In my case this was a life and death situation so the stakes were high.

This is your life and, while you may not be facing such a dramatic change, being willing to do what it takes to succeed is no less important.


As we grow from small children into adulthood we tend to dream less, if at all, and start pushing our older dreams into the back of our mind. As people age they start giving up on their dreams and say things like, “At my age . . .”

If you do a little research you’ll uncover story after story about people, well into their twilight years, who have achieved their greatest accomplishment.

Harland Sanders, best remembered for starting Kentucky Fried Chicken, now KFC, was 65 years old when he began his business. *

Buckminster Fuller, bankrupt at 32 years old, went on to receive international recognition for his geodesic dome as he approached 60. And in 1970, he received the Gold Medal award from the American Institute of Architects at age 75. *

Author Phyliss Whitney, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 104, said in an Associated Press interview when she was 85 that “I’ve slowed down in that I only write one book a year. A writer is what I am.” Her last novel, Amethyst Dreams, was published in 1997, and at 102, she began working on her autobiography. *

Start here

Now it’s your turn. It’s time for you to start bringing your dreams into reality. Before you can do that however you must know what it is you want. What would make your life magnificent?


Your “Dreams” list

In your journal list whatever it is you want. What do you want to be or become? What do you want to do? What do you want to have? What do you want to share? Really let go and dream. See if you can list 100 items.

 * excerpt with permission from Don’t Let an Old Person Move Into Your Body, Jim Donovan (Austin Bay 2010)

Part II will be continued next time. Be sure to subscribe above to the right to be informed.

The December 2nd edition of the Wall Journal headline read,
“U.S. ECONOMY – Basic Costs Squeeze Families”


The article, beautifully written by Ryan Knutson and  Theo Francis goes on to talk about the rising costs of healthcare, technology services, food, and all the other things that are stretching people’s budgets. While it’s an accurate portrayal of the current economic situation and a well researched piece, I prefer to look for the opportunity rather than study the problem, especially when it comes to finances. 

I’ve always like the story that success legend, Jim Rohn, used to tell about how, when he told his mentor that things cost too much, his reply was, “No Jim, you just don’t make enough.”

While the rising costs and the sluggish economy are real and are in fact stressing people out, they are also something we have little control over. While we cannot change the economy single handedly, there are things we can change and the wisdom is in knowing the difference between what we can and can’t control.

stop living paycheck to paycheckAnyone willing to invest a little time can find ways to increase their income regardless of economic conditions. I found the “Journal” story ironic since all weekend my book, “Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck” was available free in the Kindle store. It’s regularly $2.99.

I know, from my own personal experience that anyone with a little ambition can, without investing large sums of money, increase their household income. How much so is up to them.

Online marketplaces like ebay and Etsy provide a steady flow of people in search of products and services. For the techno phobic, Flea Markets and Swap Meets are still alive and well in most parts of the United States. Either of these examples offer simple, inexpensive ways to add to one’s cash flow, almost immediately.

Service business, which can often be started at home for little or no cost, are popping up everywhere and the demand for these services grows daily as an aging population looks more and more to professionals to help with everyday tasks.

Network marketing and direct sales companies offer low cost point of entry and proven systems for building a home based business. While they may or may not make you a millionaire, as they have for some, they can without too much effort provide a family with an additional income of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a month.

Internet entrepreneurs are investing a couple of hours a day building their eCommerce businesses, running the gamut from Mommy bloggers, to product marketers, life coaches, and an array of other Internet based businesses.

Do you have a particular skill you can teach? Online learning sites such as Udemy.com abound, offering a platform for teachers to deliver their courses to the hundreds of thousands of active learners seeking knowledge and skills. For a small investment, students can learn anything from “How to design an online course” to “How to create a power point presentation,” or “How to play piano,” all taught by private individuals interested in earning more money in their spare time.

I, for one, would like to see the esteemed Wall Street Journal writing more about solutions that can help people increase their income rather than beating the problem to death. We all know things cost more.

What’s more important is what can you do about it?

To that question there are always answers. It’s time to stop talking about problems and start talking about solutions. It’s time to stop being made into victims and, instead, take charge of your own destiny. It’s time we turned this country around and reclaimed our place of leadership in the world.


Since my mother’s passing the day before Thanksgiving in November 2000, I cannot help but think about her this time of year. While I miss her of course and it saddens me, I’d rather remember all the good times and the blessings she gave me. One of the greatest gifts she gave me is something I’d like to share with you and encourage you to pass on.

Obviously my mother gave me many gifts, including life itself, but the one that has enabled me to become successful and accomplish what I have in my life was her teaching me how to read and instilling in me a love of books.

If you have children in your life, please teach them to read and encourage reading. If you do not read well, get help. The ability to read is the one thing above everything else that can change a person’s life.

As the late Jim Rohn said, “The good things we want in life are on the top shelves. We reach them by standing on the books we’ve read.”

what are you waiting for? It's your lifeSomething else that can change your life and, as a matter of fact changed mine, is the process I wrote about in my book, “What are you waiting for? It’s Your Life.

This year’s Thanksgiving gift from me includes a free 28 page sample of that book. Originally published as This is Your Life, Not a Dress Rehearsal, it has been an international bestseller and has helped hundreds of thousands of people in several countries.

Download your complimentary preview copy here.

While we’re talking about gifts, my book, Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck, is free from in the Amazon Kindle store Friday, November 28th through Sunday, November 30th.

Also, on December 6th and 7th you can download Don’t Let and Old Person Move Into Your Body free from the Kindle store.

By the way, you don’t need a Kindle reader to read Kindle books. They can be read on a computer or you can download the Kindle app for your phone, iPad or tablet.

What I’m thankful for

This Thanksgiving I have much to be thankful for, especially you and all the people like you who have supported and followed my work. You are all a part of any success I achieve and what keeps me going. Knowing that people are using what I write and speak about to create a better life is important to me.

I’m so fortunate to have so many amazing people helping me and cheering me on that I cannot help but reach greater success. Space prevents me from naming everyone here but, suffice to say, my wife Georgia is on top of the list, along with my friend and coach, Ski Swiatkowski. They keep me grounded and sane.

Thanks to a great team at Sound Wisdom who have published “What are your waiting for? It’s Your Life” and are making that international bestseller available from book sellers the US.

Thanks to a fantastic team at New World Library, “happy@work” is receiving the praise and recognition it deserves. Some of the recent wins the book has enjoyed include:

  • ritz-carlton-leadership-center-happy-at-work-1Being included in the Top 10 Books on Happiness at Work by the esteemed Ritz Carlton Leadership Center.
  • happy@work had the highest readership on a list of selected books by the Transportation Safety Administration, division of Homeland Security and I was interviewed by the agency for their success training.
  • Lisa Evans Fast Company magazine article interviewing me about being happy at work has been shared more than 10,000 times on social media.
  • Dozens of radio hosts have had me on their show and continually praised “happy@work.”
  • japanese-978-4799315439The Japanese rights have been licensed and “happy@work” will be available in Japan soon. This comes right after a new paperback was released in Japan by Discover 21 publishing. It is a combination of two of my bestsellers in Japanese.
  • A chapter from “happy@work” is being included in an app from one of the largest cloud based learning companies in the world. More about that in January.

What about you?

No matter what’s happening in your life, wether you’re enjoying effortless success or experiencing struggle and hardship, the fastest way to have more of what you desire is to be grateful for what you already have, however meager it may seem at the moment.

If all you have is food to eat, be thankful for that. Many do not. The more you learn to appreciate what you have, the more you are moving into higher vibrational energies and attracting more good into your life. That is why I’ve said that,

“Gratitude is the key that unlocks the door to success.”

Your action step

Complete the following: 

  • Who are the people you’re thankful for in your life?
  • What are the top 5 things you are most thankful for this year?
  • What could you do to help someone else feel better today?

Wishing you and your family a very happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving. If you do not observe Thanksgiving, have a fantastic Thursday.