Over a decade of Sandy’s weekly written articles on strategies and motivation for your business and your life.

Why not just fail again?


“I failed!”

Richard, an insurance salesman, is working with me on growing his practice.  He was telling me about his recent attempt to run an estate planning seminar.  He had invited his clients and asked them to bring friends.  He was counting on 30 people, but he had deviated from our plan and hadn’t promoted properly.  As a result, only a handful of his clients showed, and none of them brought anyone with them.

“I had the coffee, the snacks, the projector—everything but the people,” he complained.

I’m sorry, Richard,” I said. “But when are you going to fail again?”

“What do you mean?” Richard asked indignantly.  “I don’t want to fail like that again!”

“Then do it right, this time,” I replied.  “Or, try failing in a different way.”

Every day I witness people giving up on their goals because they tried something that didn’t work and were afraid to try again.  But “successful people” know that their good judgments come from experience, and that their earlier bad judgments gave them that experience.

Richard didn’t fail; he gained experience.  Sure, there was a price tag associated with that.  But the only real failure would come from allowing his fear of failing again to stop him from trying.

What have you failed at recently? Did you back away from trying again? Gain experience by doing it again or fail in a different way this time. Either way, you’ll be on your way to making the good judgments that will lead you to your success.

Keep REACHING . . .


Why Did You Choose to Be Unhappy?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thanks for helping me grow this e-letter. I have friends now from as far away as Australia, China and South Africa.
This is a day we acknowledge the people we care about. I hope you all know how much I appreciate you.

But Why Did You Choose to Be Unhappy?

Jerry owns a Midwest cleaning service serving residential customers in three large closely-situated suburban towns. Jerry loves the money his business generates when it’s working, but he hates everything about his business and, because he hasn’t focused on getting it to work, it’s not generating the money it could.

I asked Jerry to explore with me how his business would look if it was fun and ran in a way that made him love it. He liked this game, and he painted a picture that included getting up late, focusing on strategies and business-building ideas instead of day- to-day operations, taking lots of time off, and other “percs” of owning a business. As he spoke his voice became animated and filled with the pleasure of the pictures he was creating.

“Why can’t you set it up, so that you start having most of these now?” I asked him. “Come in later. Let your staff make the day-to-day decisions for a month and you focus on sales and marketing.”

As Jerry gave me all the reasons why he couldn’t have what he wanted, it became clear that he was choosing not to have it—choosing to be unhappy. So, I called him on it:

“I’m getting the impression that no matter what business you had, you wouldn’t run it in the way you described—in a way that would make you happy,” I pointed out.

“You’re right,” he admitted sheepishly.

“It’s a choice you’ve made,” I told him, “You’ve chosen to be unhappy.”

Why would someone choose to be unhappy? In my book, The High Diving Board, I talk about the payoffs we receive to continue behavior that hurts us. Hearing people say, “Poor Jerry,” I Knowing they’re saying, “Watch out for Jerry, the sales person quit and he’s in a foul mood.” Having endless discussions about why things aren’t improving. Sure, the attention is negative, but attention of any kind is a big payoff.

Jerry was embarrassed when I pointed this out to him, and he agreed to play another game this month. When he finds himself going into a “funk” over his business, he has committed to making a better choice—choosing to be happy and concentrate on fixing whatever caused it.

When your mood is foul, recognize that you chose it. If you’re happy having tantrums, or you crave the attention they get you, have them. But know you can make a better choice.

In the meantime, KEEP REACHING . . .


Certain success is guaranteed this year if . . .

Certain Success This Year Is In Your Hands

Do you feel really successful right now? If not, when do you feel that way?

If I ask someone to identify successful people, he or she is likely to name people who are rich—or, as one of my daughters used to say, “way rich” or “way famous,” using external measures that are common in our society. Ours is not the only society or time in history when people have measured success in this way.

But are you really successful if you are way rich or way famous and are still unhappy? In the late 1800s, Edward Arlington Robinson wrote Richard Corey, a poem about a wealthy, handsome, “successful” man who everyone admired, until the day he went home and put a bullet in his head. In the 1970s, Paul Simon used the poem to create a hit ballad.

Look around today and we see the most famous movie and sports stars—people who “have it all”— committing suicide, addicted to drugs, and being tried for acts of violence. There are signs everywhere that success of the external kind may not make us feel successful.

For a long time after leaving my law practice, I made less money than I did as a lawyer. But I felt considerably more successful. Today, although I make significantly more money than I did then, I still understand that money is less important to my own internal feeling of success than some of the other things in my life.

What makes you feel successful? Here’s how you tell:

• First, complete three sentences that are uniquely yours that read like either of these:

“I know how successful I am by how _________”

Or, “I know I am successful when_________” (fill in the blanks). It’s important that you use either of these exact sentence structures.

• Next, tweak your sentences until you feel a tingle—and you know you’ve written what you truly believe.

• Finally, start living in a way that has you doing the thing that makes you feel successful whenever you can. Notice how having this statement in writing starts to tug you in small—or even significant—ways toward doing what makes you feel the best.

You’ll find a more detailed explanation of these principles and a worksheet you can use in the “Free Stuff” section of my website. Once you’ve started, if you’d like a complimentary coaching session on how to complete and use it successfully, call me toll-free at 888-289-5551 or e- mail me to arrange it.

Keep Reaching . . .


Stop Making Resolutions

Stop Making Resolutions

So, what’s new?

Thanks for subscribing to REACHING… I’m excited about how quickly it has grown and the direction it has taken over just a few years.

I hope you’ll stay with us as we evolve.
Here are some of the changes you’ll discover this year:

Beginning this month, REACHING… will be weekly, instead of monthly. It will be shorter, so you can get more motivation with less reading time, and it will be focused on the challenges of people who want to attract what they desire…more clients, more income, more time to enjoy life, etc.

We’ve suspended the “Members Only” Bulletin Board because not enough of you wanted to air your challenges on the Internet. I’m working, instead, on a Blog that will incorporate the weekly issues of this e-letter and your comments.I hope you enjoy the changes, and that you keep…well, you know!



Check out my new website and find the FREE STUFF tab. There are some useful tools to help you grow. Play with them and let me know if you found any of them helpful.While you’re there, find out more about the different ways you can be coached and my guarantee.

Start The New Year Off Right
This is the time of year that health club owners and managers love. Thousands of people sign up for a year of getting in shape.

The owners know that by February, most of those people will have stopped coming on a regular basis, but they’ll continue to pay on their contracts throughout the year.

How do they know that? Because most of those January memberships are the result of New Year’s Resolutions that are seldom kept.

Instead of making resolutions you won’t keep, set goals.

What’s the difference? A resolution is generally something you decide you want because you should do it. Usually, trying to do it is all you’re really promising yourself. You don’t bother writing it down and you don’t tell too many people about it. You don’t develop a specific plan of action to reach it and you don’t get a coach or someone else to help keep you on track. The only one you’re accountable to is…you. And most of us are not particularly good at holding ourselves accountable.

For several weeks, you’re the amazing “Athletic Woman.” You’re up early every morning to run your two miles. You have nothing to eat in the house but healthy foods, and you’re dropping pounds and building muscle tone like crazy. Then, one rainy morning, you wake up in the chilly darkness and decide to let it go for a day. The oatmeal box is empty, so you find an egg and some flour and make some pancakes. The maple syrup comes out from the back of the pantry and–“Couch Potato Woman” has come home! Why? You made a resolution to get into shape.

A goal, on the other hand, is something you want to accomplish. It’s not something you want to try—you are going to do it. You write it down with details, just as you see them in your mind. You write down how miserable you’ll feel if you don’t succeed. You tell as many supportive people about it as you can. You develop a plan of action that you stick to. And you get help from a family member or friend, or better still, from a coach trained to help you with every step of the process.

Do you want to try to change something in your life, or do you want to do it? Don’t make resolutions—set goals. Develop a plan to reach those goals and get help to stay on track until you’ve created new habits that stick. Contact me for a complimentary coaching session to help you get started.

You can e-mail me at
Give me a call toll free at 888-289-5551
Or find out more at

“Do you want to be great?”

This question usually perplexes clients and they respond with a question like “What do you mean by that?” Engaging in a conversation about their own greatness, they think, would be a sign of arrogance or self-importance, and they do not want to appear “that way.”

But most of us want to be great. We don’t want to live “ordinary” lives. We want to be remembered for something. Why aren’t we admitting our desires and moving towards greatness?

Maybe we’re afraid. Maybe we’ve been conditioned not to assert ourselves or admit this deepest of desires. Maybe it’s too much work, difficulty or responsibility.

And it is true that if you seek greatness, there will be difficult times. Success in any worthwhile endeavor comes through hard work and persistence in the face of great difficulty.

Dare to be great! And let me help you



Act “As If”
The appearance of confidence is often just that—an appearance.

We see someone who appears successful and it might be true. Or, he may simply be acting “as if” he is.

Several of my clients are new financial services professionals—23 years old and fresh out of college. Some of them look every bit as young to their older clients as they are afraid they do. They’re not absolutely sure they’ll be staying in this career. Who is sure about that at 23? Their biggest fear is that a prospective client will look at them and protest that someone so young couldn’t be in a position to help them.

I tell these new professionals to act “as if” they are already successful and will be doing this work for a long time.

Some coaches I work with are transitioning from other fields and are concerned that prospective clients will realize that they have limited experience and very few other clients. I tell them to act “as if” they have full, established practices.

Many of my clients come to me because they have great difficulty growing their professional businesses or practices. When they ask for referrals from existing clients, the clients become uncomfortable.

In most of these situations, the clients became uncomfortable because the professional was uncomfortable asking. Act “as if” you are comfortable, I tell them—and it almost always makes a difference.

One of the secrets of success is to start acting like a success before you believe you are one.

Acting “as if” is not lying. It’s playing a role. If you had already achieved your dream, what kinds of clothes would you be wearing? How would you act? How would you treat others? Would you be generous? Would you exude self-confidence? Would you spend more time with your loved ones?

Do those things now. When I decided I wanted to become a coach and motivator for people who are struggling as I did, I started telling people that I was already doing it, and acting “as if” I was already successful at it. As soon as I did, doors began to open for me.

Start acting as if you already have everything you want. No, I don’t mean that you should live beyond your means and amass debts to look successful. But stand, walk, talk, listen and give “as if” you’re where you want to be already, and you’ll be there sooner than you think.

Sandy used to be an attorney so he knows how professionals think and what issues they deal with. I don’t have to explain all that “other stuff” to him; we can just focus on what I want to accomplish.

He helps me see where my actions are not consistent with my stated goals and holds me accountable for what I say I want to be up to—in life and in my business. He also keeps reminding me about what would liberate me from drudgery and demands that I take action to accomplish that.

Scott E. Richardson, Esq.
Phoenix, Arizona


I often discuss the Law of Attraction with my clients. I have observed time and again that when someone focuses intensely on what he or she wants, it really does come to him or her. There’s nothing random or coincidental. Whether you believe that it’s the work of God or the universe has somehow opened to the recipient, attraction works.

But meditation, visualization and positive affirmations aren’t enough. They must be accompanied by action. Then, it happens. Maybe not in the way you expected—directly as a result of a particular action—but it happens.

Send the universe the right messages—and take action to get what you want. If I can help, write or call me toll-free at 888-289-5551.

Make It About Them…

How do you get someone to do what you wish they would?  To buy something you’re selling?  To support a position you’ve taken?  To hire you?

Among the quotations posted on the board above my desk is this anonymous one:

“People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.”

I’m not a big fan of justifying failures or helping people throw rocks, but I know you can have what you want in your own life by encouraging the dreams and allaying the fears of those around you.  What’s important, though, is that there isn’t a word in the quotation above about your needs, your hopes or your concerns.  The secret—if there is a secret—to getting your needs met is to focus on the needs of others.

A client of mine who is a financial advisor discovered that when she was focusing too hard on the sales goals she set for herself, instead of on the needs of her clients, she wasn’t meeting those sales goals.  She slipped from the ranks of the top producers in her company and for months, she did not know why.  This discovery brought her back to the top.

Is there something you want? Help other people get what they want, and maybe they won’t do anything for you, but they are likely to help you get where you want to go.

When I told people I wanted to quit my sales job and start a business, everyone told me I was crazy. Everyone, that is, except my coach, Sandy Schussel…With Sandy’s help I left my sales job and started my business. That was three years ago. I’m happy to report that I’ve doubled the money I was making at my old job and living my dream. I’m absolutely sure that none of this would have happened if I hadn’t started working with Sandy.

Amanda Puppo,
President Market Reach

In the meantime, keep Reaching…


Just DO It!

Quite awhile back, in On Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau penned one of my favorite quotations: “The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.”  Later in his book, Thoreau furthers this sentiment by expressing that most people continue suffering all along to their graves, never having “sung their song”.

Does this sound like you?  Did you subscribe to this e-letter because you really do want something more, but you’re not ready to ask for the help you need?  Do you open these emails—when there is actually time—in the hope of finding something that will help you get from where you are to where you really want to be in your business, your career, or your life?

Since I make it pretty clear what I’ve devoted my life to, maybe you’re fairly sure I could help you. Maybe I could teach you to overcome your fears-or the gaps in your marketing, sales or people skills that keep you from growing your business or accelerating your career.

But you’re worried about the cost or the potential embarrassment of talking about yourself to a “stranger.” You’re not sure whether working with me-or any coach-will work, or that you’ll stick to your commitment.

Just do it! There isn’t more anyone can say to you. It’s a “baby step” on the ladder to your High Diving Board. Arrange to talk with me for thirty minutes. I won’t pressure you to work with me. I’ll answer all of your questions-and I’ll help you walk away with some good feelings about your situation. Call me at 888-289-5551 or e-mail me.

Or, continue to view your situation in “quiet desperation” until it’s just too painful!

Having Sandy as my coach has helped me discover what I want to accomplish and what actions I need to take to get there. He’s an impartial third party who provides guidance, validation and support. Having a professional colleague to bounce ideas off, outside my organization, has been invaluable. While my appointments with Sandy are in the evening, I have grown from utilizing his ‘contact me during the work day’ service to get a second opinion before executing strategies.

Colleen Colby

Training Professional

Do What You Do Best

Joan is a sales representative for a company that supplies a line of software solutions to other businesses.

Joan told me she was unhappy with her company because she wasn’t selling enough to earn a decent living.  In addition, her manager didn’t give her enough support, and she didn’t think the pricing of their products was sufficiently competitive.  She was applying to other companies, but she was worried she would find the same problems in a new environment.

Joan is a good sales person.  She’s not afraid to reach out to new companies, and she’s great with people.  She knows how to ask questions, listen to answers, and give clients suggestions that make real sense for them.  I asked her to look more closely at the reasons she was unhappy, and we discovered that she was not doing well because she was “holding back”.  She had been burnt by her former employer and had been—albeit unconsciously—avoiding doing what she did best: developing relationships with clients and advising them as to what she believed were the best solutions.

Once Joan gave herself permission to deepen her relationships with clients and do what she does best, she started making sales.  Her company has some wonderful solutions, she tells me, but most of all, she’s enjoying doing her work.

Enjoy this issue of Reaching


Defining Success: 3 Steps to a Happier Life

In a world with so many coulds, woulds, shoulds and wants, how do you know how to select what’s best for you—what will make you successful?

Is it being way rich, way famous, way beautiful or way powerful? Or is something that comes from the inside? Here’s how you tell:

  • First, complete this sentence: “I know how successful I am by how _________(fill in the blank).” It’s important that you use this exact sentence structure and these words, because this will help you know not only how you define success for yourself, but when you are being successful.
  • Next, tweak your answer until you feel a tingle—and you know you’ve written what you truly believe. Here’s another place some coaching can help, but you can also do it yourself if you give it time and focus.
  • Finally, start living in a way that has you doing the thing that makes you feel successful. Notice how having this statement in writing starts to tug you in small—or even significant—ways toward doing what makes you feel the best.

Do this exercise for three things that make you feel successful…and you will become more and more successful every day.

Our Best Can Always Get Better

I said it last year, but it’s worth repeating, as we approach another Thanksgiving: I’m thankful that I have a great family, incredible friends and clients who inspire me even while they are hoping for some inspiration from me. I’m thankful for the feedback and encouragement I get from so many of you about these letters, my workshops and the help I’ve tried to give you through coaching; and that you’re spreading the word to people you care about.
These—along with the red sunrises and the purple sunsets—are only a few of the many reasons I have to give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!


It’s all connected

This month I was honored to present a workshop on motivating team members at a Toastmaster’s District Conference in Pennsylvania. I was also fortunate to catch the short motivational talk delivered by speaker Ty Howard.

“Good, better, best…never let it rest,” he began, “Until your good gets better and your better gets best.”

“Are you green and growing,” he asks, “or ripe and dying?”

I’ve often told clients that you need to decide what you want to accomplish and then expect to succeed. Ty says the same thing in another way: You need to (1) Commit to showing up prepared, expecting to succeed; (2) Decide to stretch for your best daily; (3) Enjoy where you’re going and what you’re doing; and (4) Do your best with everything you do.

I’ve watched a client commit to improving his health by running with his dog and have seen that one small change result in an increase in business. It’s all connected, isn’t it?