09/27/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Want Success? Change Your Attitude and Be Shameless!

My daughter is a cheerleader for California All Stars, an elite academy for this competitive sport that makes the cheers I used to see at high school football games look like elementary age patty-cake. When she injured herself in a bike accident and couldn't cheer she began to huff and puff about going to practice to support her team. She said, "I will be bored and I won't learn anything." My response was "Change your attitude and you will change your experience."

I explained to her that if she went into that gym with her eyes and attitude open she would see the things others were doing that didn't look sharp or what looked amazing that she may want to try and emulate that would help her perform her back-tuck perfectly. By the time she got home her coach had emailed me and said her attitude was great while she was there. My daughter shared with me that she actually learned a lot just by watching. Without changing her attitude her experience that day would have been completely different.

There is a direct link between our attitude and the way we behave. There is a direct link between the way we behave and success in every area of our lives. When people come in contact with us they respond to the outer expression of our inner attitudes. Since our actions are based on our attitude towards any given situation, attitude must be considered one of the key ingredients for success, not just in business but in recovery, relationships and life in general.

Let's look at some great success stories. What was their attitude towards success, life, relationships, healthy boundaries, and balance in their lives? Why did they succeed? Was it their skills alone? In most cases successful individuals have a driving attitude to succeed. Milton Hershey failed many times before getting his chocolate bar just right. Donald Trump was bankrupt and still never gave up or caved in and The Chicken Soup for the Soul guys were told "no thanks" more than a hundred times before they got their one "yes".

It is even a well-known fact in the medical community that a positive attitude along with laughter produces what has been dubbed the "miracle drug" within you. So, what is your attitude? Be brutally honest with yourself here. Do you live thinking that any situation is an opportunity for success or do you believe that sooner or later something bad is going to happen? Do you have self-limiting beliefs from your childhood like I used to? I used to think "I am worthless" or "I will never get out of this mess". My mess was that I believed all the negative things I was programmed with growing up in a violent, self-destructive atmosphere. Today I say "this is an exciting door opening for me and I am going to take this opportunity to shine" in nearly every situation. How did I flip that?

Obviously, I first had to realize that I needed a reality check and needed to do some serious internal housekeeping and take deep emotional inventory. But knowing we need to isn't enough. Without action you won't break free from the behaviors that keep you from crossing that finish line of your dreamBIG goals. I knew, even as a homeless teen after leaving my abusive life behind, that I must WANT to and ACT to correct past programming and in turn my attitude and my experiences. The most practical way to change attitudes is through repetition, which is how attitudes were developed in the first place, like breaking a bad habit and having a negative attitude certainly qualifies as a bad habit!

Remember, it takes 28 days with continuous, consistent and positive re-enforcement, to break a habit. Another powerful tool to change attitudes is affirmations and, once again, actions to back them up and I have a great story to share that proves my point. Becoming an author didn't happen over night. Before I ever had an agent or a publisher I designed a book cover in my mind, created it photoshop and printed it out. I found the right size book on my shelf that this new cover could be pasted to and took that book with the new cover on it to Barnes and Noble. I put it on the shelf. I sat there and stared at it picturing my book one day being there. Today it is on that shelf in that Barnes and Noble, the same Barnes and Noble that had a standing room only crowd for my book signing.

I needed to go there and see it happening and see myself as a published author. I put it on my coffee table and looked at it every single day and knew it was only a matter of when and who would be the right home for my story. Continuous use of positive affirmations have a tremendous influence on how we see ourselves; how we see ourselves impacts our attitude; our attitude impacts how we act; how we act impacts our success.

Developing and following an action plan to accomplish your goal with positive affirmations to guide you is great. But the big secret: be shameless! I was shameless going to Barnes and Noble with a book that had a glued on cover that I designed myself. I didn't care. Inside I knew why I was doing it. What anyone else thought simply didn't matter to me. To me, my published book was already on that shelf helping to inspire millions of people to break free from victimhood, embrace acceptance and discover self-love and leap into their better than ever!

Going from homeless teen and hostage survivor to where I am today took vision, guts, strength I didn't even know I had and a whole lot of soul searching. But it also took action. Don't see yourself where you are. See yourself where you are positively headed with an attitude of success and slowly you will see your life changing, your experiences becoming more vibrant and positive and loving, personally and professionally. What I discovered was this very simple formula: While juggling, balancing, breathing and being shamelessly ambitious in setting my intentions, a positive attitude combined with actions, affirmations, visualization, skills and goals result in success.

If you want to read more, visit my website at and sign up for my newsletter, 8 Week Teleclass or pre-order my upcoming ebook, "How To Be Your Own Success Genie."