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Are You Beating The Success Trap? How Do You Define Success? What Are You Doing To Achieve It?    Are you living the life you want? Are you settling for less than a full, vibrant existence? Are you living someone else's definition of success? What is your definition of a successful life? Read this article to discover how to avoid false happiness, redefine success your way, and continually reinvent yourself so you can follow your bliss and create true meaning in your life. Bill Cole interviews Ed Brodow, the author of the book Beating the Success Trap, to discover these answers. Brodow tells how anyone can be a winner in life if they live life on their own terms and realize that "life is not a trial run" -- it's the real deal.    607 words.
The Mental Game Coach, Peak Performance Playbook

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Are You Beating The Success Trap?

How Do You Define Success?
What Are You Doing To Achieve It?

Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California

Are you living the life you want? Are you settling for less than a full, vibrant existence? Are you living someone else's definition of success? How are you answering these issues?

These are some of the many hard-hitting questions contained in the exciting new book, Beating the Success Trap (HarperCollins, 2003) by Ed Brodow, one of the nation's top negotiation experts. Ed is also the author of Negotiate with Confidence (American Media, 1996), and has been featured as negotiation guru on PBS The Business Channel. I recently interviewed Ed, seeking his nuggets of success wisdom.

Ed Brodow is a personal testament to escaping the clutches of the success trap. In his quest for a successful lifestyle, he has been a Marine Corps officer, IBM computer salesman, movie actor, construction worker, motivational speaker, toilet cleaner, author, elevator operator, and television personality.

While working as a highly-paid sales manager for a major computer manufacturer, Ed asked himself this defining question: "What if your doctor told you that you have only six months to live? How would you want to spend that time?" He realized that he was fed up with the rat race and created his own definition of success: "Starting right now, spend your time doing what is meaningful to you." Quitting his button-down, corporate job, he became a movie and television actor, and then a motivational speaker, and has never looked back.

When those around him in the corporate world were clinging to their safe, yet confining treadmill existences, Ed was striking out as an iconoclastic risk-taking rebel. He reflects, "I always wanted to do things my way. I had the vision of wanting to follow my bliss. Early on, I saw how short life could be. I decided then that I wanted to live life as fully as possible. I have continually reinvented myself. I'm now on my fourth career. Maybe it's my upbringing, I really don't know, but I just never wanted to be satisfied with being dissatisfied."

Brodow argues that millions of Americans who have acquired the symbols of success do not feel successful. Instead of pursuing our true desires, we have been brainwashed to seek very superficial and ego-based ideals. He has a very entertaining and illuminating chapter describing this false happiness, aptly named, "If I'm So Successful, Why Am I Taking Prozac?"

He had a hot run as a commercial, TV and feature film actor (playing opposite big stars like Jessica Lange, Ron Howard and Christopher Reeve) and says of those experiences, "There are no guarantees in life--in fact the movie business is a very insecure one--and it taught me I could mold my life into anything I wanted. It gave me great freedom and got me out of thinking like a 9-5 type person."

Here are Ed Brodow's top tips for beating the success trap:

  1. Know what you want and ask for it.
  2. Learn how to live in the moment.
  3. Visualize what your perfect day would look like.
  4. Clear your mind of abusive thoughts that hold you back, and tell yourself that you deserve to be a success.
  5. Stop accepting abusive behavior from bosses, co-workers, friends, and family.
  6. Be fully committed to the task of changing your life.

He exhorts his readers to redefine "success" so their lifestyles are true to their own temperaments and preferences.

Ed's final advice to me mirrors his own deeply-felt personal life philosophy: "Stop and re-evaluate your life. Then have the guts to keep charging ahead. Recognize that persistence is one of the key qualities of people who reach their goals. Remember, life is not a trial run."

Learn more about Ed's philosophy and his book at BeatingTheSuccessTrap.com.

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Copyright © 2011- Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.

Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com), an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.

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Beating the Success Trap, book by Ed Brodow  
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