Little Steps

Have you ever heard someone complaining about their life and the next year that same person
is complaining about the same things? They say they’re miserable but continue to do the same
things in their lives.

Change can be very overwhelming to some people because they can’t see the big picture. This
is why people get stuck. They make a ton of excuses as to why they can’t change. Instead
of concentrating on the steps that will get them to the big picture, their goal, they
focus on the end result and make an assumption that they can’t achieve it even before taking
the first step toward making a change.

I recently attended Jack Canfield’s Breakthrough to Success and he told a story that demonstrated this. Sarah went to the doctors with the goal of losing weight. The doctor asked if she got any exercise to which Sarah said, “No. I work all day, pick up the kids, go home, cook dinner and just sit on the couch and relax.”

After doing a thorough workup the doctor told her he wanted her to start walking one mile on the treadmill. Sarah said, “Oh no. I can’t do that.”

The doctor asked, “Why not?”

Sarah replied, “I just can’t go that far and I don’t have the time.”

The doctor asked, “Well how do you know if you haven’t even tried it yet. Do you think you can walk a half a mile?’ Sarah again replied, “No I don’t think I can.”

The doctor said, “Okay, can you walk a quarter of a mile?” Sarah again replied, “No.”

Sensing resistance the doctor said, “Okay I want you to go to the gym and stand on the treadmill.” Sarah echoed back, “Stand on the treadmill? That’s all I have to do?”

“Yes,” the doctor replied.

The next day Sarah went to the gym and stood on the treadmill per the doctor’s instructions. The day after that Sarah went back to the gym and instead of just standing on the treadmill she began to walk a few steps. Each day Sarah took it one step at a time and walked farther
and farther. She is now running marathons.

Road blocks will pop up when changes need to be made. When you start with little changes first the big picture doesn’t look so far out of reach. The most important thing to remember is it doesn’t matter if you take little steps or big steps. What matters is you start taking the
steps to achieve your goals.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Stay Positive and SNNAP IT!


Are You a Finisher?

I recently heard Bill Butterworth tell a story about his friend Fred. Fred was the 2nd place US finisher in 1976 behind Bruce Jenner at the Olympic Games.

In 1980 Fred was the #1 decathlete in the world expected to win the Games but his dream was cut short when President Jimmy Carter boycotted the Olympic Games.

As with many athletes the window of opportunity passed. Four years later the 1984 Olympics were in Los Angeles. Fred lived in LA and decided to enter the trials. He became known as the Grand Daddy of decathletes.

Fred went to the LA trials and after 5 events on the 1st day he was in first place. The 2nd day after the 6th event Fred dropped to 4th place. He completed 2 more events with the discus throw next. Fred spun around, threw the discus further than he ever did,but he stepped out of the circle, fouled receiving no points. His 2nd attempt was shorter in distance but he fouled again. Fred’s coach said, “You’ve never fouled before. Just stand there and throw the discus.”

Not holding back on his 3rd attempt, Fred spun around and released the discus. It soared through the air past his longest mark, but again Fred was over the line. He received no points and dropped to 33rd place out of 33 contestants. He was tired and in last place.

Fred looked in the stands, found his wife and said, “We’re going home. I’m in last place with no chance to win. I’m not finishing.”

They got in the car, merged onto the freeway in dead silence. Twenty minutes into the ride home Fred blurted out “I have to go back. What kind of example am I setting for my children? I can’t tell them to finish something and me not complete my last event.”

Fred turned the car around and he and his wife sped back to the coliseum where the Olympic Trials were being held. As Fred arrived the other decathletes were preparing for the 1500 meter run. The officials got together and decided no rules were broken due to Fred’s leaving and allowed him to compete.

Fred ran as fast as he could but spent all his energy in the previous events. Going into the last 500 meters Fred was struggling. Suddenly, over the loud speaker the song Chariots of Fire began to play. Digging deep inside, Fred found a spark of energy and crossed the finish line. He was in last place.

Bent over gasping for air Fred noticed the news reporters running past the Olympic Team members and towards him. They wanted to  know what it was like to finish as the Grand Daddy. Fred said, “You never give up when tested.”

The greatest test will always come when you’re tired not when things are going well. The greatest test comes when you feel like giving up. Tell yourself, “I can handle this; I am close to my victory. I’ve come too far to stop now.”  The End has already been set; you determined that when you set your goal.

If you never feel like giving up, set your goals higher. If you never feel like quitting, dream bigger. Keep moving forward because good things are right around the corner. You can be just like Fred – Never give up…finish.

Stay Positive and SNNAP IT!


Are You a Dream Releaser?

There was a group of mountain climbers on Mt. Everest climbing. They were almost to the top when they passed a man lying in the snow unconscious. All members in the group climbed on past the dying man except one. The one man stopped to help. He took off his gloves and massaged the man’s hands, legs and body. Fifteen minutes later the man woke up. Both men walked down the mountain.

The gentleman that stopped to help went to see a doctor who said, “It’s good you stopped to massage that dying man because you were starting to get frostbite and by you massaging the other man you saved yourself.”

When we take time to help others we are really helping ourselves. You can add value to people’s lives by helping; you can be their dream releaser. Sometimes investing in someone else’s dream is exactly what they need to succeed. It may be an idea, it may be extra time to help them out.

Dream releasers believe in people before they succeed. Dream releasers look past the faults and see the possibilities. Some people may see this as you being “pushy” or “never satisfied” or “not good enough for you,” which is not the case. Dream releasers see the talent, expertise, passion and therefore see the success in people.

Sometimes dream releasers put their own dreams on hold to help others get ahead. We hear of wives putting husbands through MBA school, medical school, and law school and husbands putting wives through dental school, acting or whatever. Dream releasers believe in others.

One of my favorite moments was from the hit ABC Show Secret Millionaire where James Malinchak visited Adonia Community Service in Gary, Indiana. Adonia is an organization that voluntarily cleans up Gary. Yvonne Kemp funds it with her own money. James gave Yvonne a donation to her organization. Overwhelmed by the generosity she hugged James and said, “You’re the first one to believe in me.”

That is what dream releasers do for others. They believe and see the greatness and possibilities. Those who bend down to help others stand taller in the climb to success. One of the greatest feelings is when someone comes up to you and says, “I succeeded because of you.”

I used to coach gymnastics and ran into one of my gymnasts. We got to talking and she said, “I appreciated all those times when you stayed after practice to help me on a new skill. You helped me succeed and now when I see someone who needs extra help I stay and help them out.”

Joel Osteen said, “The greatest legacy is not what we leave for people. It’s what we leave in people.”

Stay Positive and SNNAP IT!



Loved watching the Oscars. Did you see the new Secret Millionaire trailers. My brother James Malinchak is featured on the March 20th episode. Everyone watch it.

Mindset of a Winner

Do you ever run into people who only find the negative things in life or blame everyone else for their problems?

I was at the airport waiting in a large check in line that wrapped around 3 times. In front of me was a gentleman who was agitated by the long line, complained about security and anything else he could find to complain about including his life. He certainly was outspoken and it made me think back to a statement I recently heard. “No one has a choice to when they live, but everyone has a choice to HOW they live.”

Here was this young man who appeared healthy and in good shape complaining about his life.

Let me share a story about an amazing young man, Patrick Henry Hughes. Patrick was born without eyes or the ability to straighten his arms and legs. He is unable to walk and has 2 steel rods in his spine. Patrick had every reason to make excuses and complain about his life, but he didn’t.

Patrick was a virtuoso pianist and a trumpet player in the university of Louisville marching band. He has a bestselling book “I Am Potential” and has been featured on ESPN, ABC, Oprah, CBS, The Ellen Show, Extreme Makeover and many more.

On the ESPN special Patrick said, “God made me blind and unable to walk – BIG DEAL. He also let me make music.”

Now is that the attitude and mindset of a winner or what!

Self Acceptance

Recently I read Gracenomics by Mike Foster. He explained the difference between self esteem and self acceptance. “Self esteem celebrates only the good – or esteemable in us.”

“Self acceptance doesn’t just accept the admirable things, it embraces all aspects of ourselves – both positive and negative.

Philosopher, Carl Jeng, writes no matter how great you are – you carry a shadow. When you choose to ignore the shadow it doesn’t fix the bad in you, it just lowers your awareness. When you lower awareness it makes you susceptible to even greater failures.

We all have shadows. We all have failures in life or have fallen short on goals or dreams. Most of the time when we fail, human nature has us beating ourselves up. The negative thoughts start popping in.

Instead of listening to those negative thoughts, make friends with the losers inside; make friends with your shadow. Use your losses or “failed attempts” to make adjustments and learn.

Mark Horvath, Founder of Invisible People, tells about the plight of homeless people in America by videotaping stories. Mark does this because he was once homeless. He used his failure to ignite a passion to help the homeless.

Next time you have a failure or fall short on a goal or dream, make friends with your shadow, learn from it. See your failures as opportunities and ignite the passion in you.

Stay Positive and SNNAP IT!


Be Thankful – Happy Thanskgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for a lot. We get together with family and friends and declare our thanks and gratitude. Why should that be on Thanksgiving only? Why not make it every day because you never know when someone you love, someone you know, someone you care about won’t be there for you to say “I love you.” Take the time to thank those in your life now, those who may have been in your life, those who may enter your life, those you were angry at, those you love, those who may helped you out of a tough situation and those you have yet to meet. Today my heart is heavy as this is the anniversary of the passing of my sister, Vicki. My brother James said it best in the story he wrote for Chicken Soup for the Teenagers Soul, “A Brothers Voice.” Happy Thanksgiving Today and Every Day. Stay Positive and SNNAP IT!Cindy ================ A Brother’s Voice Most people have an inspiration in their life. Maybe it’s a talk with someone you respect or an experience. Whatever the inspiration, it tends to make you look at life from a different perspective. My inspiration came from my sister Vicki, a kind and caring person. She didn’t care about accolades or being written about in newspapers. All she wanted was to share her love with the people she cared about, her family and friends.

The summer before my junior year of college, I received a phone call from my father saying that Vicki was rushed to the hospital. She had collapsed and the right side of her body was paralyzed. The preliminary indications were that she suffered a stroke. However, test results confirmed it was much more serious. There was a malignant brain tumor causing her paralysis. Her doctors didn’t give her more than three months to live. I remember wondering how this could happen? The day before Vicki was perfectly fine. Now, her life was coming to an end at such a young age.

After overcoming the initial shock and feeling of emptiness, I decided that Vicki needed hope and encouragement. She needed someone to make her believe that she would overcome this obstacle. I became Vicki’s coach. Every day we would visualize the tumor shrinking and everything that we talked about was positive. I even posted a sign on her hospital room door that read, “If you have any negative thoughts, leave them at the door.” I was determined to help Vicki beat the tumor. She and I made a deal that we called 50-50. I would do 50% of the fighting and Vicki would do the other 50%.

The month of August arrived and it was time to begin my junior year of college 3,000 miles away. I was unsure whether I should leave or stay with Vicki. I made the mistake of telling her that I might not leave for school. She became angry and said not to worry because she would be fine. There was Vicki lying ill in a hospital bed telling me not to worry. I realized that if I stayed it might send a message that she was dying and I didn’t want her believing that. Vicki needed to believe that she could win against the tumor.

Leaving that night feeling it might be the last time I would ever see Vicki alive was the most difficult thing I have ever done. While at school, I never stopped fighting my 50% for her. Every night before falling asleep I would talk to Vicki, hoping that there was some way she could hear me. I would say, “Vicki, I’m fighting for you and I will never quit. As long as you never quit fighting we will beat this.”

A few months had passed and she was still holding on. I was talking with an elderly friend and she asked about Vicki’s situation. I told her that she was getting worse but that she wasn’t quitting. My friend asked a question that really made me think. She said, “Do you think the reason she hasn’t let go is because she doesn’t want to let you down?”

Maybe she was right? Maybe I was selfish for encouraging Vicki to keep fighting? That night before falling asleep, I said to her, “Vicki, I understand that you’re in a lot of pain and that you might like to let go. If you do, then I want you to. We didn’t lose because you never quit fighting. If you want to go on to a better place then I understand. We will be together again. I love you and I’ll always be with you wherever you are.” Early the next morning, my mother called to tell me that Vicki had passed away.

Impossible is not a Word

The other day I was sitting in a restaurant and overheard a young man speaking candidly about a dream he had of developing a software program. I was too far away to hear the particulars but he talked about it with passion. He spoke about the benefits and the obstacles that could stand in his way. His friend said, “There are so many obstacles against you.” The young man said, “You’re right. It’s going to be impossible. I think I’ll come up with something else.” Everyone has dreams. How many times have you dreamt of something, got close and then gave up? How many times have you decided to change your life, but you are still where you were before? One of my favorite song lyrics says it all. “It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard, Impossible is not a word. It’s just a reason for someone not to try.” Everyone wants the impossible dream but few people actually achieve it because they don’t try, give up too soon or they listen to other people telling them their dream is impossible.  Doctors said it was impossible to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Twenty-five year old Roger Bannister proved the impossible was possible and ran the mile in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds. Forty-six days after Roger did the impossible it was done again by another runner. To date 955 runners have achieved the impossible dream.  The late Christopher Reeve once said, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon becomeinevitable.” Stay Positive and SNNAP IT! Cindy  

Getting to the Wall is easy

I love college football season. I love hearing the players and coaches talk with enthusiasm and excitement. You can hear the passion in their voices as they proclaim their goals for the year. At the beginning of the season the enthusiasm and excitement are high. Coaches and players are standing up straight, heads held high.

After the first couple of weeks the games get harder and teams get better. It becomes more difficult to win games. Players and coaches are playing to be the best they can. Some teams win, some teams lose. Watching interviews of the losing team I noticed the demeanor was different. Their shoulders were slouched over the podium, heads down, voices slower, enthusiasm gone. Some call this hitting a wall.

When you hit the wall what do you do? Well, you have options. You can quit; you can do the same things to prepare that you did before or you can give a little extra effort.

I read a story in The Compound Effect about Lou Holtz, the famous football coach, who knows it’s what you do after you’ve done your best that creates victories. During one game Lou’s team was down 42-0 at halftime and Lou showed his team a highlight reel of second efforts to block, tackle, and intercept the ball. He told his players they were not on his team because they could give their all on every play; every player on the team does that. He said they were on his team because of their ability to make that critical extra effort on each play. It’s the extra effort after you’ve done your best that is the difference maker. Lou Holtz’s team went on to win that game.

Getting to the wall is easy. It’s what you do after you hit the wall that counts.

Stay Positive and SNNAP IT!



I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Darren Hardy,publisher and editorial director of SUCCESS magazine and author of The Compound Effect. Darren was talking about success and how success is the result of the moment-to-moment choices we make. Small choices add up to BIG results. If you want to lose weight but you choose a burger and coke instead of a salad and water over the years those small choices become big results.

He went on to explain why people fail at becoming successful. The first is that the results are invisible and we don’t think our plans are working. It takes patience to be successful.

The second was subtle and deceptive. An example is if a plane makes a one degree turn it can go off course by 150 miles. When you make small bad choices along the way you can end up off course.

The third is people are addicted to immediate gratification. Some people do things because it makes them feel good in that current moment even though they know it’s a bad choice. They get immediate gratification but they fail to think about what consequences their choices will have in the future.

“What gives you short term pleasure gives you long term pain; What gives you short term pain gives you long term pleasure.”

The last trap was what’s easy to do is also easy NOT to do.

Success is not a result of heroic feats, grand acts or quantum leaps. Success is the result of the moment-to-moment choices you make.

Success is earned one day at a time, one step at a time. You never own success, you only rent it and the rent is due each day.

Stay Positive and SNNAP IT!