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Surround Yourself With Successful People

This week we are starting Part Three of The Success Principles Workbook by Chicken Soup for the Soul Co-Author Jack Canfield. I started this weekly endeavor over the summer in an attempt to get myself 'from where I am to where I want to be' - a stronger and wiser Domestic Violence Survivor who is learning to become a confident CEO of her own company. The workbook recommends that I pair up with an accountability partner, but since I couldn't find one I decided to blog about it instead. Every week I'm reading and sharing highlights from a new chapter. I hope this can provide support for those who are also seeking a partner as they navigate through this book.

Part Three is titled "Build Your Success Team" and Chapter 14 is called "Surround Yourself With Successful People." It is quite true that you become like the people you spend the most time with. I remember when I was in middle school, I spent a lot of time with a group of Asian kids. Many of them wore shell-toed Adidas sneakers and Tommy Hilfiger overalls or bell bottom jeans. As I spent more time with them, I started dressing like them to fit in. But when I became best friends with a Caucasian girl, she gave me a mixed cassette tape with all of her favorite alternative punk rock songs. I gradually stopped listening to K-Pop and learned to like Nirvana and Reel Big Fish instead. My friend was also a vegetarian, so I thought it was cool that she ate rice with only soy sauce. And I found myself ditching my brand name clothes and opting to shop at thrift stores along Melrose Ave.

The book says it's critically important to intentionally choose the people I spend time with, because I'll tend to take on the mindset, motivations, and even mannerism of those people.


Mentors have played crucial roles in my professional growth throughout my adult life. They share their life experiences as well as give you sage advice... well, most of the time. I had one mentor who, when I asked about whether or not to date firefighters I had to work with, said "Who cares! Date whoever the hell you want!" I listened to her advice, and let's just say it did not end well.

But for the most part, mentors are people who have already accomplished what you want to accomplish. In my case, they were news anchors at bigger TV stations. Now as a solopreneur, I have a business counselor through the Little Tokyo Service Center. She offers me a lot of great advice and guidance as I plan out my small business. She also helped me to get my first big partnership opportunity with a major publication. I think the most important part about having a mentor/coach to me is getting the encouragement I need to not give up on my dreams.


Another way to spend time with successful people is to check out their work. Right now I'm listening to a lot of Joyce Meyer's audiobooks via Hoopla, a free digital library app provided by my local library. I've also enjoyed listening to Oprah, Brené Brown, Rachel Hollis and Jack Canfield.


I love talking with people who have achieved a great amount of success. I get so inspired by their stories of passion and perseverance. As a journalist, I've had the privilege of interviewing countless successful people such as my childhood ice-skating idol Kristi Yamaguchi, financial expert Dave Ramsey, and A-list celebrities including Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan.

But you don't have to be a Reporter to talk to about of these folks. Jack writes that fear of rejection keeps most of us away from taking that first step that anyone can take - to simply reach out and ask for an interview. If they say no, that's fine. But they may say yes and the conversation that follows can be life-changing.


Hanging out with other successful people is one thing, but the book challenges me to ask them to share their success strategies. Trying them out for myself and seeing if they work for me can help me to get a step closer to achieving my goals.

The workbook has me make a list of my current and future groups. This part stresses me out, because I don't like charts and I see pages of them. I'm a closet introvert and get anxious thinking about needing to fill in these blanks and reach out to so many different people. A chart of about 10 blank rows follows each section:

Evaluate your Current Group

Name | How She/He Contributes to My Success | How He/She Handles My Success

With Whom Would You Rather Spend Time?

Name | How She/He Could Contribute to My Success or Growth | How Will I Approach This Person? | By When

Your Ideal Mentors

Name | What I Want to Learn from Him/Her | By When

Groups to Explore

What Would Be Helpful to You? | Local Group to Check Out and Maybe Join | By When

Make an Appointment - Each day this week, call one person on the previous lists and ask if they would be willing to share their knowledge and experience with you. Schedule a meeting with those who agree.

Name | When We Will Meet

On the back of the workbook are these questions:

The most important things I learned from this chapter are:

How I intend to benefit from spending time with the people I identified in this chapter:

On a personal note, keep in mind that the people who you thought would be the most helpful to you may disappoint you. The mentor I was most excited about when I was a budding journalist totally ghosted me once I got to a sizable TV market. Besides one drunk text to the wrong Christine, I never heard from her no matter how much I tried to stay in touch. People come and go, and there's really no way to know for sure who will stay with you until the end. So have an open mind and realize we're all humans as we try to build alliances and meaningful relationships with those around us.



The night I met one of my favorite mentors, Denise Nakano, at the Asian American Journalists Association Convention in Boston, MA


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