Category Archives: S – Set Yourself Up For SUCCESS

12 Goals in 12 Months – A Mans Journey and He is Blogging About It

Who made New Years
resolutions this year?

How many did you keep?!

I met an author at a blogging conference a couple years ago named  Donna Cutting. Donna wrote a great book called The Celebrity Experience: Insider Secrets to Delivering Red Carpet Customer Service.

She sent me a note about her cousin who embarked on a cool journey this year. At 34 and gay and living in Los Angeles,   he is examining his life….and setting some goals. “Turning 34 has got me to think about what more I want from life and how I can go about getting it. I’m taking control and trying to shake up my simple routine. For the next 12 months, I will be trying to accomplish 12 carefully selected goals that will fulfill lifelong dreams, overcome fears, improve my quality of life or give me memorable experiences I never thought possible.”

His name is Liam Gillen and he lives in Los Angeles. “My life’s defining moment came 8 years ago when I took a vacation to LA to see a live taping of Will & Grace. When I got to the studio and was escorted into the audience seating area, I was in awe at the sight of Will Truman’s living room only twenty feet away. It’s difficult to explain, but right then and there I made the decision to move to LA. I understood that moving just for the sake of living where television is made was drastic.  Six years later, I am still living like a LA tourist and wondering what else life has in store for me!”

He set up the site and decided to blog about his journey as a way to help keep himself on track. Knowing that friends, family and even complete strangers are holding him accountable,  will force him to stay motivated. 

It’s a great idea! Some of the goals are very targeted, like becoming more financially responsible. And some will be more challenging than others… 
like having dinner with Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper!  But hey, it’s good to have goals! Plus you never know who is going to read your blog.

Liam is a clever and witty writer and on a great journey. I wanted to share his site with all of you and perhaps you will check it out.

12 Goals 12 Months

And Kathy, if you are reading this, Liam is waiting for your call!


How Do You Measure SUCCESS? And Are Your Parents Proud of You?

– I  just turned 50.
– It’s the end of the year.
– My father had a heart attack yesterday.

– And I just watched
Everybody’s Fine!
NOT a good combination of things.

(If you have never seen the movie Everybody’s Fine, it’s about Frank (Robert De Niro) who just lost his wife, and without their mother by his side, Frank’s grown children aren’t compelled to visit for the holidays. So he hits the road to visit them — collecting various revelations and learning about himself along the way. Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell and Melissa Leo co-star in writer-director Kirk Jones’s family tale, an update of Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1990 Italian film.)

For the last few months, as I approached the big 50, I found myself reflecting on my life, where I have been, and what I have accomplished. I have been doing a lot of reading and soul-searching….

Many people think of fame and/or  fortune when they measure success. I have not achieved either, yet. I don”t need to be a millionaire (though that would be nice!) I just want to be happy, have my bills paid, make a comfortable living, have money for retirement to live on and not have to be stressed every month. Is that too much to ask for?  

I really thought by now, I would have a great income and be able to look ahead with some sense of security.
I’m always amazed when I see the retirement savings statistics. It’s a scary picture when you know how much money it actually takes to retire with security. I know how much it takes me to live RIGHT NOW. It’s going be MORE, not less, when I retire. My parents at least got their home paid off in their lifetime. Most of this  generation WILL NOT. Did you know that less than 5% of workers will achieve anything remotely close to financial security.

50 million Americans had 401(k) plans worth $2.5 trillion at the 2007 market top which subsequently lost over $1 trillion by October 2008 (even more since then!). Another $1 trillion in IRA assets vanished as well.

Over 60% of households are financially unprepared and lagging greatly on retirement savings.

Enough of THAT depressing topic!  At some point in life, most people come to realize that happiness, inner peace and soul-deep satisfaction come not from fame and fortune, but having lived a life based on integrity and noble character. I was taught to ALWAYS try my best….to do the RIGHT thing…to be a good person and to be responsible.

So I have been pondering….Personal Success… Who am I? Do I possess Character?   Am I a person of Integrity?

Do family and friends respect me?-   How is my relationship with my family? Do those who know me best respect me most?

Vocational Success…. Am I a successful businessperson? Am I fulfilling my vocational or entrepreneurial call by using my gifts, leading by example and empowering others to do the same?

A Successful Ministry….Am I serving others? Do I love others as I love myself?

It’s a very fine line.  On one hand, I have not yet achieved what I think I should be achieving financially and vocationally.  On the other hand, I have achieved a lot, in other areas.

In many cases, our parents were always there to support us morally, financially and emotionally. They taught us to be independent and to face the world with courage and determination to succeed. Every thing we had right now,  we owe it to our parents.They been supportive to us from the moment we were born in this world till we grown-up. And they also gave support on us in our studies.

How do you make them proud of you? As I get older, and so do my parents, I want to make them proud of me. I want to be SUCCESSFUL, whatever that word means.

Too often too many of us seem to focus on what is not. We take stock on what we thought we would be by now, what we thought we might have accomplished, where we thought we might have made a mark, and keep a score solely on the goals where we fell short. Too often we sit with that mental list looking at a new year feeling already behind because of what didn’t happen in this one.
Are you doing that now? It’s not the best way of reflecting on what we know. What we didn’t do last year is not the best way of deciding what this year might best be about.  

Consider this…

Someone told me recently, “Successful businesses and successful people don’t always meet every benchmark. They know that conditions change and opportunities appear that might rearrange strategies and priorities.They weigh and value their position and progress constantly to make sure that what they’re aiming toward is still where they want to go. They constantly revisit and review their benchmarks to be sure those benchmarks support forward growth.
It’s the forward growth that matters. The benchmarks aren’t the prize the growth is.”

As this year comes to a close and I look ahead, I am inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who  was a brilliant writer.  He said….

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

“Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

“Always do what you are afraid to do.”

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right.”

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”

The true joy of life is the trip

Life on the Train

Happy New Year
Michael  Snell


The Power of Self-Image and Confidence That Comes from Clear Skin

First let me preface this by saying that this IS NOT a paid testimonial or affiliate marketing plug, but instead just a personal story that I wish to share with you.

For many years I’ve had the pleasure to do a lot of public speaking and certainly the confidence and self-image I feel comes across to the audience.  My skin, especially my face, has been very high maintenance since my teens and diminished  how I feel about myself (photo is from last Thursday, I could have used some more powder to reduce the shine ~ it was very hot in this club:-). 

Many of my problems can probably globally be attributed to the winter vacation trips from Michigan to Florida where I would lay out in the sun covered in baby or olive oil on a mirror-reflector-type panel to be sure I returned home  looking like George Hamilton.  Obviously, these were pre-sun-screen-era days and everyone did it. 

However, usually by day 3 of the trip, my skin would start to peel from the burns and I usually returned home and back to school looking like I had a disease, as opposed to this gorgeous Florida sun-kissed tan I was seeking.

In addition, I was in an accident in 2005 that required $20,000 of plastic surgery to repair, so needless to say, I am aware of how my face appears and it can definitely make me very self-concious.

Anywho, today my skin and face remain very problematic for whatever reasons.  Over the last 2 years I’ve struggled with these cysts under the skin that are hard and never “erupt” like a typical blocked pore or acne would do.  I underwent a laser treatment that blasted 98 cysts on my face- major ugh.  The recovery time was about six weeks before I felt comfortable being seen in public and in some spots I was left with these deep, pitted scars from the laser treatment itself.  Within six months the cysts began to return – how nice is that, huh?

My dermatologist suggested I take a low dose of Accutane.  Let me tell you about this drug:  A nightmare to get every 30 days because it has been proven to cause birth defects in a percentage of women who got pregnant while on it!  So as a gay man you would think I wouldn’t have to jump through all the same hoops every 30 days, I’m not planning on procreating anytime soon, but I did have to go through all this crazy stuff and my Doctor had to be involved every month, because it can also be toxic to the liver and has so many other potential devastating side effects and you have to have blood work done nearly every month to make sure your liver isn’t being damaged and more, and more, and more ~ nice right!?

So I quit taking the pills after a few months and the cysts continued.  I had a friend suggest ProActiv’s program but I remembered watching on The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency’s show last season her promotion of Sensi-Clear (I admit, I do love Janice ~ think she’s fabulous and love her show!).  And I was amazed at the results of some of her models (now in the new season) and how clear their skin looked…so I tried it.

Immediately (within first 2 days) my skin responded.  I don’t have any before and after photos to share (by choice) so you’ll just have to trust me. 

The program is really simple, 3-4 steps AM or PM, and the Acne Spot Reduction Cream which I put on at night on the cysts really has done a better job of reducing them than the Accutane and without the side-effects and the drama of getting a nasty, health hazardous prescription filled each month.

So my point of this post is…  if you have any facial skin issues – give this program a try – what do you have to loose.  It’s like $7.95 for S&H only for month one (product is free) and $25 total each month thereafter for all products.  I’m extremely pleased with how my face looks each day therefore my self-image and confidence and how I come across to others continues to grow again and I feel very comfortable speaking to groups without being concerned of how my face looks up close.

Let me know if you try it, again this is not a paid promo and what sort of results you see and if it worked for you and helped with your self-esteem!

All the very best!
Derrick Sorles

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Gay Australian Diver Matthew Mitcham Wins The Gold!


The 20-year-old Sydney diver produced the highest scoring dive in the history of the Olympics with his sixth and final effort to become Australia’s first male Olympic gold medalist in diving since Dick Eve in 1924!

Matthew Mitcham of Australia, earning four perfect 10s on his last dive, won the men’s 10-meter platform in an upset over the weekend that prevented China from sweeping the eight Olympic diving gold medals – making him an instant gay icon.

The Olympic diver is unfazed about being the first openly gay Australian to go to the Olympics. “It’s so rare because theres such a macho mentality with male elite sports.” Being dubbed sexy is another matter: “I see myself as goofy…I was always really skinny as a kid.”

Mitcham is the only man among 10,500 Olympic athletes who declared himself homosexual. But he refused to be categorized as the only gay in the athletes’ village.

“I just want to be known as the Australian diver who did really well at the Olympics,” he said. “It’s everybody else who thinks it’s special when homosexuality and elite sports go together.”


“It’s absolutely surreal. I never thought that this would be possible,” Mitcham said.

“I wasn’t even sure of my medal chances at all. After I did my last dive and I saw I was in first, I thought, “That’s it, it’s a silver medal, I am so happy with this’ and then I won. I can’t believe it, I’m so happy.

My cheeks hurt from smiling – my face hurts from chlorine – my legs are sore from jumping up and down – I didn’t think I would win the GOLD! I AM SO HAPPY!”

NEVER stop designing your life! Keep pushing. Keep dreaming. And set yourself up for success!



from the
New Gay Travel Guide
and the Official Life By Design sites!

Turbo Tagger


How to Stand Out in a Crowd and Meet People

Do you ever go to party or networking work function and spot people who seem to know everyone and talking to everyone?

Before moving to Chicago full time, my partner and I lived in Michigan and for 18 months, had an apartment in Chicago, before transitioning here full time. It was our “weekend cabin.”

After a year of spending weekends here, we were out one Sunday having brunch with a friend who had lived here for 15 years. As we walked down the street and said “hi” to various familiar faces, he could not believe how many people we knew and did not even live here yet! And he questioned how we could possibly know more people than him.

 So many people go through life never talking to strangers. Or they are so self-absorbed they have no desire to meet new people. Or maybe someone is just shy and has a hard time stepping out of their comfort zone. We talk to strangers all the time and are always networking.

Here are a few tips to be that friendly, more out-going person…

Stand up straight and look people directly in the eye when talking to them. Self-assurance is very attractive. If you have to fake it, then fake it. It gets easier the more you practice. People will believe that there must be some underlying reason for your self-confidence.

Smile and make eye contact with every person you speak with. But don’t stare. Flirt a little. Even if you are passing by a stranger and happen to make eye contact – do you smile at them? or say hi?

Compliment each person you talk to and find out something interesting about them. It’s not ALL ABOUT YOU! It’s about THEM. Ask questions. People are most interested in themselves. Everyone has something intriguing about them – you just may have to dig a little to find it.

Work the room – if you are at an event or party, Circulate! Don’t get trapped with the same people all evening. Break away within ten-fifteen minutes of meeting someone and move on. You can always come back. If someone drones on and on, excuse yourself immediately and walk away.

Exchange cards with people. You know how many times I go out and give someone my card, and they say they didn’t bring any with them!  ALWAYS CARRY YOUR CARDS! And if you don’t use a business card, have a personal card made. VISTA PRINT offers basically free business cards! Create a fun and conversational card. I hate seeing people write down their name and phone numbers on a cocktail napkin! – And make a habit to follow up with people afterwards. Amazingly, 67% of people do not follow up in business.

Introduce people you meet to each other. I know so many people who never do this. This gives you the appearance of being popular and helps you to remember names and faces.  –  When I meet a stranger who might be new in town and know no one, if they hang out with us for a day they will met at least 10 new people.

Invest  a couple hours each week, to your own individual personal and professional development. Never stop learning or designing your life! Stretch your comfort zone and take risks. You only go through this life once – maximize it! Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary?!

Turbo Tagger


The Large Monkey – Motivated Monkey Book and Me, Derrick Sorles

       E-Zine, Article City, and Go Articles
Those sites have great page rank and search engine lift. In fact, most days if you GOOGLE
my name in quotes, I come up as an “expert author” on page one, slot one!
A few months ago I wrote an article on this site titled, “Writing a Personal Mission Statement.”

This company in the UK, TLM – The Large Monkey, found  my article about the mission statement,
because I had submitted it to one of these article hub sites. And they contacted me to get permission
to use my article in their upcoming book, Motivated Monkey!

Jim Rohn,

Brian Tracy, Steve Chandler, Jack Canfield,

and ME!

Pretty impressive company!

   A bit about  The Large Monkey –   “We create and sell unique Ebooks on a variety of subjects,
books written by some of the worlds most well known and respected figures and by people like
you, people who have a story to tell.
Our books have a minimal carbon footprint and we donate a massive 25%
of all profits to charity, much more than most other businesses.

Every book that we sell benefits one of the worlds most needing charities.
From the environment to helping the poor to saving endangered species.
We will produce books dedicated to many different causes.”

The moral of the story – there are so many ways to spread your word on the Internet for free!
Take advantage of all the tools to promote yourself and/or your business and you could be in
their next book “The Monkey Monkey” on entrepreneurialism to benefit The Red Cross!

The book is available now for $6.97

Derrick Sorles


2007 – A New Year – A New YOU!

New Year’s Resolutions, for many, these words bring up memories of previous failed attempts at setting
and reaching goals. Setting resolutions to start the year off can be a wonderful thing. It shows your desire
to improve yourself, your life and the lives of those closest to you. But reaching goals requires planning and follow through. Understanding the reasons why most New Year’s Resolutions fail can help you work through your goals and increase your chances for success.

Goals are over-ambitious.

What type of goals do you normally set? Do you want to lose 50 pounds this year, organize your whole home, or learn a new sport? Maybe your expectations are not realistic. – Try to break down your goals into manageable chunks. For example, maybe instead of organizing your entire home, you want to set a more achievable goal of organizing one room in your home. You can set one goal per month, rather than setting a large goal for the entire year.

You are setting goals based on what you think you should want, not what you really want.

Setting goals because they work for someone else does not make them appropriate for you. Whenever you try to measure up to someone else’s way of life, you are creating goals that are not reasonable. Instead, take a look at your own life and decide what area you would like to work on, just for you. Choose this area as a place to start your self-improvement.

Goals are not specific and do not have a plan of action.

Goals, without a specific plan on achieving the goal, are simply wishes. “I wish I was more organized” will not prompt you into action. “I plan on becoming more organized this year. First, I will create a calendar to easily show all the important dates. Once I complete that, I will organize my desk at home, throwing away any papers I no longer need.” By writing your goal and the process on paper, you change from wish to goal.

This month we will remind you of the  ways for you to really live your life by design.

D- Decide what it is you really want
E – Establish a plan
S – Set yourself up for success
I – Internalize your vision
G – Go beyond goals
N- Never stop designing  


The Next Generation of Bloggers

A colleague of mine, Brad Shorr, sent us this cartoon of his!  You can see more of Brad’s work at



Complex World Problems – Do You Feel Overwhelmed?

“Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes, a framework for seeing patterns and interrelationships. It’s especially important to see the world as a whole as it grows more and more complex.”
Peter M. Senge, Author The Fifth Discipline

What is your response when the problems in the world seem too complex? Do you feel overwhelmed?

                                      An Inconvenient Truth, featuring former vice-president Al Gore, please buy or rent it. My hope is you will be motivated to action and share the film’s message with friends and family, just as I’m doing here. It is a documentary film about climate change, especially global warming, based largely on a multimedia presentation that Al Gore developed over many years as part of an educational campaign around the topic.

                                       Larry King called it “One of the most important films ever” and Roger Ebert wrote, “In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film.”

Global warming is the observed increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases warm the surface of the planet naturally by trapping solar heat in the atmosphere, which is necessary to keep our planet habitable. The gases are released by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, gas and oil, land clearing and agriculture, etc. However, we have dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere and the inconvenient truth and reality of our planet is temperatures are rising. The evidence is overwhelming and undeniable-all ten of the hottest years on record, globally, have occurred in the last fifteen years.

                  website restates these facts:

The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years. 
Malaria has spread to higher altitudes in places like the Colombian Andes, 7,000 feet above sea level. 
The flow of ice from glaciers in Greenland has more than doubled over the past decade.
At least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, moving closer to the poles.

A very disturbing fact is the rate at which of of this is occurring exponentially. If the warming continues, scientists say we can expect catastrophic consequences:

Deaths from global warming will double in just 25 years — to 300,000 people a year.
Heat waves will be more frequent and more intense.
Droughts and wildfires will occur more often.
The Arctic Ocean could be ice free in summer by 2050.
More than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050.
And the most alarming threat that should resonate with us all and move us to further action today is that global sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide.

                       stop global warming for a comprehensive list of suggested actions you can take right now to promote positive change.

“Linear thinkers are always looking for a thing or person who is responsible. System thinkers take on greater responsibility for events, because their perspective suggests that everyone share responsibility for problems generated by a system.” Peter M. Senge, Author The Fifth Discipline


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