The Success Trap

Recently there have been several articles highlighting highly successful athletes blowing hundreds of millions of dollars in a relatively short period of time.  First of all, I could not imagine what is like to have this much money but if I had, I could not fathom blowing it.  I am a pretty frugal person so chances are, I would live way, and I do mean way beneath my means.  This is my mindset, hence my perception.  One thing I can comfortably say about my perception and that is this, I will never go broke if I were to have hundreds of millions of dollars come my way.

For these famous athletes, this is not the case.  Many of them, like myself, grew up in poverty and one thing I often remember from my childhood is this, We all were going to do something big with our lives.  Many athletes, entertainers and other who come from lives of lack, have the perception that I am going to show the world who I am by my wealth and success.  Not only do athletes and entertainers have this mindset, many preachers and others do as well.  Their personal perception is this, I am somebody by the way I am accepted by people because of what I have.  What they do not realize is that perceptions of this nature very rarely have good endings. When your perception is steeped in doing something in order to win people over via success, you will always be trapped by this mindset.

I call this the “Success Trap” and this mindset is more damaging than any I know.  It has caused the aforementioned athletes to blow more money in a day than most will make in a year.  It causes both husbands and wives to work 18 hour per day jobs and leave their kids open to anything and everything. It causes a corporate executive to destroy the future of thousands of employees just lo live a life of glamor and acceptance.  This trap is doing more damage in the USA today than every before. Politicians are trapped by it, business people are trapped by it and so are many every day workers.

My plea to you is this, wake up!!!  Learn to be happy where you are and appreciate the people around you and the success you have already achieved.  I tell my children all of the time “the first floor of your home is bigger than any apartment we ever lived in as kids.” I am grateful that we have a home we can enjoy.  If gratification is based by acceptance of society by the wealth you are pursuing, you will wake up one day and see that your kids are now grown, your spouse is gone and all the people around you are only interested in you for one reason.  Just like the athletes, take away financial success, and everybody leaves. My question to you is this: are you trapped? Are all the people hanging around you submitting because of what you have (or perceived wealth?) Do you now have no one in your life that cares about you, for the real you?  If you answered “yes” to any of the aforementioned questions?  It is time for you to wake up.

In closing I took notice recently to many of the wealthiest people in the world and in many of them I noticed one thing, their success was a by-product of a love for creation of an amazing product or service.  If you were to see many of them in person, you would not even know they were wealthy.  They don’t wear it or drive it. If your success in life is living to show off your life to others via the “Success Trap” then you are imprisoned with a life sentence. Remember this, it is not too late.  Free yourself from this mindset before you destroy your own life and the lives of others.

Motivating Students Of Color

Coach D Motivating Students in Gadsden County, FL

Many say that a prophet is without honor in his (or her) own home town.  I found this not to be the case in my home state recently-keeping in mind that I do not really consider myself a prophet but a caring stakeholder.  On Tuesday August 9th, 2011, I will be conducting my workshop Believing The HYPE-Keys To Motivating Students of Color for the Delaware Teacher Center in my home state of Delaware.  This event is sold out and has an extensive waiting list!  To be quite honest, I am not sure if it is the magnetic attraction of one Darrell “Coach D” Andrews :-) or teachers, school administrators and counselors in Delaware saying “I need more insight into this topic.”  I think that the latter prevails.  As far as we have come regarding improvement in the academic success rate of Hispanic and African-American Students, we still have a long way to go! With the shift from NCLB to Race To The Top, we must continue to realize that we are dealing with people, not numbers.  In order to reach people, one must know how to connect with people. Billions of dollars in failed attempts won’t change this, only frustrate it. I think the attendees of this event have spoken loudly, THIS IS STILL A CHALLENGE AND A PRIORITY FOR ME AS AN EDUCATOR.

I sincerely hope it is still a priority for your school or organization. I have made this a 15 year mission and will continue to blow the trumpet as long as I am alive.  It takes a well planned out strategy, a focus on teacher development and accountability systems, parental engagement (on-going), early childhood education and students connecting their future dreams to the importance of their current education.  A confluence of these powerful attributes will lead a school or organization down the right path.

Call the office today toll-free at 1-866 4-COACH-D (426-2243) to discuss how I or one of my colleagues can assess your specific minority student development needs and help you make make the minority student connection.  THE BEGINNING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR IS A GREAT TIME TO LAY A  POWERFUL FOUNDATION FOR YOUR TEACHERS, STUDENTS AND PARENTS. Now is the time.  Please visit for more information about our programs.

Innovation+Creativity+People Skills=Employment

The Job Market as we know it has changed.  In my personal research, I have found that employers of today are looking for innovation, creativity and people skills in a prospective employee.  Employers, more than ever are open to new ideas on how to make a job more effective and want to hire people who are self-led.  In layman’s terms, they are looking for people who can be an asset to the company, co-workers and customers.

How does one develop these skills?  A few possibilities are:

1. Connect With Current Employees-If you are applying for a specific position, ask questions of people who have experience in the position. Their experiences (of course the good experiences) and insights can be of value during the interview.

2. Continuing Education-Take a course at a local college or trade school.  Schools typically keep up to date on current job trends and can help you prepare for the needs of today’s employers.

3. Google Search The Position-There is a plethora of information on the Internet regarding jobs and in many cases, job expectations. You many have to sift through the mountains of information available, but a few golden nuggets of knowledge will tell a prospective employer that you have done your homework. This research may be the ticket to landing the job in a fiercely competitive job market.

Lastly, and most importantly PASSION is needed in order to motivate yourself to pursue your career goals on a daily basis.  Connecting your passion to a bigger picture is motivational and inspirational. Get up and go out with a plan of action everyday and I can guarantee that you will succeed.  You will find employment, despite an up and down economy.

How has your job search process been?  What successes or challenges have you experienced? What advice do you need to make your quest a success.

Show Me Your Friends And I WIll Show You Your Future!

Year ago Bill Gates was asked that question, “what is one of your main formulas for success?” Without blinking an eye he said “hiring smart people as well as surrounding yourself with smart people.”  His best friend is Warren Buffet, who just recently decided to leave his 40+ billion dollar empire to the Bill Gates Foundation upon his death.  This friendship alone affirms his aforementioned statement.  As a speaker and trainer, many people tell me that there too many people out here today giving various formulas for success in business and career.  The internet has turned everybody into an expert, so it often gets confusing.  My answer to them is simple and plain, I do not proclaim to have the all the answers, never have.  But, one thought I have on life and career success is “If you show me your friends I will show you your future.”  This nugget of wisdom was given to me by a man by the name of Jim Murphy who I met as a seventeen year old during a plane trip to college.  This few minutes of mentoring by Mr. Murphy changed my life forever.  It is almost impossible to build a successful business, ministry or anything else if you do not have successful advisors.  Even bible in proverbs says “Plans fail due to a lack of advisors.” I find that many people who are trying to climb the ladder of purpose often have friends who are doing the same.  I am in no way saying that we must pursue our friendships based upon achievement of goals.  What I am saying is that you need some friends in you inner circle who have gone through the process of building a successful business or career in an area in which you aspire to achieve success.

A few ways I have personally been able to build my personal network of friends and associates are as follows:


Through volunteering my time to help various causes, I have been able to meet with overachievers in all types.  A few of my early stage mentors were met via volunteerism, and as a result of these connections and their wisdom, I have been able to remain in business since 1996. My goal in volunteering was not to meet mentors but I found that it was a beneficial by-product.  Zig Ziglar used to often say “In life you get everything you want when you help other people get what they want.”  Volunteering your time is most beneficial to the organization you are supporting first, but a secondary benefit to you is the people you get to meet.


Time is often the enemy of networking but I have found this to be highly beneficial to make professional connections. The type of networking I am talking about is not the type where you dump a load of information on a person at a meeting or event.  It is the kind where you ask questions of people and do your best to get to know their career and personal interest. I remember meeting a very successful business owner once who told me he was tired of people asking him to hand hold them through the process.  I responded by saying to him the only thing I want from you is the wisdom you have learned over the years; I will do all of the work.  He proceeded to give me a mentoring session of a lifetime.  On another note, one of the challenges I have with all of the business social networking sites is it is often one way communication.  You have millions of people communicating all of their information to us and wondering why they are not getting a response.  This is not real networking. I am not saying to dump your internet based social networking if you are a fan of it, but I am saying get out and have some real human to human interactions.  This type of connectedness will always be the best way to meet new friends and associates.

What are your thoughts on the power of friendships?  Do you believe that good associations can impact career and life outcomes?  How have your friends helped you in the pursuit of your goal?

Philadelphia School District Employees-Layoffs Can Mean A New Beginning!

Over 3,000 people in the Philadelphia School District were recently given the pink slip.  A Judge did rule that the 1,500 notices that were given to teachers must be rescinded.  I cannot imagine the impact laying off this many people in a school district will have on the quality of education.  No matter what the layoff outcome, I want to say to the people who lost their jobs that life does not end at layoff.  In some cases, many people identify with their inner greatness as a result of traumas like this.  My recently deceased speaking colleague Keith Harrell often told the story of how his layoff at IBM was a blessing in disguise.  As a result of his layoff, he launched a speaking business that made him millions of dollars and more importantly, gave him a sense of career significance.

As a career and life coach I would first say to you “breathe.”  Take a moment to reflect on the possibilities you have moving forward. To much energy given to acrimony and frustration can drain you and limit your ability to pursue new pathways. Secondly I would say to you start to take an assessment of your inner passions.  What skill sets do you possess that can be turned into careers or entrepreneurial opportunities?  What organizations can you connect with to help you to move these passion forward?  Who do you know that can use their influence to help you pursue your current or a new career path? In order to achieve the outcomes you desire, you must keep your mind and body moving.  Do not sit in the seat of despair, get up and do something!  A body in motion tends to stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force. Keep pressing forward and create plans to achieve the career and life outcomes you want.

If you are an employee of the Philadelphia School district or if you are currently laid off from a job in another business or organization, this article is for you.  Never give up hope for as long as you are alive and well, there are always possibilities.  Use this time as a motivation for progress, not an opportunity to vent and limit your possibilities.

Question:  Do you know of a person who turned a career setback into a comeback?  How did they accomplish success in the midst of challenges?  Does the aforementioned describe you? If so, tell us your story!

Darrell “Coach D” Andrews, CSP-Speaker, Career-Life Coach, Author