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Everyone has in them the innate ability to be successful.

Often, the only thing stopping someone from being successful is having the courage to try or a lack of belief in their inner power.

“If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.”

As young child, it didn’t appear Denzel Washington was going to be successful. He was sometimes seduced into running with the wrong crowd. He grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, and based on his actions, could have easily strayed.

One day, a woman getting her hair done at his mother’s beauty parlor, wrote down a prophesy that declared Denzel would one day grow up and be successful – that he would inspire millions of people.

Sometimes all it takes is that one person who believes you can be successful – even more than you do…

Mr. Washington cites this as one of the key turning points of his life. Had this woman not done this, would this young man have ever gone on to win two Academy Awards and one Tony Award?

Many years ago, I worked as a parole officer. One of the men in my caseload had clearly had a youth that was spent inflicting harm on himself and others.

The child of two highly educated parents, he had fallen into the downward spiral of drugs. He started off with common inhalants and moved to injecting street narcotics. Stealing money evolved into break-and-enter and later, violence. His first conviction sent him straight to federal incarceration.

Even when all seems lost, know you can always still be successful. Hope is the key…

In prison, he decided that he would finally get clean and sober. He withdrew from the general population and focused on exercising, reading, and figuring out what he wanted to do with his life. Unlike many of the inmates on my caseload, this young man did not fit the bill of a career criminal.

Instead, I saw something in him and knew with the right plan, he could transcend his past. I told him that he could truly be, do, and have anything he wanted and that his past did not have to dictate his future.

One of the first things we did was find him meaningful work. The next thing was getting him into a college program to study journalism. To my knowledge, he never returned to prison. At last account, he was making something of his life.

When I left parole, he wrote me a letter and sadly, it is now long lost. He thanked me for seeing his potential where so many hadn’t. He told me I had changed his life.


The greatest gift we can ever give another is to pour greatness into them; to show them not who they are but who they can become. Throughout the day, people tend to beat themselves up. This includes our children.

It is easy to become enraptured in the notion that we are stuck and that success isn’t on our horizon. All it takes is one person to see our capacity and change our entire life.

This is what happened for me. I was a broken woman. Having lived for years going from seeming failure to failure. Losing a business, being diagnosed with MS, losing my home, a broken marriage, and then working with a company that closed, had all left me a shell of the person who once thought that she could truly be a success.

One person, Jimmy Smith, came into my life through a new business venture. On every call he would tell me that I was something special. He told me that one day, everyone would know my name in our company.

At first I didn’t believe him because I didn’t see what he saw. Eventually, however, his words sunk in and he radically changed my life. Instead of seeing myself as a failure, I began to see myself as a person with great potential; this changed everything.

This Holiday Season, remember that the greatest gift we can ever give someone is to show them who they can be. Take time to write some handwritten notes or frame a list of ten things that are incredible about this person.

If you are a parent or a grandparent you can write out 15-20 small notes about what you see in this child and put them in a Mason jar. Tell them to take one out when they are feeling blue.

Find creative ways to let people know what you see in them. This means much more than anything you could wrap up and put under a tree.

Lastly, if no one has told you lately, know that I believe in you. You are reading this for a reason and perhaps it is because you have forgotten you have greatness inside you. We all have infinite potential and sometimes it takes the right person to remind us that it is never too early, or too late, to live into the powerful – to be the beautiful person that God intended us to be.

Susan is a balanced living expert. She is an author, speaker and self made millionaire. She has appeared on ABC Family, the CBN, written for Dianne Magazine, Oxygen Australia and many more. Susan dedicates time to philanthropy and projects that benefit women and girls all over the world. She is married to her best friend, Chris, and together they have five beautiful children.





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