No Two Ways About It — You Have to Do the Work if You Want to Succeed

Sunday morning I had an email from a life coach in my inbox.  She told the story of her daughter who is in 11th grade and taking a combined trigonometry and calculus course.  It seems that her daughter came to her and told her that she need to “manifest” a B on an upcoming test.  She suggested a simple technique.  She told her daughter to smile — and she imagined her daughter smiling after the exam.

Here’s part of the email…

I imagined my girl smiling saying, “All this math stuff worked out.” Truly if you think about it, we have about 7 weeks left of the school year (I know… can you BELIEVE IT?), so no matter what, it will work out. 🙂 I want to encourage you to try this. Think of something that has you worried or afraid or anxious or overwhelmed  then just imagine yourself smiling and FEELING like it all worked out. You do not have to figure out the HOW. Just the image of you smiling will shift your energy, and your point of attraction! This is super easy and super powerful. Use it on anything. Try it, and be sure to share your success with us.

I read this and thought, “The Law of Attraction strikes again.”  I’m glad the young woman got a B on her exam.  On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that she and her mother manifested the grade by imagining themselves smiling when she received the results of the exam.  If only life were that simple.

Either this kid was really lucky, or she did what she needed to do to get her B — she studied and got some tutoring to prepare for the exam.

I know some people will disagree with me, but you don’t manifest anything.  You earn it by hard work.  It helps to go into an exam feeling confident about your chances of success.  But it helps a whole lot more to go into the exam having done the necessary preparation and work.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I am a big believer in the power or optimism.  I have The Optimist Creed on a plaque just above my desk.  The fourth point of The Optimist Creed says…

“Promise yourself to look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.”

There are two things at work here — looking at the sunny side, or imagining your smile when you succeed, and doing the work necessary to make your optimism come true.  I think it’s great to imagine yourself as a success and to believe that you will become a success.  I think it’s dangerous to believe that merely imagining the smile on your face when you succeed will be enough to ensure your success.

There are no two ways about it.  You have to do the work.  You have to study for the exam, anticipate the questions you will receive in a job interview, prepare diligently for a presentation.  If you do the work, it becomes easier to imagine yourself smiling when you get the positive result you desire.

One last thing — I am not dissing the power of a smile.  Smiles are good.  Smiles are powerful.  They brand you as a friendly, approachable person.  I advise all of my career mentoring clients to do their best to keep a smile on their faces.

So go ahead and smile.  Look at the sunny side.  But do the work you need to do — and you’ll succeed.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve.  Now I’m going one step further.  I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success.  And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free.  Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals.  I hope to see you there.


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