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One Choice You’re always One Choice away from changing your life Mac Anderson


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Copyright © 2011 by Simple Truths, LLC Published by Simple Truths 1952 McDowell Road, Suite 300 Naperville, Illinois 60563 800-900-3427 All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means—except for brief quotations in printed reviews—without the prior written permission of the publisher. Simple Truths is a registered trademark. Design: Rich Nickel Photos: iStockphoto – pages 8, 10, 18, 24, 32, 40, 48, 51, 56, 70, 88, 96, 102, 110, 116, 127 Thinkstock – pages 16, 22, 30, 38, 46, 54, 60, 69, 78, 86, 95, 100, 108, 115 Printed and bound in the United States of America ISBN: 978-1-60810-126-9 01 WOZ 11

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TA B L E o f C O N T E N T S Introduction.......................................................................................... 5 CHAPTER 1 Choose Your Career Passion............................................8 CHAPTER 2 Choose to be in the “Driver’s Seat”...............................18 CHAPTER 3 Choose to Make a Difference.........................................24 CHAPTER 4 Choose Your Attitude.....................................................32 CHAPTER 5 Choose to Take Back Your Life........................................40 CHAPTER 6 Choose Financial Freedom............................................48 CHAPTER 7 Choose Kindness…and Watch it Change Your Life.........56 CHAPTER 8 Choose Not to Give Up..................................................62 CHAPTER 9 Choose to Start a New Business....................................70 CHAPTER 10 Choose to Change Your Environment..........................80 CHAPTER 11 Choose to Look at the Possibilities..............................88 CHAPTER 12 Choose Discipline in Your Life......................................96 CHAPTER 13 Choose to Love...........................................................102 CHAPTER 14 Choose to Simplify Your Life.......................................110 CHAPTER 15 Choose to Take a Chance...........................................116 Ten Tips on Choosing to Change Your Life .......................................124 Conclusion ....................................................................................... 125

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e “You are always

one choice away from changing your life.” -Marcy Blochowiak


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hink about that. One choice, just one, can change your life forever. Simply put, your life today is what your choices have made it, but with new choices, you can change directions this very moment. Let me tell you about a choice I made and how it changed my life… The year was 1998. It had been difficult to say the least. The business (Successories) was struggling and I had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. As we all know, the “c” word gets our attention. I was trying to re-evaluate my life and decide, “Where do I go from here?” After some real soul searching, I decided to hire Gary Rovansek to run the day-to-day at Successories so I could step down into an advisory role. I had been an entrepreneur for 25 years, fighting many battles along the way…but I was yearning to move in a different direction. Don’t get me wrong. I loved doing what I was doing, but cancer always makes you re-evaluate your priorities in life. I wanted to relax and think for awhile about plan B. For almost two years, I did just that. I’m thankful to say that after treatment my cancer was in remission. Those two years felt wonderful! It gave me the opportunity to unclutter my brain 5

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and revisit some of the good things I had done and some of the mistakes I had made. But even though my “semi-retirement” felt good, I knew I wasn’t being fulfilled. At the same time, my time off caused me to ask myself some questions. “Am I ready to fight more battles? What can I do to fuel my passion to reinforce the positive in the world? Is it possible I could fail? Do I want to take that risk?” All of these thoughts and others were causing me to sit on the “fence of indecision.” It didn’t feel good, but to be perfectly honest, at this point in my life, I didn’t have the courage to take action. I think we’ve all been there. A luncheon meeting with Rich Rush, who was our VP of Production at Successories, prompted me to make a choice which got me off the fence and into action. During lunch Rich asked the question, “Mac, what do you plan to do with the rest of your life?” Not knowing exactly what to say, I said, “I might just sit it out and relax a bit.” I’ll never forget his face when he looked up and said, “You can’t do that! You’ve got too much to say that could make a difference in the lives of too many people. You’ll be cheating yourself and many others if you don’t use the talent God has given you.” 6

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I thought a lot about what Rich had said, and I knew I couldn’t just sit on the sidelines and let my life go by without giving my passion another shot. By making that one choice, I started my life on a new path…one that included the opportunity to write books and share them with others through Simple Truths and to speak to hundreds of corporate audiences. That one choice fired up my passion and changed my life’s direction…and as a result, I can honestly say that these years have been the most rewarding of my life. For me, the idea of changing your life with a single choice is highly motivational. It offers tremendous hope, regardless of your circumstances, for a better tomorrow. In One Choice, you’ll meet people from all walks of life who made life-changing choices, whether it’s switching careers, losing weight, finding financial freedom, adopting a child, or giving back to others. If you have the courage, you could make any one of these choices, or others today...and you would change your life. Do you have the courage to make that choice?

Mac Anderson Founder, Simple Truths 7

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Your Career Passion


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Choose Your Career Passion


eventy-year-old Gary Droz is formally “retired” from his second career and no longer paid for what he does, but it is his passion that keeps him going. After all, he’s living

out a boyhood dream. Gary tells the beginning of his story like he’s still sitting at that small wooden desk in his sixth-grade classroom. Mrs. Johnson has asked her class to take out a sheet of ruled paper and a #2 pencil to write down what they would like to be when they grow up.

Gary taps the eraser of his pencil on his temple, then carves two words in cursive onto the paper:

a teacher.


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It’s not a common answer for a 12-year-old boy in the 1940s, but it is honest and something Gary would never forget, even when its realization seemed reckless. In the ’50’s, a male high school graduate had three well-worn paths before him: college, the military, and sales. Gary tested the first two, giving a year and a half to the books and two years to his country. But by the age of 20, marriage and the birth of his first child veered his path toward the promising world of sales. This would prove to be a much longer path than the first two. Despite his lack of college education, Gary secured an entrylevel sales position selling spices and condiments for R. T. French, the company most known for its mustard. It was then that Gary learned he had a flair people respected. He is an assertive man, who is equally disarming, and he listens well. In the sales profession, such qualities go a long way. They would carry Gary more than 20 years. At 27, Gary left R. T. French for a brighter future. Proctor & Gamble was hiring and they liked him. Gary was assigned a C H O O S E Y O U R C A R E E R PA S S I O N

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tri-state territory that included South Dakota, Nebraska and his home state of Iowa. Driving 4,000 miles a month, Gary pitched his ideas and products in hotel lobbies, hospital offices and school break rooms. He was gradually moving upward and providing for his family—something his father struggled to do— but with each year that passed his gaze probed deeper inward. “I never really forgot about teaching, but it wasn’t until I realized that each time I was given more responsibility in my job, I ended up with less time at home. At one point, I was traveling from Monday to Thursday for four or five weeks in a row. I’d sometimes go over a month only seeing my wife and kids on the weekends. When I realized this, I knew something had to change.” Deep down, Gary knew there was only one option. But how would he do it? He wasn’t young anymore and he hadn’t even finished college. Besides that, if he left P & G now after 17 years, he would have to forgo a profit-sharing and retirement package that would be over a million dollars when fully vested.


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“I thought about the money and the risks. And then I thought about traveling 1,000 miles a week and selling bar soap covers for another 20 years. I was only 44 at the time, and the way I saw it, that meant I had at least twenty years to do something else with my life.” Most 44-year-olds in Gary’s shoes would recall the past and let the weight of a twenty-three year career keep them put. Time investment always seems like a feasible excuse. But for what return? Gary considered this and had his answer. “The money would have been nice, but it didn’t matter. I grew up very poor. My parents never owned a house or a car. My father loved playing cards and often gambled all the money he made, so my mother had to work seven days a week just to put food on the table.” Gary learned early to appreciate the meaningful things in life like a job, a roof, and a warm meal, and his subsequent action was born from that wisdom. Meaning over money. Provision and passion before prosperity and position.


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It was a warm summer morning in Ames, Iowa, when Gary loaded the dog and the last suitcase into the back of the car. They had sold everything in their home that wouldn’t fit into

“He found a job much closer to his heart.”

a medium-sized box. What was left—about 50 boxes—was in storage. Gary didn’t know where he was taking his family, but he had some ideas. He and Jean had done some research in the preceding days and scratched down a list of cities with good colleges where Gary could finish his bachelor’s degree in education. Someplace warm—that was the only prerequisite. A couple of weeks and several hundred miles later, they landed in Boca Raton, Florida. A stack of bills followed his family to Boca Raton, so once they found a temporary place to live, Gary sought out a job. The position wasn’t important. He just needed something in the evening to keep them afloat while he finished school during the day. As far as he was concerned, he had already made the leap and now he was bound to land on the other side. Pride now a dead issue, Gary immediately took a job as a late night janitor at the Ambassador East Hotel and remained there for six months until he found a job much closer to his heart. At 45, he began


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counseling troubled men at the Del Ray Beach Crisis Center. This was the closest Gary had been to teaching, and he thrived. Gary would race through the remainder of his schooling in a year and a half and accept his first official teaching position at Santaluces High School at 47-years-old. It would take many chapters to tell you the names of the students that Gary touched over the next 15 years as a high school social studies teacher, but oddly enough that wouldn’t give you the entire picture. Sure, he was voted “Favorite Teacher” by the students many times—four years in a row at one point. In fact, the school eventually had to remove Gary from the ballot because no other teacher was winning. But the truth is that the greatest testimony to Gary’s mid-life leap is what he’s doing today as a volunteer—teaching a homeless man to read. The man is 44 and jobless because he can only read at a secondgrade level. But Gary hopes to change that. It’s why he’s here. No position. No paycheck. Just passion…and the opportunity to give his homeless friend a chance to survive on his own.


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“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for

the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible… What wine is so sparkling, so fragrant, so intoxicating, as possibility!”


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~ Soren Kierkegaard

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to be “in the driver’s seat”


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Choose to be in the “driver’s seat”

Excerpted from act 2: my new life by Susan Sulich


or Karen Kanter, 66, of New York City, the end of her marriage was the beginning of her new life. In 2000, when her husband of 20 years said he wanted a divorce,

Karen was initially surprised and upset. But on the trip from Colorado (where her husband broke the news and stayed behind) to New York, Karen did a lot of thinking. When her plane landed, she rented a car and began driving to their home in a rural area upstate. “Suddenly, I started singing while I was driving,” she says, laughing. “I couldn’t figure out why I was singing, but then it hit me. I was in the driver’s seat – literally and figuratively!” After two decades of being a wife and a mom, she realized that she could now do whatever she wanted. “I’d dreamed of living in Manhattan,” she says. So Karen made the move, but knew that she’d need more than her teacher’s pension to fund a big-city life. “I didn’t want another career,” she says. Part-time personal


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assistant jobs fit the bill, providing extra money and interesting, but not too taxing, work to do. Karen reinvented her personal life too. “I cut my hair, got a trainer and signed up for,” she says, laughing. “I met a lot of really nice men.” Today, she is in a committed relationship. Karen is living her life her way. She enjoys films, the theater, her relationship and exploring the city she loves. She also volunteers at The Transition Network, an organization that helps women make changes in life. What does she hope for the future? More of the same! Excerpted from the October 7, 2008 issue of Woman’s Day magazine.

“Suddenly, I started singing while I was driving.” C H O O S E T O B E I N T H E “ D R I V E R ’ S S E AT ”

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“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” ~ Karen Kaiser Clark


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to Make a Difference


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Choose to Make a Difference


ach of us makes hundreds of choices every day, from deciding what to have for breakfast to more profound choices that impact our careers or relationships. But,

sometimes one single choice not only changes the direction of our lives, but that of many, many others. Take Earl Morse, for example. Maybe not a household name, but for thousands of World War II veterans, Earl has made their dreams come true. And it all started with a single choice. Earl is a physician’s assistant and a retired Air Force Captain. Earl wanted to honor the veterans he had taken care of for the past 27 years. He worked with World War II veterans at a small clinic in Springfield, Ohio, and repeatedly asked them if they would ever travel to visit the memorial created in their honor in Washington, D.C. While many said they would someday, that someday never seemed to come. For many, it wasn’t financially or physically possible for them to make the journey. That’s when Earl made his choice. Because in addition to being a physician’s assistant, Earl was also a private pilot and a


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member of one our nation’s largest aero clubs located at WrightPatterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. In December of 2004, Earl asked one of his World War II veteran patients if it would be all right if Earl personally flew him out to Washington, D.C., free of charge to see the Memorial. The veteran broke down and cried. He told Earl that at his age he would probably never get to see the memorial otherwise and graciously accepted his offer. It didn’t take long for Earl to realize that there were many veterans who would have the same reaction. So he started asking other pilots to make these dreams a reality. Earl addressed about 150 members of the aero club during a safety meeting, outlining a volunteer program to fly veterans to their memorial. There were only two stipulations. The first was that the veterans would pay nothing. The entire aircraft rental ($600$1,200) would have to be paid solely by the pilots. The second was that the pilots would personally escort the veterans around Washington, D.C. for the entire day.


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Eleven pilots stepped up to volunteer that day and Honor Flight was born. Soon, so many veterans wanted to participate that commercial aircraft were used to accommodate 40 veterans at a

“The veteran broke down and cried.”

time, including many in wheelchairs. By the end of its first year, Honor Flight had transported 137 World War II veterans to their memorial. Honor Flight spread across the country and soon an entire commercial flight was filled with veterans. Now an entire network of participating programs is in place and Honor Flight’s goal is to transport veterans to see their memorial at no cost. Due to the age of our World War II veterans, we are losing approximately 1,000 of them daily. But, because of Earl Morse’s single choice to make a difference, our war heroes have the opportunity to accomplish an otherwise insurmountable life goal. Excerpted from information on the Honor Flight Network website


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e “Sometimes one single choice not only changes the direction of our lives, but that of many, many others.”


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“It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny.” ~ Jean Nidetch


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Simple Truths: One Choice  

Think about that. One choice, just one, can change your life forever. Simply put, your life today is what your choices have made it, but wit...

Simple Truths: One Choice  

Think about that. One choice, just one, can change your life forever. Simply put, your life today is what your choices have made it, but wit...