Stairway to Success
Heal Your Life Blog
Stairway to Success
Below is an excerpt from my memoir, I Can See Clearly Now:
It is April 1976, and I’m renting a house on Kime Avenue in West Babylon, New York. I’m continuing with my busy private counseling practice, along with my professional teaching duties at St. John’s University. I am also 100 percent determined that I’ll bring the message of Your Erroneous Zones to the world.
I’ve purchased 2,000 copies, which represents approximately one-third of the entire first printing, directly from the publisher. A few blocks from my home I’ve noticed a radio station’s call letters on the building: WBAB. I have no idea what kind of a format this station broadcasts, so I walk over one Friday afternoon and give the receptionist a copy of Your Erroneous Zones. I tell her I’ve just published this book, I live a couple of blocks away, and if they’re ever interested in interviewing a local author, I’d be delighted to be a guest on their station.
The next day I receive a call from the station manager, who had seen my book with my phone number on the receptionist’s desk. I am invited to be on the air that same day, as a guest they’d scheduled had suddenly canceled. I immediately accept.
That Saturday morning I spend a delightful hour being interviewed by a local disc jockey. It’s my first appearance on any media and I’m hooked. We take a few phone calls, and I talk off-the-cuff about my commonsense approach to creating a joyful life. The phones light up—all incoming lines are full, and every caller wants to know where they can buy the book. I give the address of a local bookstore in Huntington, which I drive to as soon as the radio show ends. I ask the manager to take ten books on consignment from me, since the book hasn’t been shipped from my publisher yet. The manager agrees—and I am now a writer, and a distributor as well! Within three days, this store has sold the ten books. I alert my publisher to make sure that the stores on Long Island are fully stocked, since I’ll be on WBAB regularly now.
I’ve discovered my own marketing scheme: I can voluntarily visit small radio stations, do interviews, and generate interest in my book. My publisher is not nearly as excited about the marketing and promotion of Your Erroneous Zones as I am, but I am bubbling over with enthusiasm. After my WBAB interview I can see myself doing precisely the same thing, not just here on Long Island, but all over the country as well. The possibilities seem to me unlimited. I feel myself being pulled in a new direction. I will have to extricate myself from so many of the obligations I have to clients in my growing practice and particularly my responsibilities as an associate professor at the university.
On Monday, April 5, I arrive at Schreiber High School in Port Washington to give my weekly lecture. The audience has been briefed that my book will be available for sale after the talk, and my wife and I unload 500 copies from our car. The place is jam-packed—more than 1,200 people have shown up, and we sell all 500 copies almost immediately. I am beyond flabbergasted! There’s something very exciting happening—I know I am on to something phenomenal.
The words I am a teacher flash across my inner screen. I can do this on my own. I can take total responsibility for all aspects of this enterprise. I can become my own bookstore if need be. I can market myself if the marketing division is not on board. I can distribute my own book. And most significantly, I can create the enthusiasm in potential buyers—not by selling my book, but by loving what I’m saying and selling that love. If they like what I’m saying, and if they like me, the person speaking, they will automatically want to purchase what I have written.
I Can See Clearly Now
The inner vision that says yes to life and is open to all possibilities impels you to look about with a more intense vision, to anticipate things working out, and to jump on even the slightest omen that indicates you’re being guided. This is all about alignment, which I’ve written about extensively in the years since Your Erroneous Zones was first published. I didn’t know it at the time, but by holding firm to an inner picture, I was aligning myself with the one Divine mind—of which I’m a fragment—and allowing this great Tao to offer up experiences in the physical world that matched up to my own Divine destiny.
Once I began to pay closer attention, I could see the magical synchronicities manifesting. At that time I attributed it to good luck or bizarre coincidence. Now I can see more clearly and I know better. I must have walked by that WBAB sign a thousand times before I looked at it with new, more awakened eyes. The teacher was always right there, but it took my new alignment to now view it as a golden opportunity.
I was guided to knock on that door, and there was an invisible connection between myself, the receptionist, the station manager, the guest who canceled, the people who were involved in that guest needing to cancel, the disc jockey, and on and on into infinity. The same holds true for all of the people involved in bringing me to station WMCA and everything else that is taking place in my life right up until this moment.
The key to my seeing more clearly is alignment. By maintaining a burning desire with an image that’s like an inner flame that is impervious to any distractions, I began to look outward at every circumstance as an omen. It wasn’t luck that pushed me then; it was my willingness to hold on to an inner vision until it became an intention—and then to humbly follow my instincts and say yes to every break that came along. By being active and fearless, I was allowing doors to open that would have remained locked or, worse yet, unnoticed.
I’ve always loved the film Coal Miner’s Daughter, the story of Loretta Lynn, the country singer from Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, becoming a legend. She went from radio station to radio station tirelessly hawking her recordings in hopes of just getting one played on the air. And I love my friend Joe Girard’s well-known quote, which I have lived by myself: “The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to use the stairs . . . one step at a time.”
I am grateful for having had the inner knowing to be willing to take that first step.