Success In Federal Prison
“The key to my success was consistency and discipline, not necessarily motivation. I read somewhere a long time ago motivation gets you going but discipline keeps you growing. I think that’s right,” I told a stockbroker who is about to surrender to Fort Dix Federal Prison Camp for 21 months.
This stockbroker read my book then called to learn more about the success I had in federal prison. He wanted to know if there was some magic formula or approach that I took each day. The simple answer is no. Trust me, if there was an easy pill or magic formula to take to make this experience easier to bear, I probably would’ve found it by now.
Simply said, I attribute my success in federal prison to consistency. I attribute much of my success as a federal prison consultant and ethics speaker to remanining consistent. Remaining consistent each day was more important than having talent or a huge network. Like my client Lance Charen, I committed to making progress every day—regardless of the environment around me.
I am absolutely convinced that if white-collar prisoners wish to really thrive and grow in federal prison they will embrace consistency, as I did. Of course, the key to consistency is learning to master discipline.
In my case, success in federal prison began by asking a series of questions:
1- Where do I need to improve? It was essential I pinpointed what my priorities were. I knew my success in federal prison started with mastering discipline and avoiding distractions. I needed to know where to start!!
2: Am I willing to truly do what it takes and can I measure my performance? To be clear there were many days I did not want to write–but I did it anyway. Likewise, there were many days I did not want to run 10 miles–but I did it anyway. Rather than complain about it, I choose to find some value in the struggle of working on days I did not want to. My consistency over a sustained period of time made it easy to measure my progress as a writer, runner, speaker and so on.
3: Am I taking on too many projects and am I saying no to distractions? To learn more about saying no in prison read this blog. To projects, I learned pretty quickly that if I tried to do too much I would fail. I knew if I kept adding things to my list I would fall short of my desired result. I had to show discipline to focus on the next right thing while jettisoning all of the things on the periphery. If I set a million goals and did not hit them I would be disappointed. It could have forced me to stop altogether. In sum, setting shorter term, immediate goals kept me on track in federal prison.
4: Am I being patient? Everything I had ever achieved in life took time. I can point to success I had as a baseball player, as an example.
Patience allowed me to relax on days I was not as productive as I felt I should have been. Patience enabled me to “stop and smell the roses” every now and again. Persistence and patience (I am also competitive) were key factors behind my success in federal prison.
The truth is I could write for days about what it takes to have success in federal prison.
The four items I shared above quickly came to my mind while I was speaking to this stockbroker who is preparing to surrender to Fort Dix Federal Prison Camp. I know the road to success with a felony conviction takes a long time. I urged this white collar defendant, as I urge my readers, to try to embrace the journey. Embracing it and learning what you are truly capable of is better than spending your days in prison lamenting over all that went bad in your life. Never forget: people have endured worse. Prepare, take action and work hard each day in federal prison, as I did.
I wish you all success.
P.S. I have launched a new weekly group coaching program. Calls are every Friday at 1:00pm eastern, 10:00am pacific. To learn more text or call me at 818-424-2220.