Seven Simple Suggestions for Success

“Be like a five-year-old. Never stop asking what and why.” -Shawn Langwell

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 23, The Power of Association and Perpetual Curiosity of Ten Seconds of Boldness.

1. ABC — Always be Curious. Never stop learning about ways to improve or seeking out others who have what you want. Be bold and ask questions. You will be amazed at how many people love to talk about themselves if they think they will help you. Seriously.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know.” Don’t be shy about saying what your purpose is or afraid to ask for help. Most people enjoy helping someone who is passionate. Be passionate.

3. Associate with “winners.” Be around people who are where you want to be, or have the success you’d like, and gather input from them. Take a page out of Coach Lavin’s book and spend time immersed in the environment you think you want to be in.

4. Do what it takes to live your dream.

5. Never lose sight of your why. Your enthusiasm and passion alone will open doors of opportunity and help you. Let your why shine bright.

6. Be bolder.

7. Never give up on yourself.

Seek. Ask. Find.

Learn, practice, and fail fast. As you do, your confidence will grow.

Here’s what some of those tips look like on a practical level:

If you want to be _______, read, and seek out material and people who can help. Ask for help. Associate with them. Learn, practice, and fail fast. As you do, your confidence will grow.

Want to become better? Hire a coach, therapist, or trainer, find a mentor, or register for a seminar or school to learn from experts.

Even experts have opinions, and sometimes getting advice from too many sources creates more confusion because you are not confident about whose advice you should trust or follow.

I find it is more efficient to first get an idea of what I think I want, then ask others who have either already accomplished that goal or who may offer me some insight to point me in the right direction. But be careful who you ask. Even experts have opinions, and sometimes getting advice from too many sources creates more confusion because you are not confident about whose advice you should trust or follow.

The same thing can easily happen when surfing the web, and trying to find accurate advice or information from a reputable source. Even if the source is reliable, you will not always find a singular right answer. Unless it’s math, there usually isn’t one. So, it’s going to take some trial and error. The point is don’t expect to do it all yourself or become self-made.

Photo by Westwind Air Service on Unsplash


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If you like what you’ve read, please share it.

The longer I live the more I realize how tenuous our time is on this planet. The more we connect, collaborate, and share what’s working and what’s not with each other, the more apt we are to live happier, healthier, and richer lives.

Here’s to your success, whatever that means to you. 

Getting Honest About Imposter Syndrome: How to Push Through Fear to Do it Anyway

If you ever doubt or second guess yourself and feel like an imposter, you need to read this…

Getting stuck in our heads and second-guessing our decisions is painful, especially as I did yesterday. The day started out fine. I woke up early after only getting four hours of sleep, chugged three cups of coffee, then started practicing the narration for my audiobook.

I got a big slice of humble pie out of the gate and wanted to quit!

Let’s back up a second to the first two times I went into the vocal booth. I showed up, unprepared and it showed. I know it was my first time, but I got a big slice of humble pie out of the gate and wanted to quit!

I thought I could be perfect the first time out.

I sucked and felt like an imposter. Most of us do, anytime we try something new. It’s normal to feel awkward or uncomfortable but I thought I could be perfect the first time out. What a joke! Nobody is. EVER!

But therein lies the root cause of my insecurities—I thought I could, even expected it.

I am glad I hired professionals to help because on my own I probably would throw in the towel. But I had made a financial commitment and now I had to honor it.

“you need to rehearse this — BEFORE recording,” the director said.

She was right. In my mind, before I started the first two narration sessions, I thought, why do I need to practice, I wrote the damn book?

How egotistical is that?

That I should know how to do something new immediately. That I believe I am somehow unique and “should be able to know it after the first try”. Bullshit. Who am I kidding? Apparently, only myself.

Here’s the irony: The title of the book is Ten Seconds of Boldness: The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence.

For the third session after a good night’s sleep and practice, I entered the vocal booth and immediately connected with the material. I walked away feeling proud of what I had just done.

That’s the good news. Fast forward to my two sessions yesterday, after only getting four hours of sleep.

After I woke up I got to practicing, reading out loud the chapters I was to narrate later that morning.

I delivered my lines with passion, energy, and enthusiasm. I enunciated clearly, with plenty of emphasis on all the right phrases, and kept my tone conversational, etc.

After two practice runs I was ready to enter the studio. Now in the tiny vocal booth, after all the prechecks, I began to read.

I sounded like an apathetic customer service rep for a funeral home.

You know where this is going, right?

As I began to speak, I felt my gut and throat tighten. My brain felt like those cartoon characters that hit a brick wall. The words were hollow, with no emotion, no connection. I sounded like an apathetic customer service rep for a funeral home.

Within thirty seconds of starting, the director interrupted and asked, “who are you talking to?” I waited. And waited. I didn’t know.

“Myself,” I finally responded.


“I am talking to the older version of myself. The one I don’t want to be like anymore.”

My brain froze—information overload.

In theory that is true, but with all the input of how to say what I want to say, and who I want to say it to, and reading with energy, and, and, and…well you get the idea. My brain froze—information overload. Complete mental meltdown.

I wanted to curl up in that tiny vocal book and cry. It literally sucked! I have not felt that small and inadequate since the last time. So much for my own Ten Seconds of Boldness, what a fraud, or so I thought.

At that moment those feelings were 100% real. But I already did the research and wrote the fucking book that they can change. I can change. We can change, if we want it bad enough. So much for giving myself a positive pep talk, almost.

Here’s what happened: I managed to pause a minute and slow down. And somehow make it through, but still walked away feeling completely defeated after the first of two sessions yesterday.

I had a big decision to make. Did I want to go back? I wasn’t sure. We agreed to leave it open. No pressure.

“Text me whatever you decide,” the director said.

Here’s what I did: I went home, ate, and took a nap. When I woke up, after a bit of agonizing playing the game of “should I stay or should I go?” in my head, I texted:

I can be there at 2 pm. Will that work?

“Running errands. Can make it at 2:30.”

That was my first hurdle—Making a decision.

Now, I had to face the demon voices in my head that were screaming at me, telling me all the usual BS—You are not ready. You are not good enough. Give it up.

You know what those sound like. We all do.

Fuck it, I thought. I’m going to go in there and give it all I got and that is going to have to be good enough.

It was.

I stepped back into that booth with a plan, and stubborn determination to not allow fear to win.

The good news is the next session after practicing two more times beforehand, I stepped back into that booth with a plan, and stubborn determination to not allow fear to win.

What transpired is what I wanted all along but couldn’t because I was overthinking EVERYTHING!!!!

I spoke as if having a conversation with my son or anyone else who struggles with doubt and normal fears and insecurities. I spoke with clarity, conviction, energy, and enthusiasm. Even though the audience was not there, I felt like I was connecting, coming from a place of compassion not preaching. I walked away feeling so much more confident because I felt my fear and did it anyway!

Three cheers to conquering fear!!!

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Are You a Writer (or aspiring author) Tired of Feeling Like a Handcuffed Hamster in a Habitrail?

Me too.

I’ve been working since I was 13—four decades of making a living and a life, chasing teenage dreams, and pursuing more get-rich-quick opportunities than I care to admit. And yet, here I am still looking for my next food pellet in my fifties.

I doubt anyone reading this can relate,(tongue in cheek). 

Seriously, how many other writers out there are like me— are still scrambling to “crack the Medium code” or “Build a platform or following?” or become a best-selling author to make enough $ to quit their day job?

Is that what we really want? Or is the goal to make enough passive income posting half-baked or regurgitated crap on all kinds of platforms so we can get the following, or affiliate $ which, after reading several Medium posts, yield barely enough to buy an iced, skim milk, double-shot, add whip, mocha at Starbucks. That’s not sustainable. 

Writing for coffee money ain’t gonna pay the rent. 

So, what do artists like us do? What’s the magic coffee bean to jack up our income enough so we can do what we are passionate about—writing—full time?

Good question. 

I, like you, am still trying to figure it out. If you figure it out before me, please share. I promise to do the same. 

In the interim, I still work full-time. I’ve heard several successful people on podcasts advise, “Don’t quit your day job until you have to.” Sage advice.

So, does that mean most of us passionate and driven authors are destined to keep scratching at the cedar bark of life, looking for a golden nugget that’s not a turd?

Unfortunately, yes. Most of us will have to squeeze back into the Habitrail maze — work cubby or home office — and continue sniffing out fresh fruit.

Outside of work, though what should we do?

Write. Everyday.

In fact, over the past five years, my own quest to find the secret to success resulted in a book on overcoming doubt and building self-confidence. In it, I include a five-step method to move you from here to there, plus a shit-ton of other practical tips—mostly about how to change your mindset—from my own experience and influential folks across the country. 

On August 1st, I published my second book—Ten Seconds of Boldness: The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence.

That’s a pretty big deal!

More importantly, it’s selling and early feedback shows people are digging it.

Check it out if you ever doubt your writing abilities, or any for that matter: You will definitely learn some tips to help you overcome the imposter gremlins in your head.

So what now?

In the meantime, on top of a full-time job, I will keep writing and maybe even learn that I can say a few things people want to read. Perhaps writing on a daily basis and getting better is the secret I’ve been searching for all along. 

Good luck in your quest. More on mine, later.

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Marketing 101- How to Better market YOU!

Sunday, February 10, 2019
2 – 4:30 p.m.


Marketing 101: How to Better Market You! 

Shawn Langwell

Do you struggle with Marketing? Would you rather everyone just buy your books? Marketing requires effort and getting out of your comfort zone. Join Redwood Writers on February 10, 2019, for an entertaining and practical afternoon when Shawn Langwell offers tips on “How to Better Market YOU!”

1. Passion- Know your why.

2. Know your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities with respect to writing, marketing and publishing.

a) What do you like?

b) What are you good at?

c) Where do you need professional help?

3. Know your audience.

a) who do you want to reach?

b) what do you want to say to them?

c) what do you want them to, think, feel, do?

4. Practice – 3 practical tips for building your brand.

5. Elevator pitch.

Shawn Langwell has 27 years of sales, marketing and advertising experience in the publishing industry. He has consulted with hundreds of clients to better assist them with their marketing and advertising needs and is a member of Toastmasters Of Petaluma. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree from San Francisco State University and has earned Leadership Certificates from Dominican University and the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce. In November 2016, Shawn published his first book, Beyond Recovery, A Journey of Grace, Love, and Forgiveness. When he’s not working or writing, he can be found hiking the west Marin coast. He lives in Petaluma with his wife, Crissi, and three adult children.