~ The Service Professionals Resource ~ 
October 1, 2014 
Volume 10, Issue 10                                                                                                            $3.50
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Publication Data
Mark Matteson publishes his Sparking Success EZine Street newsletter on the first Wednesday of every month. The next newsletter will go out on November 5, 2014

A simple choice
Freedom From Fear Forever

freedom from fear
Freedom From Fear Audio CD
Audio CDs
Sales Success Stories
Mark Matteson gives over 75 presentations each year. Book him now to secure the inspiring message that will spark your group's success! To watch Mark's demo video, go to: www.sparkingsuccess.net. Call 206.697.0454 or e-mail him at mark.enjoythejourney.matteson@gmail.com.


What If Your License Plate Were Your Cell Phone Number?
by Mark Matteson


During a recent drive down I-5 in Seattle, a young man swerved recklessly in his little "Too Fast, Too Furious" sports car to squeeze in front of me with inches to spare between us. Then he proceeded to give me half a peace sign after his reckless little stunt! What the...? The thought occurred to me, "Wouldn't it be nice if I could call him on his cell phone to give him a piece of my mind!" Carrying that idealistic notion a little further, "I could do that if his license plate were his cell phone number!" How would that change our behavior while driving, if we were quickly and easily accountable for our decisions in public? When someone cuts in line at the movies or post office, we say, "Hey, buddy, back of the line!"


Personal responsibility seems to be conspicuously absent from our behavior and decision-making and getting worse. Driving is just one public example of this. Why is our behavior different when we think we will get away with selfish or reckless decisions? What has happened to character and integrity?


The price of greatness is responsibility. ~ Winston Churchill


You become responsible, forever, for what you tame! ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery


If you hang around chickens, you are going to peck at scraps on the ground; if you hang around eagles, you are going to soar to the heavens. It's a Simple Choice. ~ Mark Matteson


I read the following in an out-of-print book from 1888: What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging because it also means that we are free to change this destiny. One is not in bondage to the past. All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us and make a decision to change and follow through with action that decision demands.


What influences who we become? How can we become more responsible? 

  1. The End of Blame. Where is your Locus of Control? Is it Internal (Healthy) or External (Unhealthy)? Guess what? It's not the government, the economy, your boss, your spouse, or your kids that explain your current situation. It's YOU, your thoughts, feelings, actions, decisions, and attitudes that explain your current results.
  2. Books and People. What are you reading and why? Who are you hanging around and why? You will be the same person in five years but for two things: what you read and who is influencing your actions, decisions, and attitudes. You have a choice in all three.
  3. A Five Year Plan. What are you looking forward to? Where is your bus going? You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting. You are either getting better or getting worse. Life doesn't let anyone stay in neutral for very long. If you are coasting, it means you are going downhill. Do you have a written plan in each critical area of your life (health, wealth, relationships, spiritual life, character, and integrity)? Your goals attract the books you read and the people in your life.
  4. Habits of Thought. We all talk to ourselves habitually. It's either positive or negative. We average 60,000 thoughts a day and scientists tell us 75 percent of those are negative. Self-talk falls into three categories: silently to ourselves, aloud to ourselves, and aloud to others. Changing what, how, and when we talk to ourselves is challenging, but not impossible. It takes consistent vigilance and discipline, and an overwhelming desire to change for good.
  5. Never Stop Working on You. Persistence. Persistence. Persistence. Bob Moawad taught me at 14 years of age, "All meaningful and lasting change starts first on the inside and works its way out!" Here is one of my favorite poems, it has sustained me on more than one occasion: 

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don't you quit.


Life is tough with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a fellow turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out.

Don't give up though the pace seems slow-

You may succeed with another blow.


Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering man;

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor's cup;

And he learned too late when the night came down,

How close he was to the golden crown.


Success is failure turned inside out-

The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It might be near when it seems afar;

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit-

It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.


re·spon·si·bility - noun - the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something.


I just cut some guy off on the freeway and gave him the "I'm sorry" wave. Oops. Okay, I guess I'm glad he can't call me to tell me how he feels. I'm running a little late. Maybe it's best my license plate is NOT my cell phone number.

Mark Matteson gives over 75 presentations each year. Book him now to secure the inspiring message that will spark your group's success! To watch Mark's demo video, go to: www.sparkingsuccess.net. Call 206.697.0454 or e-mail him at mark.enjoythejourney.matteson@gmail.com. 
Book of the Month
The Upside of Fear: How One Man Broke the Cycle of Prison, Poverty, and Addiction
By Weldon Long

I met Weldon Long recently in Nashville, Tennessee. We were both presenting at Comfortech. Over the last year, I had at least 10 people (mostly contractors) tell me that Weldon and I have a great deal in common and did I know him? I arrived early to attend his seminar, introduced myself and gave him a copy of my newest book, It's About TIME. He proceeded to tell me he loves my monthly e-zine and that I don't write it often enough, and that he has been reading it for years. I told him I would give him five years to stop saying that! 

He gave me his amazing first book, The Upside of Fear. I read it in two sittings. It is some story. It inspired me to recommit to rewriting my long-term goals. He and I have so much in common, we are twin sons of different mothers.


I interviewed Weldon recently. Here are some of my notes:


"Honesty and getting real is the beginning of change...followed by massive and continuous action."


"Weldon spent 13 years in prison. His father's death and knowing his son was growing up without a father was the double-sided reason for his decision to change from the inside out." (We all have a self-imposed prison we have constructed on some level: addiction, sloth, indifference, operating on a fraction of our potential.)


"After hearing Weldon's extraordinary transformation, the late Dr. Stephen Covey told him, 'You have a divine destiny to help others change.' Think about it, if you are a parent or manager, you do, too."


He is a guy who never quit, took 100 percent responsibility for his actions and decisions, and changed from the inside out in ways most people can't imagine. Good for you, Weldon. You are an inspiration. 


Mark Matteson gives over 75 presentations each year. Book him now to secure the inspiring message that will spark your group's success! To watch Mark's demo video, go to:www.sparkingsuccess.net. Call 206.697.0454 or e-mail him atmark.enjoythejourney.matteson@gmail.com.