To Write or Not To Write… That is the Question?

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I want to share a story with all of you today, which is something I have rarely discussed with anyone, because there was a time in my life when I almost gave up! I am not sure if the story I am about to share is going to seem critical, but the message and the underlying premise should ring loud and clear. Many of you might be aware of my original email subscription, Jared Yellin Revisited, which began in November of 2007 and lasted until the day Brandentity was launched. The purpose of these inspirational messages was to communicate my feelings on a variety of topics concerning the establishment of your identity. After four months of successfully growing the distribution list and receiving unbelievable feedback, I was in the process of composing my Valentine’s Day email. Upon completion of this message, where I felt an enormous amount of pride in myself for sharing my thoughts on LOVE, my computer froze and the work was lost. For about forty-five minutes, I just stared at a blank computer screen with feelings of resentment, aggravation, and gloom surfacing. I felt completely empty as I realized this was going to be an important decision in my life—to write or not to write—that was the question?

overcoming_obstacles_large_picMany of you might think that I am dramatizing this situation, but I encourage you to think about a time in your life when everything seemed to be coasting, you were gaining momentum, achieving success in whatever it is you were doing, and simply feeling wonderful about life. This might have been when you were in relationship, pursuing a career as an entrepreneur, or participating in an activity that was a passion for you. As you are picturing yourself taking part in any of these situations, I want you to try and feel the incredible energy that began to surface as a result of your excitement and enthusiasm. As you begin feeling the emotions of this event, I want you to think about how you would feel if everything all of sudden became frozen, you lost the feeling, and the only way to get it back was to start from scratch. My passion at that time, since I was on Wall Street and living an identity-less life, was spreading a message of hope because it was therapeutic for me to discuss topics that were prevalent in my world. And then the computer froze and a message about LOVE was lost in cyberspace.

The question I would like all of you to consider answering is when did this happen in your life? I am sure at some point in the past you were passionate about something, until a barrier stood between you and the passion, resulting in an abbreviated journey. But as you stood looking at this barrier, which could be a lack of identity, an injury, divorce, and a variety of other challenges, you had the opportunity to ask yourself—to continue or not to continue—that was your question? Only you know how you answered, only you know if you are still pursuing whatever it is that was halted, and only you know if there is an empty feeling inside because you gave up on something you loved dearly. I am not here to put you through a guilt trip, while putting myself on a pedestal, because I obviously did not allow myself to give up, but I am here to tell you that one of the reasons you might be struggling when it comes to establishing your identity is that this scenario has taken place on a number of occasions in your life.

Since this might be the case, I am going to provide you with the Six Steps To Continue, which enabled me to look past the barrier of a frozen computer, to the endless opportunities which were on the horizon:

1.) Make a list of how not continuing has or will change the way you live your life.

In order to begin this process, you will need to forecast what you believe your life will look like if you decide not to continue. For example, let’s pretend that you were beginning a diet and exercise program, and as you started to gain momentum, you broke your footone step before success1 which prevented you from the physical aspect of this lifestyle change. If you allow this injury to keep you sidelined for longer than you need to heal, then there is a possibility that you will allow yourself to gain weight, raise a family that is unhealthy, have additional hours of sleep, have a shortened lifespan, etc.

2.) Write either a P for positive or an N for negative besides each of these items.

Each of the consequences that you find will lead to a positive or negative interpretation. Everything happens for a reason and the barrier you are facing on your journey may have developed for your own good. Only you will be able to determine if the benefits of not continuing will outweigh the advantages of enduring.

3.) For the items that received a P, determine what actions will need to be taken in order to continue.

This is your opportunity to create a strategy to succeed with this continuation process. In the example from above, you could hire a personal trainer who is going to create a program for you to follow once provided with the approval from your doctor. You could prevent yourself from binging on processed foods and instead focus on consuming healthy alternatives. You could purchase a clothing item that is too small for you, but your ideal size, in order to inspire yourself to fit into the outfit. You could commit to a gym membership for your entire family so that this can become part of the culture at your home.

4.) Consider the potential barriers that could surface

By addressing the challenges that you could face, before they even happen, you will be prepared to navigate past these circumstances and achieve your desired goal. I believe that preparation is one of the fundamental elements of success, and by addressing the barriers prior to them surfacing, you will be fully equipped and ready to take on the challenge.

5.) Imagine what you life will feel like once you make the commitment to continue

This relates to Starting With the End in Mind because once you are able to envision the emotions associated with overcoming the obstacle and continuing the journey, you will do everything in your power to make this a reality because victory is far too sweet to neglect.

set-your-goal-and-take-action6.) TAKE ACTION!

This is plain and simple because once you follow the prior five steps, the last thing you must do is TAKE ACTION on all of your findings, believe in yourself, and never allow a barrier to prevent you from accomplishing whatever it is that you desire in your life.

I think it is important to commend all of you because as you can see from the list above, the first step to reclaiming your identity is to begin realizing when it was lost. This does not necessarily mean you are all of a sudden going to find the root of your pain, but you might be able to discover something that has contributed to your feelings of loss. Once you determine what this is in your world, and follow the steps from above, the sixth and final step is simply to take action, and reclaim whatever it is that was left behind. As we progress on our journey to BRANDENTITY, there will be countless times when you are faced with similar challenges, and once again, you will be forced to ask yourself—to continue or not to continue—that is your question? But this time around, I am confident that continuing will be the only strategy you consider…

When have you allowed your “circumstances” to prevent you from pursuing a passion?

What does this mean to you? Please leave a comment.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna M. Butler December 11, 2009 at 10:32 am

Thank you Jared! The stumbling blocks are there to do just that…trip us up, but we have to make the decision ourself to get up, dust ourselves off and keep going. I am striving for that right now…training myself to keep getting up and become a little more steady day by day. It is all up to me!


JY December 11, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Donna…You are an inspiration and I admire your sense of awareness about tripping, but getting back up. I always tell people, and I know this is cliche, that it is perfectly normal to get knocked down 8 times, as long as you stand up 9. With each fall, we grow as an individual, if and only if, we are aware of lessons which surface from the barrier which has erected itself in our world. What I have learned is that all of this sounds wonderful in theory, but in the practical world is rather difficult to implement. I think that when we hit these stumbling blocks, we need to try our very best to FOCUS on all of the wonderful things we already have in our world, as opposed to what has yet to be achieved. Focus on your family, focus on your passion, and focus on yourself. Will this work every time? YES and what will often happen is that as we become clearer on our purpose, we will be able to POP out of our “situations” much faster!!! GREAT JOB DONNA…I ADMIRE YOU!


Kathleen December 11, 2009 at 11:13 am

I’m guilty! I have allowed my “circumstances” to prevent me from continuing my education. I have so many excuses not to go back to college and get a degree…I’m old (44 years old), I make a decent living that doesn’t require a degree, there doesn’t seem to be enough time, it would be an additional expense, the list goes on and on. I know these excuses don’t hold much truth because it’s really up to me. I can do what I set my mind up to do; it’s all about my choice…and I have made the choice not to continue my education. It’s something I think about from time to time but then I just push it out of my thoughts. But if this is the only demon I have to live to with I’m going to be just fine!

I love me.

And THAT’S worth thinking about!



JY December 11, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Kathleen…First and foremost, I admire your transparency and appreciate your willingness to SHARE! I encourage you to follow the SIX STEPS TO CONTINUE because this is the EXACT strategy that I used in my world and with many of the people who I have helped over the course of time. The reason these steps prove to be so valuable is because it allows you to truly analyze whether or not continuing is a POSITIVE or NEGATIVE event in your life. Based on what you said in your response, it would seem to me that education is something that has resulted in a VOID in your life. If this statement is TRUE, then take action, believe in yourself, and go BACK to school….



Barbara Wainwright December 12, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Kathleen.. I’ll add some food for thought here… Perhaps the reason that you have made excuses for not continuing your education is because you are happy doing what you do. As long as you are happy, why spend any time thinking about what you could have done? Are you happy? From your post, you sound satisfied with your income and with your self. Being “formally” educated isn’t for everyone. I love what my daughter wrote in her scholarship essay… a quote: “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”. If you are doing what you love, living a life you’re a passionate about, then anytime spent in remorse is truly wasted. Stay present with your thoughts, in the moment, in the now. The only pain you experience is in the past, and the only fear, in the future. Be here now. I love you too! ~Barbara


JY December 13, 2009 at 7:01 pm

This is a great “Food for Thought…” I love the duality to every situation because what I find is that people struggle with the interpretation of their own messages, and as a result, do not allow themselves to feel “accomplished” because of all that they achieved. This leads to a life of confusion because at one point they were on a pursuit of X and as time continued eventually changed focus and went after Y. Many people feel like they “gave up” on X because their emotions shifted, but if Y is what they were always looking to accomplish, then they should feel wonderful about the “who they are,” because the time spent pursuing X opened their eyes to Y…

AWESOME contribution Barbara and thank you for your thoughts!


Michele Rosenthal December 11, 2009 at 11:17 am

Oh, I SO know what you mean about choosing whether or not to go on. I struggled with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for many years. During the healing phase I crashed and burned, succeeded and failed, over and over — and over again! What kept me going was my passion for the desired outcome. I wanted to reach my healing goal so very badly that (after I wallowed in self-pity for a while!) I always pushed myself to try again because the desire driving me to wellness would not be stopped. When we tap into our passion we can only succeed. The journey is not necessarily a straight one, and it may take time, but we will achieve because we are motivated by something deep, primal and soul-affirming.


JY December 11, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Michele….I love this comment “What kept me going was my passion for the desired outcome.” This EPITOMIZES starting with the end in mind because you must have known what your OUTCOME was if you were willing to proceed regardless of the crashing and burning. I resonate with the fact that you realize the POWER of PASSION because once you tap into this area of your life, you will only succeed. PASSION provides you with the FUEL to continue the process. PASSION defines your purpose. PASSION is what makes you…YOU! When you tap into your PASSION you find your IDENTITY…

THANK YOU for always sharing because your messages have the ability to TRANSFORM the way people think….


Roy Caudill December 11, 2009 at 9:01 pm

It is fantastic to be able to fall, wallow and rise anytime we choose. Your thoughts that can be influenced by your experieinces can be limiting if you choose. The right to step forward and continue writing can never be taken away. Knowing how it feels can help build the momentum that carries you to the next step. It is never too late to decide where your steps take you. RCC


JY December 12, 2009 at 12:22 am

Roy…I love this comment, “It is never too late to decide where your steps take you.” This is a choice that everyone has the opportunity to make once they feel ready and prepared to take the next step. What I have found is that when you gain the courage to take action, the fist step feels like it lasts for days because as your proverbial foot departs from the ground, gravity will begin to play its role, as this is the most uncomfortable aspect of this decision. But once your proverbial foot lands safely, it will be the most liberating experience of your life…

Thank you for always contributing, sharing wonderful interpretations, and gaining the courage to take one step, each day, in the direction of realizing what makes you…YOU!


Sonia December 13, 2009 at 9:49 am

This post is familiar to me. I have found through out my life that this finding who you are and not giving up is a continuous process. I’ve achieved some great things in my life, some small and some big. I’ve also failed, stumbled and have not actualized some of my desires and dreams. At this time, my life is in transition and I’m beginning the process all over again. Identifying, awakening to where I am and what is holding me back, writing my thoughts down, planning and most important showing up and taking action.



JY December 13, 2009 at 7:07 pm

How exciting is this Sonia?!?!?! I admire your ability to recognize your current position in life and allowing everything to unfold, but controlling the situation and anticipating the outcome. When people are in “transition,” their is often a level of ‘uncomfort’ due to the uncertainty that is on the horizon. But it is critically important to embrace this cliche…”ALL GROWTH OCCURS OUTSIDE THE COMFORT ZONE!”

If you are currently feeling the residual effects associated with the unknown, they keep on doing what you are doing because I firmly believe a BREAKTHROUGH is about to to take place!!!

Keep everyone notified at BRANDENTITY and I would like to cordially welcome you to the IDENTITY REVOLUTION! (there is no better place to find yourself than here!)


KC O'Dunn December 16, 2009 at 2:48 pm

I scrambled to cover my overhead after a long career in Radio expired with the enactment of the communications act of 1995 by returning to sea after a nearly 20 year absence. I listened to the 17 year-old in my head, the one I first went to sea with — I should have been listening to the 45 year-old who was wearing my shoes. I trapped myself at sea. I was some 75 days out in a stretch. To keep my family at its accustomed standard of living I could not leave the ships. To keep myself in my heart and on my path I studied everything I was interested in. Though I was expanding I was not happy. As will happen when one is ignoring the signs, the Universe will direct a you in what ever way that will get your attention. My ship began to fail every time I returned to it. As Captain I began to see that it was my energy that was driving the situation. Before there was a major disaster (as are not uncommon at sea) I left the life. It was a risk but it has worked out well. I too did not give up while I was there but I was not clever enough to know how to break free until conditions made the decision for me. There are many people who are scrambling now for anything that will put food on the table and some will be trapped by their choices. The wisdom I earned in my experience is not the type that would build a fire under a person to motivate him. I see this as a matter of personal tolerance. I have abandoned my tolerance for discomfort and anxiety and anger and unhappiness. I know I will never allow myself to be closed off. I can encourage others but it comes down to how much a person is willing to put up with before they thrust themselves toward what is real.


JY December 16, 2009 at 9:17 pm

I enjoyed reading your story and so appreciate your willingness to share. It seems like you have had the fortune to learn from your circumstances and become clearer on the meaning of the events which surface in your life. I commend you for your efforts and would like to WELCOME you to BRANDENTITY!


Col Vijay Batra, SM December 28, 2009 at 1:02 am

Circumstances do not permanently prevent us from pursuing what we want to pursue it may be temporarily. But more important is to see that it is these very circumstances which are actually testing our staying capacity to pursue what we want to as also making us think about the choices we have and that we want to make. It is these very circumstances which make us learn( and EARN more as earn is built in to learn) rather than getting in to BLAME game and becoming LAME(as Lame is built in to blame). Circumstances may or may not be under our control but what outcome we want is definitely in our control if we choose to respond rather than react.


JY December 28, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Col Vijay Batra…

This is a wonderful response to this message because it truly captures the foundation of what we need to learn in our lives. We are unable to control the situations that take place, but we can control our reaction to these situations. I believe that circumstances are based on our interpretations of what these events mean in our world. If we were not introduced to challenges throughout our lives, then we would never grow, we would remain stagnant, and we would live a life that was lacking in purpose. Our circumstances are our choice because we are responsible to decide how they impact our lives…motivation or debilitation…?

Great job Col Vijay and WELCOME to BRANDENTITY!!!!!!


Jean Myles December 29, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Thanks as usual Jared. It is so true. My biggest “circumstance” at the moment is trying to work from home while caring for 2 young kids, one with Autism. I get very few hours each day to myself and have to divide those into work, excercise, and “me” time (blogging, TV, reading). I am trying to just prioritize and budget my time as best I can.


JY December 30, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I admire your fortitude Jean because even with all of your “circumstances,” you always seem to maintain such a positive attitude with your comments, blog, and I am also sure in life as well. Take a moment each day to acknowledge yourself for all that you do. Even if this is right before you go to sleep at night, envision everything that was accomplished during that day and honor yourself for just being YOU!

Thank you for always sharing such honest and wonderful messages!



Debrah January 1, 2010 at 12:13 am

As a special education teacher I can tell you that my most delightful students are the ones with autism. They are so refreshingly honest and tell it like it is as they see the world. Make certain you keep a journal. Write down your frustrations so they are on paper and you can put them away from your mind.
Then write down the fun things they do and say. You will wantthose as treasured memories some day.
I know, some days their needs can be wearing on you. If they are not yet in school, rest assured that you will soon get relief and more time to yourself when they enter the school system and (hopefully) a teacher such as myself will nurture your child part of the day while you recoup your energies for when they return home. Hang in there!


JY January 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm

You are an inspiration Debrah and you have the gift of empowerment….never forget this, never compromise this, and never stop BEING you!


sanjay thapa December 29, 2009 at 10:41 pm

like i’ve always felt ..almost unconsciously – don’t just wait for ‘things’ to happen… make it happen ! Destiny was what our (my) forefathers spoke of, like him its long dead and gone !!


JY December 30, 2009 at 2:19 pm

This is an amazing subconscious thought to possess because you have learned that LIFE is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but rather about learning to DANCE in the RAIN! Maintain this attitude and only greatness will enter into your world!

Thank you for sharing this message and WELCOME to BRANDENTITY!


Debrah January 1, 2010 at 12:05 am

Circumstances change your life all the time. Is prevent a good linquistic choice or would change be better.

I married, I moved, I got pregnant, I stayed home with my children and left my wonderful career as a school teacher.
The joy I receive from staying home and raising my children surpasses any I would have recieved with a career. No one can raise a child like its mother can, No one can nurture like a mother.

However I did not idly lose my career. I used those minutes and days and weeks. I kept up by reading and networking and was able to step right back into my career with new and enhancing skills almost 20 years later. I am a much better teacher than I was before. I have still the enthusiasm of youth and added it is maturinty and a depth of understanding that comes from day to day life experiences.

Every shut door is an invitation to new opportunities.

Took time today to enjoy 20 people in the house. Children, grandchildren and my parents. It makes life worthwhile, to know that my children are contributing members to society and themselves all raising fine children who likewise are on their way to contributing to the world each in their own ways. My children include a teacher, a nurse a mother, and one going to college. My husband teaches children in jail, I special ed and work as an NLP coach primarily for abused children.
The world is a better place for our small contributions.


JY January 1, 2010 at 2:51 pm

I appreciate this wonderful contribution to the IDENTITY REVOLUTION. You pose an interesting question when asking if prevent versus change is a good linguistic choice? I think it depends upon the circumstance that is taking place in your world. I agree that circumstances definitely change your life, but it is our choice as to how we interpret this circumstance and then how it becomes part of our identity. Flexibility is a fundamental principle in our lives which often makes people uncomfortable because flexibility is usually associated with unknown events and situations that will test your values.

I do believe that there are circumstances which present barriers in our existence and the result is a roadblock “preventing” us from getting to where we want to go. In your situation, I believe that your highest value was being a mother, which is why you never felt like you were compromising your career. You were congruent with the “who you are” and I want to acknowledge this decision. I also wholeheartedly agree with your comment that “Every shut door is an invitation to new opportunities,” because with each door that closes, another will open, we just need to turn our head to the left, and to the right, in order to decide how to proceed.

It sounds like you have a wonderful family and I always enjoy hearing stories about families who share the common goal of empowering people. Everyone seems to be playing their part and I commend you for providing them with a foundation in order for all of this to manifest…

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and your family and I look forward to your feedback as we progress!


Debrah January 1, 2010 at 12:09 am

You asked for comments. Here is a piece I wrote for a girl doing a project on service and why people chose to serve the greater community.

Some years ago I worked with a guy at the swimming pool. Someone jumped in the pool. For a brief second the water opened up but quickly filled the spot where he had entered as if he had never been there, He said, “Life is like that, you jump in the water and when you die there is nothing left. The water just fills in the hole and replaces itself.”

I watched the water ripple out and thought how wrong he was. As a person jumps into the pool the water ripples out. In a pond the ripple will touch the entire bank of the pond. There plants live that cannot reach the water and are parched, yet water is so near, just out of reach. When the ripples move out every dry plant along the edge is blessed with life-giving water.

I would like to think that my life can create a ripple effect also. I cannot go and save women in Afghanistan or Africa, but I can counsel women here parched in soul and thirsty for the tools I have, and as I improve the lives of the women I am in contact with they in turn help others who help others and in my little way I could just ripple out and affect women in Afghanistan or Africa or who knows where.

I can make a difference and I will!


JY January 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Debrah you are truly an amazing individual and I feel so fortunate to have you sharing these thoughts with all of the fellow members of the IDENTITY REVOLUTION. When I began reading this story and completed the first paragraph my gut reaction was “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” Our life has a ripple effect that can impact generations to come and people all around the world because you never know how far your words of wisdom, good deeds, and authenticity will travel.

But as I continued reading, you said it ALL! You are creating a ripple effect and everyone else who contributes to this site, contributes to a life, or does something to contribute is also creating a ripple effect that could circle around the world and back. I encourage you to read this blog post ( because you will resonate with it on so many levels….

Thank you once again for being YOU because NO ONE could ask for anything more….


donna rowe January 1, 2010 at 12:59 am

to continue is the only option. i can’t count how many roadblocks i have encountered in my life, especially when i was doing the right thing. i believe there is always a reason something happens, good or bad, and that you grow from it. i am a culmination of everything, good and bad, that has ever happened to me and all of that makes me who i am. that’s a good thing too. of course, there are occasions when one considers giving up. i once once decided to not continue. it lasted about 15 minutes. i know who i am, why i was put on this earth, and as much of a pain those road blocks can be, as hard as it is to overcome them, it is more painful to give up. the joy in overcoming is indescribable. the miracles i see are and have seen are too many to count. evn with my failing health, i have figured out a way to pursure my passion, just trying to figure out how to find more hours in a day. to not continue is never an option, it is unhealthy.


JY January 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm

You captured the essence of perseverance. There are two guarantees in life, one is the inevitable death once we have served our purpose in this world and the other are that challenges will surface during our existence. A life without challenge is a life without growth, but the CATCH 22 is that many people STOP when barriers are placed on their path. The result is an inability to reach your full potential because each “failure” provides the opportunity for “success” when you try one more time. But when an individual “quits” the potential “successes” will be lost through eternity.

I want you to know Donna, that you are truly a LEADER in your own world. Continue to use all of your POWER= Persist Onward While Everyone Resists because I have an incredible feeling that a huge BREAKTHROUGH is on the horizon…I believe in your Donna Rowe…I believe in you!


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