Beware the SNIOP!


Daily, Greg was growing more excited about his upcoming, first trip to Rome.

Finishing up all the last minute details, with just two days to his flight, Greg headed to his barber, Al, for a haircut.

Sharing his excitement with Al about the upcoming trip, Greg bubbled about staying with local people, eating homemade, Italian food and even having an audience with the Pope. Al put down his scissors and started droning, “You know traveling is so hard these days, such a long boring plane ride. Rome, of all places! It’s hard to get around. They drive like crazy, the people are rude and the streets…disgusting! The Pope? Ha! You’ll never get close to him.” Greg, feeling a little deflated, left the shop.

After his trip, Greg popped into the barber shop. Al started digging in immediately, “Well, didn’t I tell you about the terrible flight? The people, like I said, unfriendly, rude, eh! And did you see the Pope? Ha—I’ll bet all you could get was his postcard.”

Brimming with enthusiasm, Greg offered “Al, It was the best flight ever. Everyone was so accommodating. I was treated like family, and the people with whom I stayed showed me the sights as if I were royalty. Oh, and when I got to the Vatican, not only did I meet with the Pope, I had a private audience. It was awesome and I’m so grateful!”

Al, astounded to hear all this, asked “What did the Pope say to a nobody like you?” “Well,” Greg replied, “as I bent forward to kiss his Holiness’ ring, he wanted to know one thing… and asked me, ‘Who gave you such a lousy haircut?’’


SNIOP is an acronym for a person who is: Susceptible to the Negative Influences of Other People.

Greg didn’t play that role in the anecdote above, but do you? More importantly, are you willing to discover the subtleties of when you are? And most significantly, if you are, are you willing to take back responsibility for directing your own play, hearing your own song, standing up for your own dreams, living your own best life?

Being a SNIOP is not about being just influenced by others. We are and we ought to be. We don’t live in a vacuum and the fastest way to create success is to copy it. That means we want to not only allow influence, but to encourage ourselves to be impacted by the thinking and actions of those coaches, mentors and success models who’ve held high the bar of personal and professional excellence. The goal is to not be influenced by the negative and the limited. It’s about:

1. Bringing conscious choice as to whom we invite to impact us, and

2. Seeking direction and guidance from the best vs seeking approval and opinion of the many (or the “Any”). Ask yourself in what ways your world view is colored and shaped by those around you? In what ways— dig deep here, look for the subtle, do you allow yourself to be impacted by the leaders who can advance you or the negative opinions of others that can limit you?
• Do you use your inner voice with an “I know that,” to stop you from hearing those who have messages that can advance you?
• Do you seek approval by others when the authority should be your own inner voice?

The best way to predict the future is to create it. We create it by intentional focus on our consciously chosen VISION. I’ll bet you’ll agree that driving forward while only looking in the rear view mirror is a recipe for disaster. It’s no different whether we are in the driver’s seat of our car or the driver’s seat of our daily attitudes. We GO where we LOOK, so we want to guard where we look. Why put on the glasses of those who look to their world with negative attitudes and limited expectations, when we can immediately and consistently commit to playing with those going our way? Who are the people with whom you surround yourself? Who are your coaches, teachers, friends, religious leaders, mentors, trainers and business associates? What do you choose to read, watch on TV, browse on the internet, and attend for entertainment? Who you watch and read are the pals with whom you’re hanging. Are you listening to:

• Gossips on how to have good relationships?
• The impoverished on how to make money or to invest it?
• Couch potatoes on how to be healthy?
• The mean-spirited about loving?
• Failing students on how to study and succeed?

There is an alternative and it’s a shortcut to success: 10 Points to CREATE Your BEST (and avoid being a SNIOP)

1. Surround yourself with successful supportive people in the arena of each goal. Listen well to those who listen well and hear constructive criticism.

2. Choose goals that make you stretch and grow in positive directions.

3. Model yourself in the mental, physical and emotional habits of those who are positive and successful.
• Eat well, exercise with consistency.
• Make time to relax and focus on positive thoughts and solutions.
• Prioritize the highest good and long term payoff.
• Share more smiles and laughs.

4. Put your goals on paper and review them daily.

5. Commit yourself to do what’s right, not what’s easy.

6. Value friendships with those who have good to say about others and value friendships.

7. Read worthwhile literature by people who have excelled where you want to go.

8. Develop a wealth mentality. It’s one thing to be broke, it’s quite another to be poor. With a wealthy mentality and no money in the bank, a person is broke but not poor for the riches of possibility and the willingness to do the work to create the change.

9. Be open to the inspiration of others. Better yet, be an inspiration to others. Don’t only avoid those SNIOPS, don’t be one.

10. Make time daily to be still and reflect on your day. Celebrate those places where you fulfilled these steps. Celebrate your awareness of the moments when you didn’t. Re-create the negative moments when you either rained on others’ dreams or when you were a SNIOP. Imagine those scenes as if you behaved the way you’d consciously choose. Then Replay those the new way in your mind’s eye.

It’s all rehearsal for the life you live, by choice. You become what you think about. Thank you for investing this time with me. And thank you for passing this to others who may benefit.

By Barry Eisen