Blog | Life Success Seminars

A Heartfelt Farewell from the Board

It is with sadness and regret that we report that Life Success will hold its last official seminar with IPI on April 5-9. As we have communicated several times, the economics are such that we are unable to keep the doors open. However, as has been said numerous times “in the room,” it does no good to focus on what you cannot control, only on what you can. So please allow us a moment to reminisce…

What a ride it has been…from humble beginnings in 1985, LSS has held approximately 500 Basic seminars, 200 IPIs, and produced over 16,000 graduates from 48 states and 10 countries. We have changed lives, changed marriages, changed families and changed our community. And oh what fun we have had…from “Some-A-Days” and Hot Dog Opportunities with Jim Quinn, Mike Monahan asking “what if you did know?” and Steve telling us “understanding is the booby prize.” Then there were the friendships, ones that continue to this day, and the old friends who have lost touch but came back for a renewal after 2 decades and felt like they never left. The organization was always open and everyone was always welcome. We have also learned over the years, the only thing constant is change, and change we must. LSS is ending, but the legacy will not die. As you can see in this letter, our legacy, like the next generation that carries on from the last, lives on.

We want to thank everyone who has ever supported this organization, and there were many. From the facilitators, employees, volunteers, and champions, and especially the grads; you were the reason for it all. Here’s hoping you continue to look for win-win in all your endeavors, and find that mountaintop of your dreams. This will be LSS’s greatest legacy…

Please join us at our final IPI Celebration April 9th at 1pm, West Chester Hilton Garden Inn to say a final farewell. We look forward to seeing you.

Your Board

Although there are innumerable people…employees, supporters, donors, volunteers and grads…who deserve sincere thanks because if not for you all Life Success Seminars could never have existed, there are a few for whom we would like to give special recognition.

Jim Quinn: The organization began in 1985 as a dream and became a reality when a group of people who attended the Basic Seminar in Chicago, Illinois, wanted to bring the experience to Cincinnati. Jim Quinn was part of that group and took on the responsibilities of lead facilitator for the Basic seminar. Jim passed away on June 20, 1998, having made a great impact on everyone he touched through this work.

“Some-a-day, some-a-day, some-a-day.
Some-a-day I’m going to live my life to the fullest,
to get the best of life AND I’M FOR THAT, HOW ABOUT YOU?”

Therese Quinn: was a beloved part of LSS for many years. In addition to being a Basic facilitator here in Cincinnati, she also worked with LifeStream in Jacksonville, FL. Therese continued to facilitate with with Life Success until 2010. She resides in Jacksonville where she is still in business with her State Farm Insurance agency.

Mike Monahan was the CEO/Executive Director for Life Success Seminars for over 19 years. He also had the responsibility of Basic lead facilitator for more than 15 years. Mike’s passion is to be a resource for people who are serious about being professionals at living. He believes that each of us experiences defining moments in life and “it’s up to us to seize the opportunity in those moments or let them pass us by.”

Mike fulfilled his dream of moving with his “girlfriend” Nancy, to Florida and continues his work as a coach, author and speaker. Mike can be found at or Think Monahan.

Steve Sherwood has been the face of Advanced IPI for many years. He also provided his unique skills with the Next Step, Results Now and Facilitator Training seminars. Steve was instrumental in supporting and assisting with Life Success restart back in 2015, and a lifeline to many grads.

“The only thing I ever remember wanting to do was to somehow make a difference in the world. When I walked into my first Basic and IPI I knew I had finally found out how. I have never felt so completely alive and at my best than when I’m in that room.“

“It’s been 43 years since I started and although I’ve led seminars for almost a dozen different organizations in 20 cities I love my time with Life Success the most. I will miss LSS tremendously and have the greatest admiration and respect for the staff, facilitators and volunteers who made this possible.
It’s been a wonderful, joyful and miraculous time and I’m not ready to stop. I intend to continue doing seminars here and would like to stay in touch with you to let you know what’s next. IPI is on for April and so is Next Step in May.

I would love to see you at the IPI celebration April 9th so we can express our gratitude for Life Success and share a vision for what lies ahead. I can’t express how much you all have meant to me.” To find out more about Steve’s ongoing seminars and workshops,,

Kathy Marx worked for 35 years in the public school system as a teacher, counselor and administrator. Many of us know and love Kathy from her many years as co-facilitator with Mike in Basic. Kathy currently works with educators, both teachers and administrators, across the country, providing professional development, consulting and coaching to help them build their skills to better meet the needs of their students. She also resides in Florida (apparently the place where facilitators go to rest!) with her husband Mitch.

Mary Riefski first went through Basic in 1992. She has been involved with LSS since that time and in recent years, became the Operations and Sales Manager, helping to organize the seminar details and keep LSS running. Mary also sat on the Board for the Agape Loan Fund, which was set up by LSS grads to provide loans for seminar attendance. Her involvement with LSS also brought to fruition her dream of working with adoption families and thus began Braided Hearts Adoption Triad. Mary is also developing new workshops, as well as coaching & training opportunities to continue the work of personal/professional leadership transformation beyond the scope of the adoption experience.

Many grads will recognize Michelle Vondrell as the first face and voice we associate with Life Success. Michelle came to the organization in 2004 going through both Basic and IPI and ultimately came to work for the organization wearing many hats until 2013. Her commitment and dedication to the organization continued during the restart in 2015 and ultimately moved her into the role of Basic Facilitator. With the support of her husband, Randy, Michelle has also launched her own business, White Board Solutions where she uses her many talents in personal development workshops and retreats. She will be working with other Basic facilitators toward a renewed and invigorated seminar launch in May. Contact Michelle at

Please join us…

IPI Celebration at the West Chester Hilton Garden Inn
April 9th 1:00pm

Exciting Opportunities with Life Success!

Please join Life Success Seminars as we spring into 2017 with a FULL page of exciting opportunities for YOU and the people you love!



Let’s celebrate HUGS! Our next social gathering is a Valentine’s Day Party!

When: Saturday February 18th starts at 7:00 pm!
Where: 5036 Mallet Hill Drive, Cincinnati OH 45244

Organized by ‘The Tenacious Ten’ August 2016 IPI & hosted by Kim Myers & Tim Butler at their home. Bring your own beverages and an appetizer or dessert to share based on the first letter of your last name:

A – M, bring an appetizer
N – Z, bring a dessert

Please RSVP by February 11th to either:,
Kim Lahman:, or
RSVP on Life Success Seminars, Inc Facebook Event Page


Our next Basic is March 2nd – 4th at the Hilton Garden Inn West Chester, 9306 Schulz Drive, West Chester Ohio!

March 2017 Scholarship Rates good for all students:
New students can experience Basic regularly $595 now $299!
Renewal students regularly $295 now $149!

And what’s more, if you have a $100 member benefit voucher, you can use that discount as well, which means someone you love can experience Basic for the 1st time for only $199, or you can renew Basic for only the cost of your meals for $49!! (Call the office for your voucher code at 513.444.2047.) [Read more…]

Are you giving fear a bad name?

fear-198933_1280I was recently talking to a man faced with a challenge. It was one of those powerful, rare, scary moments we all find ourselves in from time to time. He had a pretty good idea what he needed to do he just hadn’t done it yet.

I was curious why he was waiting instead of acting and he said the fear was holding him back. He was hoping to find a less risky solution that wouldn’t cause so much anxiety. In his heart he knew he had made the right choice but maybe there was another way.

He was giving fear a bad name. Fear is a natural reaction. It’s the body’s way to get us ready when we are faced with new or challenging situations. Fear gets your heart pumping, your respiration changes, and your adrenaline starts flowing. Fear is the alarm clock that wakes you up for change.

You’re supposed to feel fear. Quit trying to avoid it. It seems that no matter how brave or secure we are there is some act or situation that gets our attention. Anytime you challenge boundaries, stretch out of your comfort zone or reach for your dreams you’ll find fear.

Fear doesn’t hold you back. Fear can’t hold you back. Fear can’t do anything at all it’s a feeling. What you do in the face of fear is a choice. You either choose to prolong it with inaction and indecisiveness or to act with courage.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking courage is the feeling of fearlessness. Courageous is what we do while we’re afraid not a feeling that replaces fear. Without fear there is no courage.

Written by:  Steve Sherwood


moth-305310_1280We’re the one species in charge of our own evolution. Each of us has the unique ability to look at changing circumstances and predict future realities. We can change our thinking and behavior by force of will. Oddly as uniquely human and special as this trait is we seem to have the perfect counterbalance in denial.

When confronted with radical change or difficult circumstances most folks refuse to evolve. They would rather die in their comfort zone than change. Two days ago I heard that a manager I’ve known for a dozen years was let go. We tried for ten years to convince him that his industry was evolving and if he didn’t change with it his future was bleak. His response was always the same. “This is a temporary flux. I’ll wait until things get back to normal.”

Things never do get back to normal except in one important way. The “normal” of life is change. It is a constant and unstoppable force that affects us all. The reality of our time is the pace of change is speeding up. If your response to impending change is to deny its real importance or impact on you then you have given up one of the most important gifts that came with your humanity. It seems odd that we created a myth about ostriches burying their heads in the sand when faced with fear (they don’t) when we’re the ones that do.

They taught me in psychology that the strongest motivator was survival. After watching people for a few years I disagree. I think people are more motivated by getting by in the moment. We refuse to tackle the hard decisions in the moments when we can positively impact our future. We would rather risk our careers, marriages, or health than evolve in ways that make sense.

Written by:  Steve Sherwood

A Crisis of Will

hand-792920_1280I am frequently surprised at how people and institutions deal with recurring problems. They focus on curing the effect of issues without analyzing or fixing the root cause. My friend Neil Witmer tells a great story. “A man once took his son fishing. They had just baited their hooks when they heard a man drowning. They immediately swam to his rescue and saved him. That fishing trip was over but the dad promised to return to the river next week.

The following week when they returned they were surprised to find another man drowning in the same spot. They tried to save him as well but another trip was ruined. After this happened four or five times the town decided to set up a clinic to save as many of the victims as possible. In time this became a famed teaching hospital specializing in drowning.

One day a young intern asked “Shouldn’t we find out where all these drowning victims are coming from?” The chief resident replied “Don’t be foolish this is a hospital and you’re a doctor. We have more important things to do than wander up and down the river.

Fixing the cause seems so obvious but we do love to fixate on the outcomes rather than the source of our issues. In the last few weeks I have talked with:

* A couple who were stressing about how they would pay their bills without really considering the nature of their expenditures. The couple didn’t have a bill paying problem they had a spending problem. They couldn’t figure out the difference in wants and needs and finally admitted they really didn’t want to. They were stuck on having a lifestyle and couldn’t imagine giving it up.

* A project manager who was trying to figure out how to restore morale without acknowledging what he was doing to destroy it. It turns out his staff’s morale problem was really his control issue. He admitted he was a “control freak” and that’s just the way he was. So rather than doing the hard work on himself he was hoping I could alter how it affected his staff.

* One of the most painful was played out recently on TV. I listened to politicians talking about the national healthcare crisis. They were arguing about how to get service to those in need and who should pay for it. This brings us sadly back to the clinic by the river. They were so busy saving drowning victims that no one investigated why they were drowning in the first place. In Alan Deutschman’s book “Change or Die” he asks how the problem was created not how to pay for it. He quotes Dr. Ray Levey founder of the Global Medical Forum. Dr. Levey said studies show that 80% of the diseases plaguing our health care system are caused by five common behaviors. Alan Deutschman lists them as too much smoking, drinking, eating and stress and too little exercise. If we change our behavior we eliminate 80% of our illness. The problem isn’t how to pay for health care, it’s how to get people to be responsible and live a healthy life. We don’t have a health care crisis we have a crisis of will.

Written by:  Steve Sherwood


superhero-450419_1280I have found there are three kinds of people. Over 90% of us fall in the first group. The first group is people who don’t recognize they have a superpower. The second group, about 9%, has a superpower and uses their power for purely personal goals. The third group, the 1% remaining, is the one that interests me. These are the people who know they have a superpower and have committed to a super-purpose. These are the world changers.

I know I lost a lot of you (about 90%) when I started talking about superpowers. When I tell people they have a superpower they usually deny it. They will admit to having natural gifts, but can’t accept the idea of power.

Let’s get into it a little bit. Each of us has God given gifts and talents. For the most part, we recognize some, if not all of them. We enjoy using those gifts within reasonable limits and may even feel honored to have received them. A superpower is the natural result of aligning and using all your gifts.

We were also raised with a strong value of modesty. We fear claiming our power. What if I’m seen as egotistical? The thing to remember is, these were gifts. You didn’t do anything to earn them. You aren’t special or unique, because you were given a gift, that honor goes to the gift giver not the receiver. To not acknowledge your gifts for fear of seeming boastful is really false modesty. Accepting the idea of power while saddled with the burden of false modesty just won’t work.

Those who have a grasp of their superpower must ultimately decide about their purpose. Life has natural stages. When you’re young you want to know if you’re accepted. After that it’s “how good am I”? These are questions about self-worth and until you resolve the questions about your own worth you will use your superpower for purely personal purpose. This will satisfy you for a while, but in time you may feel unfulfilled and want more.

That’s when it’s time to become one of the 1%. The one out of ten people that recognize they have a superpower and have committed to a super purpose.

These are the world changers!

(Thanks to Seth Godin for pushing me to think about superpower)

Written by:  Steve Sherwood

The Opposite of Great

ok-477504_1280If you ask most people they’ll tell you the opposite of great is awful. In reality the opposite of great is OK. That’s what we tell people when we aren’t doing anything that’s extraordinary or fun or exciting or any of the feelings we really wish we felt.

When we’re challenging our limits and chasing our dreams we’re hardly ever OK. We may be overwhelmed, thrilled, anxious or elated but not OK. One of my favorite stories is the one about the window washer who fell from the Empire State building. When he passed an open window on the 29th floor someone heard him say “so far so good”. If you had asked him he probably would have said he was OK.

Great is a feeling waiting for us when we choose to give up the false comfort of OK and take a hard run at our dreams. Are you ready? Think about it the next time someone asks you how you’re doing and you tell them “OK”.

Written by:  Steve Sherwood

True North

compass-152121_1280There is a difference between true and magnetic north. If you’re using a compass to cruise the neighborhood it doesn’t really matter. On the other hand if you’re using it to guide you on a long but important journey it makes all the difference between success and failure.

The difference in degrees is sometimes so small it seems inconsequential
Why should you care? All of us have our own true north as well as a magnetic north. Our magnetic north is the desire that’s hard to escape. There are some things that exert an external pull on us. Maybe it’s work, or Alcohol, or video games. Yours could be gossip, self-doubt, someone other than your spouse or worry. Everybody has something that exerts a magnetic influence that changes the course of the direction of Their live.

The most common magnetic influence is also perhaps the most subtle and difficult to change. Normalcy. The incredible urge to fit in that can lead to complacency, boredom and mediocrity. It’s such an acceptable and pervasive influence that’s its rarely recognized for what it is. It in fact is a thief to what’s most unique and great about us. It robs us of our true potential and bars us from realizing our dreams.

True north is the direction that nourishes our spirit. It’s the direction that leads to a life we can truly be proud of. Even when it seems like that life is 180 degrees from the life we’ve been living getting there is usually a matter of a one-degree shift.

Imagine you shift from magnetic north to true north. If each step you take represents one day. After one step it’s almost impossible to notice any change between your new course and your old course. The two paths are only a half inch apart. After one day your left thinking this doesn’t work but I’m a patient person so I’ll give it two days. After two days the difference between the paths is still only an inch, any little loss of balance will move you back to your old course. It seems like you aren’t making the kind of progress you should.

If you hold to the path after a month there’s 15 inches separating your new course from the old. Any obstruction or obstacle you have to walk around may have you cross your old path. The magnetic pull is still strong and “Oop’s” you seem to have slipped back to your old ways. The critics around you will nod their heads and say “I knew it”. Those who never left that life will welcome you back with open arms and now you have to start all over again with a one- degree shift.

The difference we want in our life’s journey shows up at the end of it not the beginning. When you get to true north you find that even though each step only carried you a slightly away from your old course you have moved so far it’s hard to imagine where you’d be without that little shift.

Written by:  Steve Sherwood


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