Joseph McClendon III On How We Need To Redefine Success

Know your outcome. Be clear and specific on what you want to achieve. Write it down. Because what you write, you invite; what you don’t, you won’t. Know your reasons why, your motivations behind your aspirations. Or, you can think about what you are not comfortable with or dislike about your life. For some people, […]

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Know your outcome. Be clear and specific on what you want to achieve. Write it down. Because what you write, you invite; what you don’t, you won’t. Know your reasons why, your motivations behind your aspirations. Or, you can think about what you are not comfortable with or dislike about your life. For some people, it’s easier to know what they don’t want, instead of what they do want. To their benefit, success can also be defined in terms of being able to minimize the things that don’t contribute to your happiness.


Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.

As a part of this series I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Joseph McClendon III.

Joseph McClendon III has a Doctorate in Neuropsychology and is one of the most sought after Ultimate Performance Specialists in the industry. Having delivered hundreds of workshops to over 5 million people around the globe and coached celebrity actors, athletes, CEOs and even royalty, Joseph has perfected the ability to create rapid personal change that effectively moves people to take more consistent action with their personal and business achievements. At his core, Joseph is an expert in coaching business professionals to overcome behaviors and inner and outer obstacles that may impede their results and affect their bottom line, and now he licenses and certifies others to do the same, using his proprietary methodology and programs. Joseph’s just-launched legacy program now equips students of the Neuroencoding Institute with his cutting-edge methods, so anyone, anywhere in the world may become a licensed and certified Neuroencoding Specialist.


Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?

First of all, thank you for having me. I’ve been really excited about this.

I’ll start off by saying that, by profession, I’m a Neuropsychologist. I studied traditional Psychology for a long time, but didn’t practice it. To be honest, at the very beginning I was interested in Psychology for personal reasons, because, professionally, I was actually working as a musician with CBS Records. Then I came to be who I am and started doing what I do now by the will of both fortunate and unfortunate events.

At the age of seventeen and a half years old, three grown men tried to take my life because of the color of my skin. They charged at me all at once, kicking and punching me in the face and ribs with rage and hate. I remember feeling hopeless, scared and furious at the same time. That experience devastated me. It took away my pride, my self-esteem, my dignity and the values I had grown up with. Quite honestly, the beating was bad, but the things that they said to me damaged my psyche. I know now that was where the most harm was done because my level of hatred — not for those three men, but for myself — and self-loathing was over the top and, as a result, I became homeless. I ended up living in a cardboard box behind an old drive-in theatre in Lancaster, California. Without knowing it back then, that was actually the genesis of my journey into personal growth and ultimate success.

What changed my life and what brought me to where I am right now, was a random act of kindness from a random stranger. A kind individual who gave me a book called Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I read the book and, most importantly, I did the exercises, and it changed my life. I started listening to Jim Rohn afterwards, and what changed the most was my ability to reframe my perspective of what had happened. Then I went back to the gentleman to thank him and asked him, “How do I repay you, because what you’ve done has changed my life.” What he said was, “Well, Joseph, you repay me by doing the exact same thing I’ve done for you, for as many people as you can, for the rest of your life.” Those words set me on the path of helping others and becoming an Ultimate Performance Specialist. I went back to my education, started learning more about people and their psychology, and I found my calling.

We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?

First of all, I would say there are several things that stop us from stepping up to our best selves and achieving success: procrastination, hesitation, impostor syndrome, self-doubt, self-loathing, fear of failure and even fear of success. These inhibitions run rampant in most people and are actually the thieves of our dreams. The way I see it, you can choose to either go towards pain or go towards pleasure. If you go towards pain, your brain is always thinking “let’s get out of here, let’s find something that is pleasurable.” Even if it’s destructive to you, you’d go to something that is perceived as less painful, and that’s why some people have bad habits or addictions.

In this light, what I would then say are two big myths or misconceptions about success are that it has to be a linear process towards progress and that it has to be something that’s defined by culture and society. Success should not be a socio-culturally defined construct of wealth or fame or whatever. Ultimately, each one of us has to decide for ourselves what success really means to us, what our version of success looks like, and thus define it in our own unique terms. For some people, success may mean having a loving family, running a thriving business or simply being able to help others by volunteering around the globe.

Also, success is not linear. It does not come without pain or sacrifice. So be prepared to fail, learn, unlearn and relearn, and take action as many times as needed. And, most importantly, do not compare yourself to others. Self-to-other comparison just equals possibilities. Self-to-self comparison equals progress. With the increase of internet exposure, thoughts of comparison are prevalent. As are beliefs that everyone else who’s achieved some level of success ‘made it’ by taking intelligent, faultless steps forward, while you take two steps forward and one step back, forget why you’re even doing what you’re doing out of habit or autopilot mode, or practice action-taking but fail to truly develop the dedicated consistency it takes to be a ‘megapreneur.’ But here’s the secret: those are just limiting beliefs and impostor syndrome. Let me remind you that success doesn’t come from doing everything ‘perfectly.’ You can engage in massive action-taking to increase your chances of a favorable outcome, but that doesn’t make you immune to challenges or failure. In fact, failure and challenges get a bad rap, but facing setbacks and problems is indeed a sign of progress, because that’s how you learn.

Lastly, I would like to end with this saying, ”The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The next best time is right now.” So wherever you are on your success voyage, you still have plenty of time and there’s always time to make it. History is replete with examples of people who make things happen at any given time of their lives. In fact, there are only three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. You get to choose who you want to be of those three.

How has your definition of success changed?

It’s so easy for us to get wrapped up in other people’s results without understanding the process that it takes to get there. I remember seeing what I used to regard as ‘successful’ people living a life of luxury and craving what they had. Truthfully, I used to believe that success was about having loads of money, but when I finally got enough money myself, I wasn’t really happy. And that was when my definition of success had to change.

To me, success boils down to the 60/20/20 rule. This rule means that 60% is psychology (the perception you’ve got about yourself, about the world around you and about other people), 20% is energy and electricity (how you generate it, how you have it, how you store it), and the last 20% is magnetism (knowing what you want and magnetising your goals and aspirations into manifestation by attracting them with your energy).

My personal belief is that we all have the ability to magnetise ourselves to attract and bring into our lives the situations, circumstances and even the material things that we desire, and thus become successful in our own terms. Bottom line is, there is a process to magnify yourself and magnify whatever it is that you want to achieve. Knowledge is not power. Knowledge is just potential power. Action is power. And process is progress. Action that is frequently repeated into a pattern, a default behavior embedded in your psychology, then becomes the process that makes all the difference. And it is this process that is the key to unlocking a life of abundance and success. In these terms, success, to me, is being wealthy, which should be holistically understood as being healthy, happy and financially abundant.

The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?

When the pandemic came around, so did heightened struggle. Struggle is fear. Struggle is hardship. Struggle is a challenge that comes along. And it’s part of life, it’s part of what makes us grow. But here’s the thing: how long you struggle, how long you’re in pain and in fear, is always negotiable. The longer you stay there, the slower you’re going to go. The longer you allow that voice that talks to you at the back of your head that criticizes you and doubts you, the slower you will go. So part of the trick to life is to learn how to quell that conversation; not to just shut it off, but to make it work for you so that it talks to you in a way that causes you to fear less. And what this means is that there are no fearless people, but people who fear less. And this refers to the amount of time that those people stay in fear before they snap themselves out of it. The greatest part of it is that, when you get to do this for yourself, you then have your own certainty that it works and you propel yourself forward. What’s more is, just by your presence and by the example that you set, the success that you put out and the happiness that you have, will inspire and empower other people to do so as well. People that are around you will automatically be empowered just by your energy alone.

Having said this, the most critical change I believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic is to connect, build community and to become teachers for other people. Personally, I hate to see people struggling when they have the opportunity to not struggle. Success, wealthiness and happiness, to me, are about so much more than just money alone. Indeed, I found success has so much more to do with connecting and adding value to other people’s lives. So the opportunity and the need to help other people is strong with me, and I believe that it should be strong with us all if we really want to access success post pandemic quickly and efficiently. I know it’s both harder and easier to do now, just in different ways, but connection is absolutely essential to true, lasting success.

As a matter of fact, when it comes to serving others and creating everlasting change with your life story or your gift, building community and networking is the most important part of the process. I call this creating an ‘energetic dome of geometrically exponential growth.’ Sometimes it can be a struggle to uncover solutions on your own and it gets much easier when you find someone who’s already achieved what you hope to and they’re willing to guide you. So in order to supercharge the ability to access success post pandemic, it is crucial to build relationships — and mentorship will surely do this for you — that will help you grow geometrically and exponentially.

What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.

Flashback to 2020. Previous to the pandemic, you would find me speaking live, internationally, in front of 15 to 20 thousand people every month on how to take consistent action to trigger personal change. That’s how I make my living. Back in March 2020, my calendar was fully booked till the end of 2021 with seminars at least once or twice a month. Then Covid hit and those events started to drop off my calendar. One day — I remember the date perfectly, March 15th, 2020 — as I was sitting in my office, I got a phone call from one of my promoters — I think he was from Singapore — who said we had to cancel the rest of our upcoming events. I agreed because gigs had been canceling left and right up until then. However, that meant there were no more events for me, and my calendar was completely cleared.

To be honest, I paradoxically panicked for a moment. I got really fearful for a couple of seconds and I remember distinctly thinking to myself, “What am I going to do now?” I was terrified! Something came over me. BUT — because I’ve encoded myself to automatically default to my best options, and my best behavior — I immediately ran into my bathroom, took a deep breath, put a smile on my face, looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Joseph, what do we GET to do now?”

I went back to my office, sat down and made a list of things I could do. As a result, I wrote a new book, created the studio gear, started doing virtual events, and created The Neuroencoding Institute, which is my legacy project. All of those results came from encoding an optimistic default, a successful default. And those outcomes may never have occurred without the pandemic shutting down live events!

This goes to say that, sometimes, when you don’t get your dream, you get your destiny. What that means is that you may be going after something and, along the way, you’re collecting experiences, tools and strategies. Then when you get to wherever destination you’re faced with and it isn’t what you want or have expected it to be, you can know it’s time to pivot.

People — myself included — are faced with challenges, big and small, every single day. When you have that automatic ability to condition yourself to default to being successful and optimistic — as opposed to unresourceful and pessimistic — when something happens, challenges become the trigger to cause us to be better people. Then life moves further, faster, we help other people, and we make a bigger difference in the world.

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Reframe your story.

Redefining success is changing your perspective. Do this by reframing your story and self-narrative. You may not like the color of your skin or how things are right now, but it is what it is. So the question you should be asking yourself is “what am I going to do with it?” — not about it, but with it. Reframe your life every single day. When you’re brushing your teeth, look up, look yourself in the eye and say “Your name, I love you.” Watch what happens. You’ll start to believe in yourself on a level that is unconscious, and you’ll walk the Earth with a different perspective. I know you may very well say, “But I’m lying to myself, Joseph,” and I agree. You are. But you’re lying to yourself the other way as well. Which lie are you going to tell yourself the most? If you’re saying to yourself that everything is bad — the three Ps: permanent, pervasive and personal — and saying “It’s all about me, I’m doing terrible,” you’re forgetting how much opportunity is out there. There’s so much greatness going on as well. Napoleon Hill used to say “Within every adversity lies the sea of equal or greater benefit. Look for it! As you seek, so shall you find.” And my saying is, “As you seek, so shall it find you.” Meaning, options will show up if you look for them. Being optimistic and successful is being aware of and thinking about your options.

2. Know your outcome.

Be clear and specific on what you want to achieve. Write it down. Because what you write, you invite; what you don’t, you won’t. Know your reasons why, your motivations behind your aspirations. Or, you can think about what you are not comfortable with or dislike about your life. For some people, it’s easier to know what they don’t want, instead of what they do want. To their benefit, success can also be defined in terms of being able to minimize the things that don’t contribute to your happiness.

3. Take massive action.

Don’t wait for motivation or inspiration to strike. Just get going. Force yourself to get through the first step. It’s better to change 10 things by 1% than 1 thing by 10% because that’s very hard for the brain to take. Pick 2 or 3 things until they become a habit and then move on to the next 2 to 3 things. Eventually, you’ll find that you have incorporated 10 to 12 new habits that you don’t need to think about any more because your brain will automatically default to those newly-acquired behaviors. That’s what I call mastering the power of tiny gains.

4. Check in and make adjustments.

Make sure you are on the right track, moving towards the success you’re seeking. If you’re not, adjust. For instance, I freaking love music. It’s definitely part of my soul. My favorite instrument on the planet is the bass, and for a bass to play right, it must be in tune. But regardless of how many times you tune your bass, the strings will still get stretched out through time and use. The more the strings are stretched, the farther out of tune they become. And if the instrument sits on its own with no use, you still get the same, out-of-tune result. So what does this have to do with you? Well, it’s precisely the same process for us humans when it comes to getting our lives in tune. The sooner you become tuned in to which consistent actions really embolden you to show up as your best, the better your results are going to be. Why wallow in the pain (a.k.a., the stretch) any longer than you need to? Nobody is simply stuck with where they are, how they are or who they are. You can always realign your values and beliefs with the life of your dreams by revisiting them often, and consistently course-correcting through a simple tweak of those strings. A small habit — when repeated consistently — grows into something magnificent. So, when it comes to re-tuning yourself right, I believe you must go above the image and the beliefs you hold of who you simply are in this moment, and instead focus on who you have the potential to be.

5. Praise yourself.

Repetition is the mother of all skill, and praise is the father. If you want to speed up the process to success, add praise. Reward yourself by giving yourself a high-five or playing any given song that you choose as your celebration song, because that’s going to teach you to keep on doing what you’re doing — however small — and to do more of it. That’s going to teach you to believe you can, and to see your capabilities clearly.

To me, these five, step-by-step directions are much more than just five ways to redefine success in our own terms, they are actually the lifestyle boosters we all need to grow both on a personal and a professional level.

How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?

I believe that giving meaning to words and phrases makes a difference. If you give success a meaning that helps you think better, feel better and move better, it’s then easier to feel accomplished.

Technically, success is the status of having achieved an aim or purpose. The dictionary describes success as “attaining wealth, prosperity and/or fame.” Neither one of these definitions are wrong, but I like to add to them. First off, as I said before, we need to define success in our own terms and this also implies figuring out our reasons why, our motivations behind our actions. By asking ourselves why we want what we want and do what we do, we are able to dig deeper and understand that success may not necessarily be about money or fame. Once we realize that a life where we can, say, build a loving family, raise kids, run a startup or be financially free is what success really means to us, we can reverse-engineer what you need to get there. Hence, to me, success is just a synonym of wealth in that it means being healthy, happy and financially abundant.

What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?

The biggest obstacle is psychology. It all starts with psychology and the most important part of your psychology — remember there’s three things: what you think about yourself, others and the world around you — is that first one: how you think about yourself.

Whatever you think about yourself that’s unresourceful, you need to interrupt that pattern, stop those thoughts from coming in, create a blind spot — which is a vacuum that wants to be filled up — and fill that blind spot with something as simple as putting a smile on your face. This makes your brain release dopamine instantly and elevates you out of that unresourceful pattern. Even if you’re wondering, “Does this really work?,” you’re no longer in a hopeless or negative state.

So the advice I would give others about overcoming obstacles is what I call the ‘mirror exercise.’ Go to the mirror, look at yourself in the eyes until you get shaken, until you get that feeling when you’re looking at your own beautiful, precious soul, and from your heart, soul and guts, say “Your name, I love you.” Even if you don’t believe it or think you’re lying. The more you do it, the better, because your mind can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not, and you can’t resist repetition. So say those words because what that’s doing is actually fueling the number 1 belief that you need to have to go further faster in your life, which is the belief in your love for yourself. Then praise yourself by squeezing your fist up in the air or patting yourself on the back, because that’s going to teach you to do more of it, that’s going to teach you to believe it.

Lastly, I’ll say this. If you want to move further, faster and expedite the process, add praise. Repetition is the mother of all skill. Praise is the father. Do whatever it takes every chance you get, and your nervous system will quickly learn to believe that you can do anything. All the other things will eventually fall into place once you’ve built the foundation for yourself.

Let me finish off by saying that those of us who dare to dream while the rest of the world is having a nightmare are the ones that are not only going to create that abundance that we want for ourselves, but we’re also going to be the leaders that inspire other people to do so for themselves as well. I always like to say: Life is exactly what you dare to make it and fortune favors the BOLD. The trick to life is to boldly step up and dare to be magnificent. Be bold enough to tell yourself you’re amazing, to tell yourself that you can do anything you want and that you already ARE magnificent.

Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?

Personally, there’s two books I hold up high that I would recommend, for they have both moved me the most and helped reframe my definition of success and how to achieve it. These books are Think and Grow Rich and Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill. Now the interesting fact is that Outwitting the Devil was written with Think and Grow Rich. They were all one book. Think and Grow Rich was written in 1937 and, when Napoleon Hill wrote this book, he was actually commissioned by Andrew Carnegie to interview the most successful people of that time and find out what they had in common. But the thing is, Napoleon Hill also wrote the second part of it, called Outwitting the Devil, in which he holds a conversation with the devil. What’s mind-blowing about this second part is that you will swear it is written about today. Seriously, that kind of insight is unbelievable. However, it was only published in 2011 — not 1937 or 1938. It wasn’t published before because it was believed that people would think Napoleon Hill was nuts. But from a psychological standpoint, it will make you go speechless. It’s not just words and knowledge. It’s about action and things you can do to get results.

And then, of course, I would recommend my latest book, Dare to Be Magnificent. Magnificence, to me, is magnifying the essence of something which is already inside of you. You are already powerful and you’re already a winner. Dare to Be Magnificent is about the 5 principles my father taught me to have a magnificent life and move further, faster in the direction of your goals, dreams and success.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.

Well, yes, there are. Though I don’t know if I can choose just one. Let me pre-frame this answer by saying this: I’m at a stage in my career — which is the reason I created Neuroencoding — that I want to pass on the steel to as many people as I possibly can. I see there are a few people who are influential already and are already magnificent at what they do — Steve Harvey, Will Smith and Kevin Hart — so I’d love to give this to them. Of course, there are more people, but these are just the ones that come to my mind right now. These people are entrenched in inspiring others and giving them hope and advice. However, my foundational belief is this: everyone loves quotes, sayings and inspirational stories, and everybody will agree with the advice that is given as the foundation of that quote. Yet many people may not know how to put the advice from those quotes into practice. They may be lacking in certain attributes — such as courage or tenacity — or they might just be afraid. So, what I’m saying is, let’s tell people how to put motivation into practice as well. It’s a topic I’d love to discuss alongside a meal with those three gentlemen, and share what I have with them.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can go to www.josephmcclendon.com to learn more about who I am and what I do. In terms of social media, I’m most interactive on Instagram @iamjosephmcclendon and also on Twitter @JosephMcClendon. All of the details of my recently launched legacy program, The Neuroencoding Institute, can be found at www.neuroencoding.com. It’s a fully-resourced, expertly sourced program (and it’s truly made for everyone!) so please check it out and feel free to contact me on social media.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.

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