Plus: the most powerful intention you can set to overcome roadblocks and achieve incredible results this fall.

If you teach in some capacity – either as a speaker, coach, consultant, or actual teacher – you’re probably gearing up to do some powerful work with your students or clients this fall.

To ensure you do the best possible job of helping your students and clients reach their full potential and achieve great results, I encourage you to set the following intention for yourself:


(NOTE: this is an important intention for EVERYONE seeking self-improvement to set – but in honor of “Back to School” season, I’d like to focus on how powerful this intention can be for teachers and other mentors and trainers whose job it is to inspire people to be their best selves.)

The clues to success are hidden in plain sight

When I say, “yellow alerts,” what I’m talking about are the advance warnings you get in the form of telltale signs, gut instinct, intuition, comments from others that alert you to impending danger and give you time to prevent the unwanted outcome.

You know when you suddenly get a “bad feeling” about something, or you become aware that people are acting differently around you, or you develop a niggling awareness that there’s something you’re ignoring or overlooking?

THOSE are yellow alerts.

For example:

  • Your students don’t pay attention when you speak
  • Your audience looks bored and disengaged
  • Nobody raises their hand to answer your questions
  • People don’t respond to your emails or participate in your online group
  • Students who typically do great work are no longer completing their assignments
  • Organizations who hired you to speak don’t ask you to return
  • People stop grumbling and whispering to each other as soon as you walk in the room
  • People aren’t looking you in the eye
  • You’re sensing a weird undertone in the way people talk to you
  • You no longer feel like you’re “killing it” onstage or in front of the class

The faster you’re able to recognize and respond to yellow alerts such as these, the easier you’ll find it to avoid obstacles, overcome challenges, and reach a higher level of success – both for yourself and your students or clients.

Avoiding the problem doesn’t make it go away

Unfortunately, many people choose to ignore yellow alerts because they don’t want to feel any soft of discomfort. Acknowledging and responding to yellow alerts usually involves doing things you would rather not do – such as have an awkward conversation with someone or admit something isn’t working.

And so you pretend not to see the yellow alerts – because it’s easier, more convenient, less uncomfortable, and protects you from having to take risks.

Successful people, on the other hand, face problems head on. They’re willing to get uncomfortable, because they know that yellow alerts often develop into problems that fester and grow into huge roadblocks that prevent you from moving forward.

The faster you respond, the easier life becomes

Once you develop the habit of responding quickly and decisively to yellow alerts as they happen, life becomes easier.

You’re able to eliminate problems before they occur and achieve greater levels of success must faster.

However, learning how to recognize and respond to yellow alerts isn’t always easy. It requires concentrated awareness, dedicated discipline, and a willingness to experiment and take risks.

You have to be prepared to look at your own shortcomings and be willing to hear uncomfortable truths. It’s only when you face what isn’t working that you’re able to explore better options and come up with a better way of getting the results you want.

Here are six tips to help you do a better job of recognizing yellow alerts so you can respond to them right away and achieve better results, faster – both for yourself and your students or clients:

1.  Clear your mind and focus on being present in the moment

When you’re working onstage, in front of a classroom, or one-on-one with clients or students, you’ll be much more effective if you’re able to clear your mind of everything else that’s happening in your life and focus on being present in the moment.

This will make it so much easier for you to remain tapped into your intuition and be able to identify yellow alerts right away.

If you find it hard to remain completely present in the moment, I recommend you take up meditation or a meditative practice such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong, or another form of martial art. These practices are great for helping you sharpen your focus and concentrate on what’s happening in the here and now.

2. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

The only way you can grow – as a person, teacher, parent, businessperson or whatever – is to move beyond your comfort zone into a place where you are very likely to feel awkward, uncomfortable, and vulnerable.

But that’s where the magic happens. It’s where you acquire the understanding and experience you need to start performing at a much higher level.

So instead of worrying about the potential discomfort of responding to yellow alerts, embrace the opportunity to evolve.

3. Learn how to listen to people

To become a transformational teacher, you’ve got to be able to really LISTEN to your students and clients.

Don’t just keep your ears open for the things you expect them to say. Clear your mind of preconceptions, give them your full attention, and listen for the things you AREN’T expecting – because this is the information that’s going to help you radically improve your game.

4. Learn how to read people

It’s not enough to listen to what they’re saying – you also have to be able to read your students and audience and understand what it is they’re NOT saying.

If you learn how to read their physical cues – restlessness, listlessness, flashes of anger or irritation in their expressions, a reluctance to meet you in the eye – you’ll be able to recognize when there’s something they want you to know, even when they’re reluctant to express themselves or aren’t even consciously aware of what they want or need from you.

5. Ask them straight out

The best way to understand how well you’re performing – and what you can do to operate at an even higher level – is to straight-out ask for feedback from your students, clients, audiences, and colleagues.

Be prepared to ask questions such as:

  • “Is what I’m doing working?
  • Could I be doing it better?
  • Is there something more I should be doing that I am not?
  • Is there something I am doing that I should stop doing?
  • How do you see me limiting myself?”

Don’t be afraid to ask – because the information you will receive will be invaluable. You are better off knowing the truth than not knowing it – because once you know, you can DO something about it. You cannot improve your life, your relationships, your game, or your performance without meaningful feedback from the people around you.

“You’re doing great!” might be nice to hear but it doesn’t tell you anything that will help you become a better teacher, speaker, trainer, or person.

6. Process the information and ACT on it

When you respond to a yellow alert and probe deeper to uncover valuable information about your performance – and what you can do to improve it – be sure to process that information and ACT on it!

If you find out that your audience or students aren’t captivated by your teaching style, do some research to find some resources that will help you become a more compelling, engaging teacher – and then put their advice into action.

If you find that your clients aren’t completing the assignments you give them because they’re unclear on the instructions or don’t see the value of them, reassess those assignments and how you’re presenting them to your clients. Maybe you need to make the instructions clearer, or do a better job of pointing out the benefits your clients will experience once they finish the assignment. Or maybe you should consider replacing that assignment with one that’s more effective.

If you find that organizations that have hired you to speak in the past aren’t asking you back, send them a letter asking for honest feedback on what you could have done better in your last speaking engagement – then use their feedback to improve your presentation content and style before you book your next gig.

It’s only when you act on this valuable information that you’re able to create meaningful change.
@JackCanfield (Click to Tweet!)

Simple isn’t always easy

Recognizing and responding to yellow alerts is relatively simple in principle – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to implement. You have to pay attention to what you’re doing and the results you’re producing – and willing to adapt on the fly.

As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and speaks around the world on this subject. Follow Jack at and sign up for his free resources today!

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Image courtesy of Samuel Zeller.