From Self-Doubt to Success: How a Positivity Expert Don Sandel Launched his own Business

From Self-Doubt to Success: How a Positivity Expert Don Sandel Launched his own Business


Check out all episodes on the My Favorite Mistake main page.

My guest for Episode #190 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Don Sandel. He’s a former executive turned leadership coach and is the founder of GoPositiv

He’s been leading talent development efforts for small and large organizations for the last few decades and has transitioned those skills and experiences into GoPositiv and now to books as well. He’s the author of the book Positive Mindshift: Making Good Things Happen in Life and Work

He began studying the brain and its effect on learning about a decade ago, and discovered compelling and irrefutable research around positivity.

In this episode, Don tells his favorite mistake story about a time when he was working for a large global company and he listened to self-doubt triggered by a comment from his boss. Why did he give the worst presentation of his life? And what did he learn from this experience in a way that inspired him to start studying positivity??

We also talk about questions and topics including:

  • What sorts of positive self talk would you say before giving a speech??
  • How to aggressively battle the negative self talk and change that to positive self talk?
  • What prompted you to study positivity? How did you study this?
  • Not being a “Pollyanna”?
  • John Saunders, who introduced us — his episode
  • Does positivity lead to better medical outcomes if you have cancer or another serious ailment?
  • Weight loss and motivation — talking about positive motivations instead of negative / barriers?
  • Losing weight vs. getting healthier??
  • Is it too negative to think about mistakes? How can we be positive about mistakes?
  • The definition of optimism – thinking things will be better
  • “If dream it, you can do it” —- really?
  • Is “toxic positivity” really a concern? What does that phrase mean to you?
  • How would positivity have helped in your previous corporate jobs?  Were better performing organizations more positive? Experience vs research?
  • Optimistic salespeople

Scroll down to find:

  • Video of the episode
  • Quotes
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

Find Don or his company on social media:

Watch the Full Episode:


"We're gonna have crappy days, we're gonna have crappy events. But it's what we do with those crappy days, what we do with those crappy events, what we do with the crappy environment that we all find ourselves in. It's how we respond to it. That's key.  Don Sandel
"80% of our self talk is negative. Well, how does that set you up for your day? Is that helping you bring your best self to the office? Nope." Don Sandel
"The primary function of our brain is our survival, not our life satisfaction, unfortunately." Don Sandel

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.