I was in 2 Prisons.

One Physical. One Mental.

The physical version was Otisville Federal Prison.

My mental prison, my personal hell, was the all-consuming power of Shame. Hurting the one I love, disappointing my family, letting myself down. Ignoring the voice inside that told me not to commit the fraud.

I believed with all my soul that I destroyed the greatest gift life has to offer us:


I was trapped in my head and couldn’t see a way out or even a reason to try.

With every ounce of my being, I believed,

“I am undeserving of love…

It was a windy day; the rain was gentle yet steady. The first chill of autumn sat heavy in the air.

I stood looking at the damage the storm had done.

Overall, it could have been worse; we actually made out OK.

Although, there was about a foot and a half of water, where there wasn’t supposed to be any water. The nursery was completely flooded, and I watched as trays of annuals and perennials floated along like pontoon boats out for a leisurely cruise.

The sump pump was doing its job, the excess water flowing steadily away from the…

I’ve written 18,674,894 words since October 7th, 2016.

This is the equivalent of 360 copies of my book, “Blank Canvas.”

Mind you; this only represents one platform. The other platforms I’ve used don’t show me this info, but I’m guessing they account for another few million.

I don’t share this brag — I’m guessing 97% of the words I wrote were crap.

And that’s actually why I’m sharing this.

I may have only yielded a 3% “return” on my effort. If I were managing money, I would suck. I’m barely even keeping up with inflation.

I write every single day…

How often do we formulate a complete narrative based on a limited amount of information?

How often do we take a single label and transform it into an entire book in our mind, from beginning to end and all the chapters in between?

How often do we “know” who someone is based on something we saw on television, something we read online, or a label that may or may not be true?

It’s like saying you’ve completed a puzzle when you only have one piece.

Formerly Incarcerated: Scumbag/Dishonest/Evil/Bad/Will never change.

Beautiful/Smart: Life is easy/Get everything they want/Rich/Life is perfect


Today is an interesting anniversary.

It was 7 years ago today I self surrendered to Otisville Federal Prison.

I invite you to join me on my journey into the unknown with this excerpt from my new book, “Blank Canvas, How I Reinvented My Life After Prison.”


“One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.”


We knew the day would come: August 13, 2014, was tattooed on my brain. It doesn’t make it any easier. The waiting and planning are over. I’m going to prison.

I hold Matisse in…

This is an accurate depiction of how I felt after my arrest.

I’m honored to be a member of a White Collar Support Group lead by my dear friend, Jeff Grant.

We meet every Monday, and the topics vary; however, a few issues rise above the rest.

One of those issues is Judgements, particularly as it relates to our family and friends trying to reconcile our choices and actions.

This article was written with the group in mind, however it’s lessons apply to everyone.

The author Cheri Huber stated the following in her wonderful book, “There Is Nothing Wrong With You,”

“When you judge someone else it’s simply self-hate projected outward.”


When I was in the corporate world (14 years or so), I enjoyed many years of what would widely be considered a significant financial reward.

I earned a base salary (over 6-figures), a commission (a few times more than my base), and a bonus (a generous five figures).

When people asked me if I enjoyed my work, I replied with a canned response, reserved for everyone who asked me this question,

“I don’t like my job, but I like what my job affords me.”

All that money I was making went into things and expensive dinners; I was seeking some…

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”


Prison taught me the value of time, how precious, how short, how once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. I think about what was behind my actions and choices. What was the root cause of losing precious time?


Fear is a door that appears on the path when a choice must be made. No house, no walls, no supporting features. Just a door in the…

Your soul doesn’t give a shit about your job title, car, clothes, or money.

Your ego does. It plays a mean little trick on you,

“When I…Then I…”

When I get that promotion, then I will be someone.

When I buy that new car, then I will impress people.

When I have this much money, then I will be happy.

How’s that work out for you?

Sure, these things feel great at the moment. But what happens when the moment is over? When the promotion comes with more responsibility? When the car is no longer new? …

I believe forgiveness is one of the most important journey’s we can take, and there is something critical about forgiveness that is often overlooked.

The fact that it is a journey.

It’s not a one and done, it’s something we must consistently be aware of, and consistently ready to practice.

The voice of self-hate doesn’t ever stop, our jobs is to learn not to listen.

Forgiveness is the tool that helps make this possible.

Forgiving myself for the choices I made that landed me in federal prison was one of the first steps I took in reinventing my life.


Craig Stanland

I specialize in working with people who want to reinvent themselves so they can create the extraordinary lives they’ve always wanted.

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