Reinvention 101: How I Cultivated Resilience After Prison

Craig Stanland
2 min readDec 7, 2023

How did I build and reinvent after prison?

There are many ways, but the core, the backbone of it, is resilience.

Resilience makes facing rejection after rejection and navigating the stigma of a criminal record possible.

Resilience is what makes the extraordinary possible.

Fortunately, resilience is a muscle and can be trained.

Here are 3 ways I cultivated resilience:

Drop the Outcome:

I’ll use the journey to the TEDx stage as an example.

I felt fear every time I submitted a TEDx application.

Fear of rejection and fear of acceptance (I’d actually have to do the thing — and be seen and heard).

I dropped the outcome and focused on the quality of my application. I focused on how good I felt every time I hit “submit” in the face of fear.

I’m not the outcome; I’m the effort and who I become on the way.

Have a Mission:

I had a mission (and still do) for the work I create.

  1. To help one person who feels right now how I once felt. For the TEDx, I focused on someone consumed by shame and uncomfortable in their own skin who doesn’t know how to move forward.

The burden of fear becomes much lighter when I carry it for someone else.

Make Commitments:

Fear-based choices landed me in prison.

I knew I couldn’t allow fear to make my choices for me anymore.

My biggest fear was public speaking. I made a vow, inside prison, that I would land on the TED/TEDx stage to conquer that fear.

FYI — I still make fear-based choices; I just make less of them — this is a practice, not perfection.

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My memoir, “Blank Canvas, How I Reinvented My Life After Prison” is available on Amazon.

“Blank Canvas” is for anyone trapped in prison cells of unworthiness, inadequacy, shame, regret, and fear who want to free themselves so they can reinvent their lives with courage, purpose, meaning, freedom, and peace.

James Altucher, best-selling author of Skip the Line, Choose Yourself and Reinvent Yourself had this to say about “Blank Canvas.”

“Craig has lived a story NOBODY would ever want to live. I was riveted to each page because I kept asking myself, “How would I handle this?” and I didn’t know the answers. Craig takes us into hell, and then we ride with him on the journey back. Great story, great writing, great human being.”

I’m a Reinvention Architect & Mindset Coach. I work 1:1 with my clients to unleash their full potential and connect with their life’s calling so they can live the lives they’ve always imagined.

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Craig Stanland

I write about my journey from corporate success to federal prison and finding joy, mission, meaning, and fulfillment beyond professional and financial success.