Craig Stanland is a Member of our White Collar Support Group that meets online on Zoom on Monday evenings.


There are seemingly countless ways to experience freedom. There are nuances and layers, and I’m fascinated by all of them.

That’s because freedom is one of my core values. A couple of years ago, that core value and my commitment to it was challenged.

I was fortunate to land a job after prison. That’s not an easy thing to do.

I worked the front desk at a gym, making $12 an hour. There were plenty of nights I’d skip dinner because I didn’t have enough money to take the subway to work and eat.

A far cry from my six-figure salary, plus commission, expense account, and car allowance.

Over time I became friends with many of the members, and we spoke in great detail about life and work, and of course, working out.

One of my friends learned about my corporate background; they knew what I was capable of in a corporate sales setting. I generated 21M in sales in my best year. I was consistently in the top 3 in the country.

And I hated it. There was no fulfillment; there was no joy. When asked if I liked my job, I replied the same every time,

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

The facade it provided, the cars, the watches, the extravagant dinners, multiple homes.

I was always chasing, and I was never satisfied. Deep down, I wanted to innovate, create my own company, write a book, and deliver a TED talk.

But I was too damn afraid to give up everything and create the life I wanted to create.

The gym didn’t pay a lot, but it provided the freedom to create the life I wanted.

That’s when I faced one of my most significant tests:

My new friend offered me a job back in the corporate world that would generate 350K/year.

I looked at my non-existent bank account, my skinny frame, and my rumbling stomach.

I thought about the watches I could buy and the new BMW I would lease. A new apartment in a cool neighborhood in NYC.

I spent my paycheck before I even got the offer letter.

What the hell was I doing? What was I thinking? Hadn’t I learned? What do I genuinely want to do?

Write. Speak. Utilize my experience in service to others. To have the freedom to create, innovate and carve my own path.

I turned the job down.

Because I was done chasing, I was done living in scarcity. I was done doing things that didn’t make me feel good.

I knew my definition of freedom, and I made my decision from the center of that definition.

It was singlehandedly one of the most empowering moments of my life.

When we live in alignment with our core values, we generate an energy that will not be denied. It flows from our very being and ripples out to every aspect of our lives.

We seize agency by the horns, and we, nobody else, are responsible for our lives.

All the distractions, all the BS, all the noise falls by the wayside when we know what we value and operate from the center of that.

Our decisions, and in turn our lives, become crystal clear.

That, to me, is freedom.


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

I wrote this book from my heart, and I gave it everything I had.

My dream, my goal for this book is that it helps one person—the one person who feels right now how I once felt. 

I’d be honored if you checked it out.

After hitting rock bottom, Craig Stanland was forced to make a choice: give up or rebuild. He thought he had “it all” until he lost sight of what’s truly important and made the worst decision of his life, losing everything along the way, including his own self-worth. Through the painful, terrifying process of starting over, Craig ultimately discovered that when you have nothing, anything is possible.

Today, Craig is an author, speaker, and Reinvention Architect. He specializes in working with people whose lives have fallen apart, helping them reinvent themselves by showing them how to rebuild their self-worth and create the extraordinary lives they’ve always wanted.



IG: Craig_Stanland

Order “Blank Canvas” on here.