Life After Prison – Craig Stanland: Losing Everything You Have and How to Start Over

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Good people make mistakes.

Yes, mistakes that may even land them in prison. That does not make them horrible or evil people. It just makes them human.

None of us are flawless. We all have made mistakes, done something wrong, or hurt someone, intentionally or not.

Yet often, when we hear stories in the news or on social media of a mistake someone made, we judge them all too easily, dehumanize them, and say we would never do something like what they did.

Take, for example, the story of Craig Stanland, our guest for this interview.

In 2012, Craig exploited the warranty policy of one of the world’s largest tech companies, Cisco, for his own financial gain.

He operated a service contract fraud scheme in which he purchased or controlled approximately 18 service contracts for Cisco networking parts. He made hundreds of false service requests to Cisco to replace purportedly defective computer networking parts.

Based on these requests, Cisco shipped replacement parts to various addresses at Stanland’s direction.

Afterwards, Craig sold the new parts to third parties to enrich himself.

While deep down Craig knew he was doing something wrong, he ignored that voice—like many of us do. Eventually, however, just under a year after Craig began operating his scheme, the FBI came knocking on his door in October 2013.

He was arrested and eventually sentenced to 2 years in federal prison, 3 years of supervised release, and payment of $834,307.00 in restitution.

losing everything you have

Merely reading about what Craig did would never lead to the full picture, to seeing and understanding the full story of why he did what he did.

If you do dive deeper into the human side of the mistakes people make, however, you will start to see and realize that everyone has internal and external drives that are more complex than merely being good or bad—just like this interview will show.

Craig lost his wife, his homes, his cars, his career, and his identity. He lost everything.

How do you go on from there? And how do you start over again after losing everything you have?

While many who read and listen to Craig’s interview won’t have been to prison, the struggles Craig went through in making a mistake and living with the shame of having made it, becoming a prisoner of your own mind, walking around with depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts, starting over, not giving up, finding new meaning in life, and learning from the past but not letting it define us, are experiences that will resonate with many people.

In the end, not all endings have to be sad. In fact, we can turn our greatest adversities and challenges in life into new beginnings and something wonderful.

losing everything you have

Today, Craig is a reinvention architect who helps people by sharing the wisdom, lessons, and knowledge he has garnered over these last years with everything he has been through.

With one-on-one coaching, he helps people whose lives have fallen apart to reinvent themselves and find meaning in their life again.

In 2020, Craig delivered an incredible TEDx Talk titled ‘How I Learned My Greatest Worth in Federal Prison’ that has reached and impacted thousands and thousands of people. 

And, in May of 2021, he released his book, Blank CanvasHow I Reinvented My Life after Prison. 

As Craig says in the interview, this is not a prison book but a book about our remarkable capacity to rebuild and reinvent our lives.

Losing everything you have in life, or at least feeling like you have, is brutal. And in some way or another, we have all felt that feeling or will come to feel it.

What I hope to show with this episode is that losing everything does not have to be the end, but like Craig, it can be the beginning of something beautiful and more meaningful.


  • – Blank Canvas: How I Reinvented My Life after Prison (Blank Canvas is a meditation on our remarkable capacity to rebuild and reinvent our lives. Through powerful storytelling, Craig proves that our greatest adversities do not have to be the end. Sometimes, they can be our greatest beginning.
  • Choose Yourself!: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream (With dozens of case studies, interviews and examples–including the author, investor and entrepreneur James Altucher’s own heartbreaking and inspiring story–Choose Yourself illuminates your personal path to building a bright, new world out of the wreckage of the old. The world is changing.)
  • – Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It (The bestselling self-published phenomenon addressing our urgent need for self-love in the world today.)


  • Bonus Episode – Craig Stanland: The Questions That Were Not Asked (Meditation, Suicide, Prison Nicknames, and More…) (If you would like to spend more time with Craig, check out the bonus episode he recorded.)


  • – James Altucher (James Altucher is an American hedge-fund manager, author, podcaster and entrepreneur who has founded or cofounded over 20 companies. He has published 20 books and he is a contributor to publications including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and The Huffington Post.)
  • – Kamal Ravikant (Kamal Ravikant is a bestselling author and serial tech entrepreneur.)
  • – Tim Ferriss (Timothy Ferriss is an American entrepreneur, investor, author, and lifestyle guru.)

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

If you feel that you’ve gained some insights and lessons from this interview, and you are curious to see what else we offer at The IPS Project, check out The IPS Academy, where we offer online courses taught by guests here on The IPS Podcast.

Learn more about essential life topics, such as mental health, relationships, the mind, and the body and the brain, through fun and interactive courses. Simply go to

What is also interesting to note is that all the courses are quite affordable, as we at The IPS Project do not want money to stand in the way of bettering one's life. Each course has a few lessons to try for free, so you get a taste of what the course is like.

We have countless reviews from other students so you can see what others think, and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee if you end up not liking the course. Again, check them out at

Craig Stanland

FOLLOW Craig Stanland

Reinvention Architect

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