From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘The Success Principles’

During the research and writing process for my new book – “Frontline Leadership: The Hurdle,” published by Utility Business Media Inc. – I read a lot of books, and I want to share some highlights from a few of my favorites. This article will focus on “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” by Jack Canfield. I hope you find this article useful, and I also hope it inspires you to read both “The Success Principles” and my book as part of your continuing personal and professional development.

To highlight how much I believe in this book and want to encourage you to read it, I completed the program to become a Canfield Certified Trainer in the Success Principles after reading it once and being exposed to the application of the principles. I’m confident you won’t regret reading this book either.

In Canfield’s own words from the introduction, “This is not a book of good ideas. This is a book of timeless principles used by successful men and women throughout history.” I can personally attest to their effectiveness when understood and applied.

The book contains 64 principles grouped into six categories: The Fundamentals of Success; Transform Yourself for Success; Build Your Success Team; Create Successful Relationships; Success and Money; and Success Starts Now. Obviously, we can’t discuss all 64 principles in this short article, so I’m going to share a few of my favorites instead.

Principle One
The first principle is to take 100% responsibility for your life. For our purposes, let’s add a few words to the end of this principle so it reads, “Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life and Your Safety.”

With this principle, Canfield gives us one of the most powerful tools I have ever learned: Event + Response = Outcome, or E + R = O. Essentially, this life equation tells us that we have limited control over events (e.g., circumstances, people, timing), so we must avoid blaming, complaining and excuses. Focus instead on what you want your outcome to be and then influence the outcome through your responses. If you don’t like your outcome, change your responses. The principle concludes with a very powerful message: “Pay attention … your results don’t lie.”

It’s important to practice this principle. When faced with a challenging person or situation, simply ask yourself, “What is my desired outcome?” Once you have defined that outcome with extreme clarity, it should be obvious to you how to handle the person or situation – and you will be more likely to achieve your desired outcome.

Principle Five
“Believe in Yourself” is principle five. With this principle, Canfield instructs readers to give up limiting beliefs such as “I can’t” and its cousins (e.g., “I wish I could”). Couple this with principle 15, which addresses Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real (FEAR), then follow it up with principle 19 about feedback (see more about principle 19 below), and you have a formula for success.

You can practice this principle by taking action (taking action is also principle 13 in Canfield’s book). Don’t be scared to fail, but understand that you will fail at some point – and then use that failure to your advantage. There are countless opportunities to learn from your experiences and failures. In the first chapter, Canfield explains that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting the same results. Plus, you either create or allow everything that happens to you.

Principle 19
This principle is about using feedback to your advantage. Essentially, there are two kinds of feedback: negative and positive. We receive feedback from ourselves, other people, results and system responses. The key is to seek feedback and listen to it while understanding that not all feedback is accurate.

To practice this principle, seek feedback from others. And if it’s not what you want to hear when you receive it, avoid caving in and quitting, getting mad at the source of the feedback, deflecting and ignoring the feedback. Understand that even when you are off course, most of the time you will arrive at your destination if you use feedback to your advantage.

I love the concept of asking others how you did on a scale of one to 10 and, if it wasn’t a 10, asking what could have made it one. This works well for just about anything, including relationships, training and even this article. For example, I could ask you to rate this article from one to 10, ask what would have made it a 10 and then use that feedback to my advantage (by the way, join my May 11 webinar and we’ll have that conversation). Most practically, this could take the form of a post-job briefing or an after-action review process for you and your team.

I wish I had the space to detail more than three of the principles in Canfield’s book, but since that’s not the case, I want to mention several more of note: Success Leaves Clues; Drop Out of the Ain’t it Awful Club; Face What isn’t Working; Embrace Change; Mastermind Your Way to Success; and Empower Yourself by Empowering Others. Within these principles and so many others, you will find your personal recipe for success. That is, of course, if you have defined success; principle two refers to this as “Be Clear Why You’re Here.”

“The Success Principles” is a must-read, must-understand and must-apply book. I’m guessing that you – like me – probably won’t agree with or apply all 64 of the principles. But I guarantee that many of them will resonate with you and benefit you tremendously, both personally and professionally. For the ones that don’t, try out principle 12 and act as if you think they are worthwhile. Step one of your future success may very well be reading the book.

In closing, I hope you have enjoyed this article and that it inspires you to read and apply Canfield’s book and my book. Join me May 11 at 1 p.m. Eastern for a complimentary webinar during which we will discuss this article. I look forward to seeing you there.

About the Author: David McPeak, CUSP, CIT, CHST, CSP, CSSM, is the director of professional development for Utility Business Media’s Incident Prevention Institute (https://ip-institute.com) and the author of “Frontline Leadership: The Hurdle.” He has extensive experience and expertise in leadership, human performance, safety and operations. McPeak is passionate about personal and professional development and believes that intrapersonal and interpersonal skills are key to success. He also is an advanced certified practitioner in DISC, emotional intelligence, the Hartman Value Profile, learning styles and motivators.

About Frontline Fundamentals: Frontline Fundamentals topics are derived from the Incident Prevention Institute’s popular Frontline training program (https://frontlineutilityleader.com). Frontline covers critical knowledge, skills and abilities for utility leaders and aligns with the Certified Utility Safety Professional exam blueprint.

Webinar: The Success Principles
May 11, 2022, at 1 p.m. Eastern
Visit https://frontlineutilityleader.com for more information.

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David McPeak, CET, CHST, CSP, CSSM, CUSP, is the director of professional development for Utility Business Media’s Incident Prevention Institute (www.ip-institute.com). His experience includes operations management, safety and training roles. McPeak holds multiple safety and training certifications and has received numerous awards. He also has served as chairman of Task Team One of the OSHA ET&D Partnership, as a member of Incident Prevention’s editorial advisory board and as a member of the North Carolina Apprenticeship Council. Reach him at david@utilitybusinessmedia.com.

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