How One Book Changed My Life . . .

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Jack and CSFS logosIt was Christmas Eve and it was my birthday. I was feeling restless in my life but couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it was that “mid-life” yearning for something different – but I couldn’t put my finger on what that “something” was. In an effort to get some clarity, I started reading “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield. Although I had heard about Jack as the co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul and listened to some of his teleclasses, I had never read one of his books. But with a sub-title such as “How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” I figured Jack was the guy to help me figure it all out.

Up until this point I had always been one of those people who would read a little and put the book aside until the same time next year <grin>. I have had to start over with many books because I lost track of it all! But this book – this time – was different. I opened the book with the expectation that I would probably celebrate 5 more birthdays before I finished it, especially as it was 450 pages in length. Nope, I read the largest book of my life in less than 3 days! I was forever changed.

Principle #1 hit me like a tsunami . . . “Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life.” Now, we all know that our life is our responsibility. But when you break it down and look at it as Jack suggested, it is absolutely profound. Here is a snippet . . .

“If you want to be successful, you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in life. This includes the level of your achievements, the results you produce, the quality of your relationships, the state of your health and your physical fitness, your income, your debts, your feelings – everything!

This is not easy.

In fact, most of us have been conditioned to blame something outside of ourselves for the parts of our life we don’t like. We blame our parents, our bosses, our friends, the media, our coworkers, our clients, our spouse, the weather, the economy, our astrological chart, our lack of money – anyone or anything we can pin the blame on. We never want to look at where the real problem is – ourselves.”

Jack was right when he said, “You either create or allow everything that happens to you.” I never really played the blame game in my life except when it came to certain human behaviors. Because of Jack’s wisdom, I realized that I control my reactions. If someone irritated me, I’m 100% responsible for my reactions and how everything affects my life. If I felt that my life was chaotic, that was my doing. I allowed it to happen. It was then that I started “checking in” with myself on a regular basis. Wow, has this principle served me well and I understand now why it was the first chapter in his book.

The Success Principles has become my Bible. It is a roadmap for “getting where you want to be” even if you are restless and don’t know where you want to be yet! From gaining clarity, to goal setting, to taking massive action, to developing the right relationships, to life fundamentals to success and money – this book has it all. Even if you feel you are in a good place in your life, you can learn something from this book and can be inspired to keep growing and transforming as the cool individual that you are!

Over the years I have given this book away to so many people and quoted Jack Canfield a million times. I do hope you will read it and feel as I have. It is because of the difference he has made in my life and how he inspired me to take huge leaps of faith, that I invited my hero Jack Canfield to be our main speaker at the NH Conference for Women on November 13, 2015. He is a master at personal development and human potential and has certainly changed my life!

Leslie Sturgeon is the founder of Women Inspiring Women and a lifelong entrepreneur. She loves learning about herself and others, supporting the fabulous women in the WIW community, journeying through life with optimism, and laughing so hard she snorts or pees (sometimes both simultaneously).



  1. You hit it right on the head, Leslie…this is one of my favorite books as well. It has been a huge part of my personal development journey over the past decade, as well as the building of my own speaking and writing career. I am so excited to be part of this year’s event!

  2. Love the honest here Leslie! I cannot wait to attend this years conference and meet Jack Canfield!

  3. Hi Leslie – thank you so much for sharing this story! I’ve only known Canfield for the Soup books, never went to look for (or even considered that they existed) other books or platforms that he might have created. “Success Principles” sounds like a pretty awesome book. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with it! Your endorsement of it means a lot – it’s high praise, indeed.

  4. This is such an important message. It is echoed in Wayne Dyer’s book, “Excuses Begone” another fabulous read that you might enjoy. I’m excited about the conference this year!

  5. Moe Daniels says:

    Well said Leslie! I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and meeting Jack. I did buy the “Success Principles” book and am reading it now, implementing the little nuggets of wisdom he shares I can tell you it’s already changed my life and I look forward to more positive changes. Thanks for sharing!

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