Brainz Magazine Exclusive Interview
Jack Canfield, known as America's #1 Success Coach, is a bestselling author, professional speaker, trainer, and entrepreneur.
He is the founder and CEO of the Canfield Training Group, which trains entrepreneurs, educators, corporate leaders, and motivated individuals on how to accelerate the achievement of their personal and professional goals. He has conducted live trainings for more than a million people in more than 50 countries around the world. He holds two Guinness World Record titles and is a member of the National Speakers Association's Speaker Hall of Fame.
Jack is the coauthor of more than two hundred books, including, The Success Principles™: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, The Success Principles Workbook, and the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, which includes forty-two New York Times bestsellers and has sold more than 600 million copies in 47 languages around the world. Jack is a featured teacher in the movie The Secret, and has appeared on more than a thousand radio and television shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah's Super Soul Sunday, the Today show, Fox & Friends, and Larry King Live.
During your long and successful career, what has been the biggest lesson learned?
Running an international human development training company, which involves conducting live and online seminars for up to 1000 people at a time, conducting coaching programs and high-end small group retreats, developing new products, overseeing 10 full-time staff, interacting with and supporting our global community of 4500 certified trainers, and writing and promoting more than 200 books, including 42 New York Times bestsellers. As a result, every day I am learning something new about myself, leadership, management, marketing and PR, trust, and the application of the universal laws of success like the Law of Attraction, including when to push and when to surrender and let go and allow. I also find that my relationship with my wife is one of my greatest teachers. I often say in my trainings that if you want the fast track to spiritual growth, get married, have children, and start a business. Everything that you need to look at, heal and transform will come up for you to deal with if you do that.
What is the greatest lesson we can teach others?
To love yourself, believe in your dreams, follow your joy, trust your intuition and your inner guidance, and take bold action to fulfill your dreams, and do it with as much love as possible. I believe that we are all born with some unique quality or talent that is ours to express into the world, whether that be teaching, cooking, making music, writing, painting, managing, inventing, designing, governing, creating new businesses, or solving things like global warming and social injustice. Trust that what you are drawn to do and what brings you joy is an act of service. I love the Howard Thurman quote that says, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
Training and developing others has always been at the heart of everything you do - Why do you think it turned out that way?
First, it is what brings me the greatest joy and fulfillment. I love watching people discover their true life purpose, break free from their inner blocks and limiting beliefs, own their values, stand in the essence of who they are, commit to pursuing their dreams, and eventually fulfill them. Unfortunately, the principles of success that I teach are not taught in most schools and universities. I saw a statistic recently that said less than 10 percent of high school students graduate having learned how to properly set a goal, and even less on how to achieve them. Most people are living in a quiet state of resignation to their current circumstances. If books were enough to change that, it would have already happened.
What we need is embodied wisdom more than information, and I find that the kinds of experiences we take people through in our trainings create that. I like to say, you can read all you want about swimming and listen to motivational speakers like Michael Phelps talk about the joys of swimming and competing in the Olympics, but until you get in the pool and experience learning to swim, nothing happens.
How can we help people learn?
As I just talked about, I am a big believer in experiential education as the best way to learn most anything. To immerse yourself or others (if you are teaching) in experiences that lead to awarenesses and epiphanies that lead to personal transformation. Reading and audio learning have their place, but experiencing something, especially something that leads to a change in behavior is much more powerful. You learn to play the piano by playing the piano. For example, in my trainings, we look at the power of the words we use and how that impacts our self-esteem, our power, and our behavior. You can tell people not to use words like I can't or I'll try, and it pretty much goes in one ear and out the other. But if I have people partner up and go back and forth starting sentences with the words "I can't" about things that feel real for them in their life for about a minute, and then ask them to go back and say those same sentences but change the words "I can't" to "I won't," and then ask them if they noticed a difference in how they felt using the two different words, people experience feeling more powerful, more responsible and less like a victim. A concept has been turned into a transformational experience and one that will last.
Content is created everywhere and all the time, how do we create content that gets people's attention?
First, I would say, whether you are writing, speaking, creating an online course, or writing marketing material, tell more stories. All great teachers, leaders, salespeople, and influencers from Jesus to Napoleon Hill to Oprah Winfrey are great storytellers. Stories Velcro to the mind such that we remember the principles and lessons contained within them.
In my Train the Trainer program where I train and certify people to teach the success principles in a group setting, I teach what we call The Canfield Methodology, which are the steps to successfully teaching a principle.
Introduce the principle, such as the importance of writing down your goals rather than just having them in your head.
Share a statistic (the more dramatic the better) that illustrates why it is important, such as research from Professor David Kohl at Virginia Tech University that shows that people who write down their goals every year, earn nine times more throughout their life than people who don't.
Tell a story from your own life or someone else's that illustrates the principle in action.
Conduct an experiential exercise that engages people with the principle—in this example setting a quantum leap breakthrough goal for one area of their life.
Have them share their goal with a partner or in a small group. There also happens to be lots of research on the power of making a public declaration of your goal.
Debrief and allow people to ask any clarifying questions they might have.
Summarize the principle.
There are many other things that can make content more compelling, such as starting with addressing their conscious and unconscious pain points, using humor, making huge promises about the outcomes they can expect to get if they digest the content, and niching the content to you target audience with compelling and relevant stories and examples. This was one of the secrets of the success of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series.
We published books for the Golfer's Soul, Pet Lover's Soul, Woman's Soul, Teacher's Soul, Parent's Soul, Sports Fan's Soul, etc. If people know that the content is specific to them, they are more drawn to it.