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Getting Started: "The Success Principles" Workbook

This month, I'm starting a workbook by Jack Canfield (Co-Author of The Chicken Soup for the Soul series) that complements "The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be." I wish I had this when I was just coming out of my dv relationship. I think it could help you too, especially if you have trouble staying motivated, or if you have a goal that you're having difficulty meeting for whatever reason.

My dear friend Mark Hayes told me that I absolutely need to read this book when I said that I want to focus 100% on creating empowering videos for fellow survivors and their family/friends, but somehow I keep putting obstacles in my way and can't seem to overcome them. Mark became a Certified Success Principles Trainer and said this book changed his life. He thought it could help me too, so I decided to give it a try.

I already listened to the audiobook version of "The Success Principles" a couple of times during my neighborhood walks. There are many examples of people from all walks of life and from all over the world who are implementing these principles and finding a lot of success and fulfillment doing what they were created to do.

Now I'm diving into the workbook, I'd love for you to join me! Grab a copy of the book(s), and I'll update you as I go over each principle and share some highlights from my end. I encourage you to comment your thoughts here too!

WEEK 1: Take 100% Responsibility For Your Life

Honestly, my first thought when I read the title was, "Oh sh*t..." Because I knew what was coming next. And yes, he addresses domestic violence victims/survivors too. It's a difficult chapter for me, because I have to acknowledge and accept that I allowed everything in my life to happen, including my dv relationship.

I don't know how many times I've rewound my life in my head and wondered "What if?" "What if??" What if I didn't meet him? What if I never signed up for that online dating site? What if I left as soon as I saw a hint of his bad temper? But living in the past doesn't change anything that happened, and I did leave when things got really bad. That's the point of this chapter. Take ownership and accept that it happened and that you left. Don't victimize yourself further in your mind in any way by living in your past. Learn to stand up every day and keep walking away from that chapter. It's really important, because Jack says this principle is the cornerstone of all of the other success principles.

This chapter also introduces me to an odd-looking equation:

E + R = O.

Event + Response = Outcome

For example, you find $20 on the street (event). You spend it all to buy lots of things to eat (response). In the end, you're broke (outcome). Compare that with finding $20 on the street (event). You save it in a bank account that accrues interest (response). In the end, you're $20 + interest rate richer.

Chapter 1 doesn't end there. We go over (in lots of detail and various exercises) my three favorite activities: Blaming, Complaining and Making Excuses.

For an entire week, I have to fill out a worksheet and answer the same set of questions for these three categories:

1. Who did I blame today? | What did I complain about today? | What did I make an excuse about today?

2. From the point of view of taking 100% responsibility, I see that...

3. A more responsible statement, or an action to take next time is...

I can't say it was a pleasant experience doing these exercises every night, especially when I was tired to death on some nights. Last night for example, I was actually going to sleep close to 3am due to a late video-editing shift. But I still went ahead and did it as I fell asleep, because I didn't want to write down the following night that I skipped a day because I made the excuse that "I was too sleepy."

What I noticed from my own entries is that I seem to fluctuate. On Days 1, 3 and 5, I seemed to have a lot of people to blame, things to complain about and excuses to make. But on days 2 and 4 I answered a couple of the categories with "No one!" or "Nothing!"

I also noticed that if I review all of my responses, every blame, complaint and excuse came back to me. For example, here is my Day 5:


1. Who did I blame today? My laundry machine for ruining my clothes!!

2. From the point of view of taking 100% responsibility, I see that... I shouldn't have washed an expensive dress that said "Dry Clean Only."

3. A more responsible statement, or an action to take next time is... Dry clean my dress.


1. What did I complain about today? An entire load of laundry stinking because it hasn't been dried for a week!

2. From the point of view of taking 100% responsibility, I see that... I forgot to put the clothes in the dryer.

3. A more responsible statement, or an action to take next time is... Set up a reminder so I don't forget to dry the clothes.


1. What did I make an excuse about today? Feeling crappy and treating my husband Matty like crap because I was mad that he didn't dry the laundry when I forgot.

2. From the point of view of taking 100% responsibility, I see that... Matty didn't know there was laundry that needed to be dried, and I never asked him to dry the clothes.

3. A more responsible statement, or an action to take next time is... Ask Matty to dry the clothes if I need him to, but don't treat him like crap. And say sorry. He drove me to four places today to try to fix my mess I made all the while not getting upset at all. He even consoled me because he knew I was very upset and returned my anger with nothing but kindness.

The workbook also encourages me to write down what I want to remember the most from each chapter. Here is what I wrote:

Thanks for keeping me accountable by following me on this journey! I picked this new journal for my study, isn't it pretty? Its cover says, "There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy."

Doing these exercises help me to see life/opportunities in a glass half-full kind of way. I hope it encourages you to give it a try too if you're still not sure. I started out by checking out the audiobook and e-book for free via my library's Hoopla app. I still listen to the audiobook when I walk. I don't know about you, but negative self-talk constantly threatens my mind, and hearing motivational thoughts help to combat them.

I'm looking forward to starting my next chapter soon. My goal is to do one chapter every week. See you at the other side of Chapter 2! :)




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