Teachers: Below in an excerpt from the incredible interview I had with Jack Canfield, a former educator turned entrepreneur.
It’s a must hear message for any teacher who is thinking of leaving the classroom due to wanting more.
Hey there! Thanks for popping into my 5 Freedoms Life. I'm your host, Suzanne Klein, an educator-turned-entrepreneur with a 5 Freedoms Life and teaching you how to have one too!
Welcome back, teachers and educators from around the world, to our Freedom for Educators Virtual Summit! I'm a business coach and Freedom Initiator for teachers who are burnt-out, feeling stuck or who want more. Teachers ready to go from Dreaming to Doing, to create an amazing 5 Freedoms Life!
I think everyone knows the Aladdin story, right? Aladdin stumbles upon a magic lamp that unleashes a powerful genie, and he asks three wishes from his genie. Well, once I knew I was going to interview the highly accomplished Mr. Jack Canfield, a former Chicago inner-city high school teacher who went on to inspire and empower hundreds of thousands of people, I felt like I’d found that treasured lamp. A household name worldwide, his career really took off in 1976 with his book 100 Ways to Enhance Self-Concept in the Classroom. 400,000 copies of the book were sold, and administrators clamored to have him come to their schools, give seminars on building self-esteem, and conduct workshops for teachers. He was co-creator of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and he holds a Guinness World Record for having 7 books on The New York Times Bestseller List at the same time. A man who has profoundly changed the world, one story at a time.
Once I started telling people about this interview, a few people asked, “How did you get to interview Jack Canfield?” The answer lies in “The Aladdin Factor”—something Mr. Canfield knows about, as he wrote a book about it—asking for what you want. I simply asked for what I wanted, to interview Jack Canfield, a classroom teacher-turned-highly successful entrepreneur. So, without further ado, Mr. Jack Canfield. Welcome to My 5 Freedoms Life. It is such an honor.
Thank you, Suzanne; it's an honor to be with you.
Well, let's jump in. You wrote The Aladdin Factor to serve and help people, as you do with all your books. You said it's a treasure that comes not from an enchanted lamp, but from the heart. And I think sometimes our educators—or anybody for that matter—don't ask enough. Can you talk about the importance of asking for what we want and need?
Asking is one of the major actions that will get you what you want. Gandhi once said, “If you don't ask, you don't get.” Most people are afraid of rejection, of hearing the word “No.”
Chicken Soup for The Soul—we tried to sell that book, with meetings and letters and all that, to one hundred and forty-four different publishers who said, “No.” Twenty-one meetings in New York over three days; every publisher said “No.” “People don't read short stories.” “It's a silly title.” It’s now a brand worth half a billion dollars.
But the reality is that you're going to get a lot of no’s in life. I actually teach an exercise in one of my seminars: I have people mill around and ask of each other; for the first nine people who ask, you have to say “No.” But when the tenth person asks, you say, “Yes.” What people learn is, it's a numbers game—you have to ask, ask, ask, ask, ask.
I teach people who are afraid that if you ask and get a “No,” it didn't get worse. You already had a “No” by not asking.
Let’s say I come to the Grand Caymans, where you are. I call you up and say, “Suzanne, would you go out for dinner with me?” And you say, “No.” Well, I had a “No” before I asked, and I have a “No” after I asked. My life didn't get worse. As one of my friends loves to say, “If you apply to Harvard and don't get in, you spent your whole life not going to Harvard. You know how to handle that.” So, it's not that big a deal if you get a “No.” I really encourage people to ask.
Beautiful! And I would definitely, overwhelmingly, say “YES!” if you came to Grand Cayman; to be able to have an in-person interview with you would be amazing!
So, asking for what we want is our responsibility; no one is going to ask for us. You talk about this in the first chapter of The Success Principles: “If you want to be successful, you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in your life.” I always say being responsible is our ability to be “response-able” for everything in our lives. Can you expand on this, provide some clarity for teachers out there who are discouraged or feeling beat-up after dealing with disrespectful or out-of-control students in their classrooms? How are they responsible for that?
Well, first of all, we're responsible in the sense that our schools aren’t providing parenting programs—we're not training parents to teach their kids to be responsible. Most schools don’t have what I call psychological education programs, socio-emotional education programs. We need to be teaching kids life skills, and one of the major life skills in the first chapter of The Success Principles is to take 100% responsibility for your life and your results.
Most people are blameless complainers and excuse-makers, including a lot of teachers. Teachers are one of the lowest self-esteem groups out there, along with dentists—no one likes to go to the dentist, they know that. Air traffic controllers have low self-esteem because of the huge stress involved in the job. We can go down the list, but educators are right up there because there is so little respect in our culture for them; we don't pay educators anywhere near what they're worth.
Someone once taught me an extremely important concept: You get paid for the amount of culturally perceived impact you have on the world. For example, most people do not value their children. Pediatricians are the least-paid doctors; preschool and childcare workers are the least paid in that world. Cultural perception says: “Here's the deal, how many lives are you impacting?” Geometrically we could say a lot, over time, but the perception is if you're teaching 30 kids in a classroom, you're affecting 30 lives. In contrast, a baseball player—really less important to the overall success of the world—hits a home run on TV in front of 20 million people; if everyone watching paid just 5 cents for that experience...that’s $1 million. Far more than any teacher’s annual salary.
I often say, if you want to make a lot of money, you've got to play a game where money is paid. Money’s not a big win in most educational systems. It's unfortunate we don’t amply pay the incredibly valuable people who are creating our next generation of people, who are literally affecting our culture. Someone once said, if you're 78 years old and have a health care provider coming into your home who cannot read very well, they may end up accidentally putting poison in your food rather than the nutrients that are supposed to go in there. That’s critical, reading. Education is obviously important; it’s unfortunate it's not valued as much as it should be.
I agree with you 100%. In fact, one of the writing units I created for WriteSteps, the education software company that I sold, was a 5th-grade persuasive paper writing prompt: “Do you think it's fair that a pro athlete makes more than a teacher?” There is definitely an imbalance, inequality, and that's what I'm trying to help—because we know the system is not going to change anytime soon. Those teachers who, like you said, have low self-esteem or feel burnt-out and stuck—that's who I'm trying to serve.
Basically, many kids are coming to school unequipped, in terms of discipline—they don’t know how to discipline themselves; their parents have never disciplined them. Some come to school on drugs, smoking cigarettes, weed, alcohol...whatever it may be. So yes, I think teaching is very, very challenging.
The real challenge, though: you're competing with television. You're competing with MTV. You're competing with YouTube and the other stuff the kids are seeing online. And it's very well created—if you watch an MTV video, the image changes every 21⁄2-3 seconds. If you're a teacher, you're up there droning on, often for fifty-five minutes. You've got to develop the skills to engage your students in experiential education.
If I were still teaching school, the first thing I would do is break everyone into pairs. Have them talk about their life, about what they want, about their fears and hopes. Now the kids are getting attention. Most kids come to school and they sit—they don't really get attended to. And they act out to get attention. But if you can learn how to develop experiential education, where kids are in pairs or small groups, doing things that are interesting and fun...
I have a friend in South Africa who teaches one thousand kids at a time in a circus tent. And he never has a discipline problem. Why? Because he's entertaining. He has the kids doing things that are interesting, that matter to their lives. And that yields their attention. We must get more creative as educators, if we’re going to stay in the system—learn to play a different game. It’s changed, totally. Television and the Internet have changed everything.
Again, I absolutely agree with you. It's not like it was when you or I were in the classroom, for sure. Whole different game.
We’ve talked about the “Aladdin Factor”—asking for what you want—and about responsibility. Don't people need both to live in their purpose?
You first need to understand, “What is your purpose?” Mine is “to inspire and empower people to live their highest vision in a context of love and joy.” I've inspired people with the Chicken Soup stories—and empowered people with books like The Aladdin Factor,
The Success Principles, and Dare to Win, books like Tapping into Ultimate Success, about EFT tapping, etc.—to live their highest vision.
What is your highest vision? If your highest vision is “empowering 3rd-graders in the middle of Indiana to become good students who grow up to be productive adults,” and you're happy with that, then you should keep doing that. But if you have a higher vision you're afraid to go after—because you're afraid of failure, of not making income, of your husband being upset with you for not bringing in the secure income you've been making, whatever it is—that's on you.
You've got to learn to overcome your fears. And today, with tools like EFT tapping, you can tap away most fears in 5 minutes or less. If you're not familiar with tapping, go to YouTube, type in “tapping,” and watch a couple videos. Because it's insane how powerful this technology is. We must avail ourselves of it and take advantage of it.
My mother taught me tapping—she started, and then she taught me—and I've heard you speak on it. I'm so glad you’re bringing up tapping to people, because it’s so important. We’re going to talk more about fears in a bit.
So, in your experience, how do we know when we are living in our purpose?
When you're living your purpose, you're experiencing... I won't say constant joy every minute. I mean, if you're changing your daughter’s diaper it's probably not a joyful moment. Could be. My wife, she loves babies and kids, so for her, that's fun; for me, not the most joyful thing on the planet. However, if you’re experiencing joy most of the time when you're doing what you're doing, then you’re on purpose.
Joy is your internal guidance system. It's like having a GPS or Google Maps inside of you, and it’s saying, “on course, on course, on course, on course...” When you experience resentment, fear, unhappiness...feeling depressed at the end of the week, burned out all the time...you have headaches, sore spots, your body doesn't move or stretch, you're not sleeping—that's feedback from the universe, and your body telling you that you are off course.
Unfortunately, most of us have been trained to be off-course, to do the things that our parents told us; you know, get a job in a corporation... Our parents, our churches, television, advertising...telling us what we should do. Want to make money, become a lawyer or a doctor.
My parents wanted me to be a lawyer. I didn't. I don't like fighting with people. I think I'm a mediator—I want people to come together and be happy. It’s a totally different path for me, and I had to go against a lot of conditioning, a lot of programming.
Yes! And I do believe that: when we’re living and working in our purpose, we’re healthier human beings. That's what you're saying.
Things get easier. I think some challenges are good; they require us to build qualities like perseverance, courage, the importance of building a team, asking for what we want without fear of rejection. Those are all good things that teach us the mastery of our own vehicle, our own fears, and so forth. We want to become masters.
But I've found that when I'm following my purpose, things get easier. Just in the last 3-4 months, I've had amazing income opportunities come to me because I'm mostly living in a state of joy and happiness—no fear, meditating, keeping my vibration high—and the more I do that, the easier things are. Many of my wonderful spiritual teachers say it should feel like you're rowing downstream, instead of upstream all the time. There’s a great song:
Row, row, row your boat Gently down the stream Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily... Life is but a dream.
It’s all an illusion anyway, so why not enjoy the journey?
Nice! And it's so true. I've talked about this before: when you're working in your purpose, it's almost like you're in a zone where time slips away.
It's hard to believe we’re about halfway through our time. Before we get to your amazing free gift, I want to switch gears for a minute and talk about a huge trend that's occurred with better access to technology and more user-friendly software, which has really allowed people to take a leap, leave working for someone else, and become their own boss—like all of our Summit speakers, myself included, have done. This entrepreneurial lifestyle really helps us to create more of the freedoms we’ve been talking about. I would have to wager, Jack, that if you were to take my 5 Freedoms Quiz, you would probably score 25+++ out of 25 on all 5 Freedoms. Can you talk about this “laptop-entrepreneur” lifestyle, and how anyone now can share their talents and passions by teaching through an online course? Teachers have such an advantage in this department.
Absolutely! I still love to do live trainings and seminars, but most of our company’s income right now comes from online courses. We have a “Breakthrough to Success” program. We have a “Train the Trainer” program that’s trained over 3000 people in 170 countries to teach the work that I do, and I have a goal to empower and train one million people to teach this work by 2030. And that would be totally impossible without the Internet. And people have access to what I teach 24/7. They can do it at night, go through my “Train the Trainer” online course.
One guy did it in a week: spent 40 hours with it, went right through the classes, took the test at the end, and now he's a trainer! He's doing great at it, by the way. He’s a former officer in the Army, so he has natural leadership and teaching skills.
Other people might take 3 or 4 months, because they want to go through it slowly, apply the principles in their life, maybe teach them in their classroom or to their children at home, and then begin to reach out and teach them online.
And the capacity to access the Internet, which gives you access to everyone in the world! There's no way we'd have trainers in 117 countries if it wasn't for the Internet. People in Yemen, Rwanda, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet...that's amazing to me! We can scale and reach exponentially more people than I could reach in a classroom at the height of my high school teaching career. I had five 35-student classes a day, and that was it—175 kids. Now I can do one Zoom call and have five hundred on it. It's totally changed the game.
For sure, and this is one of the things I talk to teachers about, that they do have a lot of transferable skills. Who better to write an online course than teachers with experience writing lesson plans, who are savvy about curriculum, learning objectives, brain-based learning, and all that? It's provided an opportunity for me and for so many others. The online course market is huge.
And there are no discipline problems!
Ha! Good point! And thinking about these 5 Freedoms I always talk about...I said you have all 5. Do you know what they are?
Well, you name one, and I'll tell you how it works in my life.
Time freedom: I have more free time than I ever had. I take a month off every year now, and... We’ve gone to Hawaii, rented a house. Next year, we're going to India for a month, going to stay in this clinic, Ayurvedic medicine guy said, “I'll keep you living 15
years longer than you would have lived otherwise.” I'm up for that! Plus, I take two weeks off in August, I take off Thanksgiving, I take two weeks off in December, I take off other times to visit my grandchildren... I would never have had that as an educator.
Financial freedom: I've literally made millions of dollars every year. The best year, I made six million dollars in one year. That is not possible in a classroom, and that wouldn't have been possible without the Internet. And then...what else?
Location freedom. You can work from anywhere.
Yeah, Location freedom. Right now, I'm in my office, but I could be doing this from Toronto, where I'll be in a few days, or it's Salt Lake City a few days after that. I’ve done interviews and things like that from my vacation in Hawaii. I made a deal with my wife—I get one hour a day to do business stuff; the rest of the time we're totally free. And I've done it from airport lounges. It's amazing.
People freedom: I interact with so many people, it's ridiculous. I get to go anywhere I want; do anything I want. And the more you make an impact with people, the more those people want you in their life. Like you just said, “I'll go to dinner with you!” I could literally travel around the world for a year and never pay for a room, never pay for a meal—stay in the homes of people who are my students, who love me and would be honored to have me.
I get a lot of people—most people—can’t access that right now, because I've developed a reputation over time. You don't do it overnight; it comes over time, through the Internet, on YouTube, etc.
Yes. Also, people freedom from energy-sapping people or disrespectful administrators.
This is very true. That's the reason I left teaching after a couple of years: there was an assistant principal at my school who was this Hitlerian, evil person. She was destroying kids' lives, and I couldn't do anything about it in the position I had as a teacher. I said, “I can't be part of this anymore.” And that was the reason I left.
I'm glad you brought that up, because I know our educators out there can relate to feeling stuck with challenging administrators.
The last freedom is purpose freedom. Of course, you have purpose freedom.
Absolutely. But my purpose evolves over time, and my definition of success evolves. It used to be about creating whatever result I wanted; now it's about fulfilling my soul's purpose, tuning in to that purpose for inner guidance on a daily basis. No one's telling me what to do. I don't have a boss; I don't have anyone to report to. I get to make all my decisions—where I go, when I go, how much I go, etc. It's priceless.
I just think about the impact you've made. and the much larger scale of that impact because of leaving the classroom. Speaking of success, you're called “America's #1 Success Coach,” empowering people to live in their highest vision, in their context of love and joy. I’m a coach, too! After selling my 7-figure business, I decided it was time to help educators figure out how to have more freedom, like I have now. You and your team “train the trainers,” too. Coaches!
I don't think teachers ever really consider the idea of hiring a business coach. Athletes have coaches, there's “life coaches”... I’m not sure teachers think, “Okay, if I want to make a transition, I need to hire someone who's already ‘been there, done that.’” I'm glad you talked about the value of having a coach. I have a business coach to help me, a “guide on my side,” and I think that's something everyone really needs—that cheerleader, that accountability person who says, “You can do this!”
Hey, I still have coaches! I'm 75 years old, I'm super successful, and I still have coaches in different areas of my life. Because I know “I can’t see what I can’t see,” and they’ve spent years focusing on relationships, or finance, or marketing, or whatever. These people can coach me to be more effective in those areas without me having to kill myself.
I had a great mentor when I was young, who taught me two valuable things: OPE and OPM.
OPE is “Other People's Experience.” I don't have to go to war to know that war sucks. I can talk to a veteran who has been there and learn from him, or I can learn from someone who's written a bestselling book. I can learn much faster.
“OPM is “Other People's Money.” I learned how to not only invest my own money, but how to borrow investment money or get investors interested in my company—I carry less risk as a result. A coach taught me that.
The other thing a coach does is, as you said, hold you accountable. Especially if you're a solo entrepreneur, as many of us are. I have staff now, but I started as a solo entrepreneur—and many of your students out there are solo entrepreneurs right now.
Now you don't have a boss telling you what to do. You are the boss. And what happens is you tend to do the easy stuff instead of the important stuff. But if you know what the important stuff is—because you and your coach decided on it—you get to explain to your coach why you didn't do it. And that's embarrassing. So, you get it done.
I explain it to people this way: the IRS—our tax collection agency here in the United States—says you must file your taxes by April 15th. So somewhere around March, everyone gets busy. If they said, “Eh, send it in any time,” no one would ever do it. Being held accountable to a date and a time gets you to actually do the things you would normally not do.
Well, we've come to my last question for you. I love what you say your book, The Success Principles, about fear:
If you're afraid, so what? Feel the fear and do it anyway. The key is to just get started. Quit waiting until you are perfectly ready. You never will be.
I love it because the perfectionist in me comes out—it has to be just so before I put it out there. But like you said, quit waiting until you're perfectly ready, because you never will be. It is definitely a need-to-hear a message.
Thinking about where our educators are out there, considering where they need to be, they need your advice. We know any teacher who doesn't want to be in the classroom—or education at all—isn't serving anyone; not the administrators, not the parents, the students, and especially not herself. What advice would you give those educators who want to leave education, but are too scared to do so?.
All fears are generated by imagining some negative outcome in the future. We've all seen the acronym:
Fantasized (or Future)
They're just fantasies, things you make up. “I won't be able to get a job...I'll be miserable...I'll lose my home, I'll lose my car, I'm sitting out on the street, I'll be on welfare!”
That rarely, if ever, happens to anybody. I literally know no one who's left teaching who didn't find what they were looking for. In fact, the only thing they ever asked themselves was, “Why didn't I do this sooner?” That's the only thing I ever hear, because they get all these freedoms we just talked about. And they find work—whether it's doing individual work, starting a program, online teaching, or whatever it might be. The reality is that most people, once they do it, are really happy they did and wondering why they didn't do it sooner.
So, if fear is created by imagining a negative outcome in the future, the solution to that is twofold:
First, stop imagining anything being in the present. That's what the Buddhists teach. In the vernacular of the Western mind: Replace the negative beliefs and images with positive beliefs and images. Simply close your eyes and visualize your life working the way you'd like it to work if you had taken the risk. The body cannot tell the difference between a real event and a vividly imagined event.
Then, every time you imagine a positive outcome—you've got a new job, your online course is working, you're making money, you're opening up your computer in the morning and finding out 30 new people signed up for your course, whatever—what happens is when you’re visualizing that, you're having the experience that it actually happened. As a result, your confidence is building, your internal creative process is being...stimulated, and you start coming up with creative ideas about how to do it.
And thirdly, through the Law of Attraction, you're actually attracting the resources, the people, the opportunities, the students—whatever it is you need to be successful—to you. That's why visualization is so important.
So, feel the fear and do it anyway! You can go back to tapping on those 9 acupuncture points—which you can learn online, or you can read in my book, Tapping into Ultimate Success, which will teach you how to do it. But the point is, 99% of all fears today can be eliminated in 5 minutes or less with tapping; probably less than that if you just start visualizing what you want in your life. So, don't let fear stop you. Fear is antiquated; it’s like polio, it's almost wiped out if you use the tools we have. The tools are there; you just have to use them and believe it's possible.
And fear can really be a facilitator in some ways, because it helps you identify what’s keeping you stuck.
Yes. Whenever you're about to do a big leap, whenever you set a big goal, three things come up:
Let's say you want to open a marijuana dispensary in Indiana. But Indiana hasn’t passed the “Marijuana is OK” law—that's a real roadblock.
You want to go to the desert; your husband wants to go to the ocean—that's a genuine roadblock; you've got to deal with it.
But ninety-nine percent of all fears and considerations are imaginary.
But here's the cool thing. Those fears and considerations have been stopping you your entire life, from doing all the things you ever wanted to do but thought you couldn't. So, when you set that big goal and they come up...treat it like the Whack-a-Mole.
If you've ever been to the arcade, they have this game where there's holes...you put a dollar in, and these little plastic mole heads come up. You have a hammer and you’ve got to whack a “head” before it goes back down. If you whack enough of them before they all go back down, you win a Kewpie Doll, or a bear or something.
This is your Whack-a-Mole game: to get the subconscious things out of your subconscious, deal with them, and don't let them stop you anymore.
When we talk about human potential, we say, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” Whatever stopping you from leaving teaching—if that's what you want to do—is stopping you from doing everything else in your life that you really want to do. When you take that one step in any area of your life, and overcome the fear, it has an impact in every area of your life. You become freer, happier, and more powerful.
That's so inspiring! And definitely what our participants need to hear.
Something that goes along with what you're saying: one of the things I provide teachers is a Freedom Initiation Plan. It's taking that leap, but with a parachute attached, a strategic plan of “What's my next step? What's my next chapter onwards and upwards?”
We have come to the end of our time, and I know our participants are going to want to hear about your generous gift, ten days of free training, that you’re offering. Can you talk about that?
You can download The Success Principles 10-Day Transformation. It'll come to your phone or your computer. Each day you're going to get a 3- to 5-minute video of me talking to you about one of the principles in this 10-step system I have that guarantees to get you from where you are to where you want to be. And there’s a little homework assignment, something to do during the day that will help you Velcro that principle into your everyday activity, so it's not just going in one ear and out the other. You don't want to have what we call “shelf-esteem”—we want you to actually have your life change. It's not just information; it's a way for you to integrate that information into your life.
I'll tell you a very quick story. I know you want to wrap this up, but there was a guy named Chris Jarvis, who I just met a couple years ago, who had got that program for free. He said:
I watched the first three or four, and I stopped watching it. I started again, watched three or four, and stopped again. Then I was in the hospital for several days. And I decided, “Ah, I got nothing better to do. I may as well watch it for 10 days.” And because of watching those 10 modules, and doing the things I was asked to do, I made a million dollars extra that year. And now he’s writing a chapter for a book: “How A Free 10-Day Challenge Was Worth A Million Dollars.”
So, I really encourage you to take advantage of this. It's free, and it will literally help you take the next steps, and build on the work that Suzanne is doing with you.
And lastly—I would just like 30 seconds of self-promotion, here—but it's really for you guys. We have a “Train the Trainer” program online; we teach you how to teach the Success Principles that I'm talking about now. So, if you like those 10 principles, and you think you'd be valuable to teach it to other people, we can have you certified as a Success Principles Trainer, and you can be teaching this and charging significant amounts of money. The world wants what we're teaching right now. Unlimited professional opportunity. So, I encourage you to do both of those things.
I’m glad you did that shout-out, because it's something I'm definitely going to look into.
Oh, please do. You'd be perfect for it.
Thank you. And I have your training in my inbox; I'm going to be diving in soon after this Virtual Summit is over. I'm looking forward to it!
This has been such a valuable session for me, and I’m sure my educators and teachers have gotten so much value from our talking about responsibility, The Aladdin Factor and asking, purpose, the entrepreneur lifestyle, and fears. It's been truly incredible, and I want to thank you for making the world a better place. You're a true gift to this planet.
Thank you very much. It goes right back at you. You are, too!
Thank you. And thank you for participating in our Freedom for Educators Virtual Summit. I'm Suzanne Klein. Remember, you can Rewrite Your Future. Until next time. Stay savvy, my friends.
This interview is just one of 20 interviews available now at the Freedom for Educators Virtual Summit at www.suzanneklein.com/freedomforeducators
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