A Lesson in Self Esteem and Peak Performance

Years ago, I graduated from college with an engineering degree and (supposedly) a bright future ahead of me.

Problem was … I had the chance to work as an engineer during college and I found out something troubling.

I didn’t actually like engineering as a profession.


So, out of college I was working two jobs to make ends meet.

I was a parking lot attendant on the weekends, and during the week, I got a job through a temp agency working for a small family-run company as a clerical assistant (read that as “male secretary”).

When the family-run company moved from Downtown Cleveland to the suburbs, I went along, even though my commute grew to 45 minutes each way.

The fact was, I liked the company, liked the people, didn’t have any other job prospects, had no direction or goals, and was happy to let other people direct my life at that point … so I stayed with them after the move.

Can you relate?

A 45 minute commute gets pretty boring if all you have to listen to is NPR, “morning zoo” antics and rotational playlists on commercial radio.

So, I began looking for “Books on Tape” to listen to on my commute.

One day, I was at the library, browsing through the A/V section, and I found a program called “Self Esteem and Peak Performance” by Jack Canfield.  It was one of those packaged programs of six, hour-long tapes you could buy from places like Nightengale-Conant and Careertrack.

I checked it out and popped the first tape into my car’s cassette player.

That first tape … and the subsequent tapes in the program … changed my life.

Changed my attitude.

Gave me hope.

Gave me the self-esteem and confidence to eventually find a new direction in life and pursue it.

Through stories and examples, Jack Canfield taught me how to have a more positive view of the world.

How to set goals.

How to love where I was in life and make the best of every situation.

Two things that I liked about this program specifically:

1.  It was recorded before a live audience.  A lot of the programs I listened to up to that point were people reading their books on tape, and the recordings came across as flat and uninteresting.

2.  The last tape was interactive.

The last tape was a “repeat after me” tape.  Jack would say a sentence like “I’m good enough, smart enough, and doggone it people like me,” and there would be a space for the listener to repeat that phrase out loud.

(Just kidding about the sentence he would say … this was long before Al Franken brought Stuart Smalley to life on Saturday Night Live.)

I was hooked.

I listened to the whole program from start to finish every week during the time I had it checked out.

When the library renewal date came up, I renewed it once.


Three times.

I must have listened to the first five tapes at least 10 times from start to finish … and the last tape at least twice that.

Finally, someone else put a hold on the program at the library, and I had to return it.

So I reserved it again.

Finally, I broke down and got my own personal copy.

So what’s the lesson here?

The lesson here is not that you need to get Jack Canfield’s Self Esteem and Peak Performance.

(Of course, you can get it on Amazon if you’re so inclined.)

I happened to like Jack’s style, and his message of self-esteem and peak performance was the right one for me at that time in my life.

The lesson is this …

Listening to personal development programs can have a positive effect on your life.  

Especially when you listen to them multiple times.  

And … you can often checkout these programs through your local library at no charge.

That way, if you don’t like a particular program, you can return it and try another until you find one you connect with.

You never know what you will hear that will change your life forever and make this year your best ever.

Until next time,

P.S.:  Never heard of Jack Canfield?  He’s now a well known speaker and trainer in the field of personal development and the Law of Attraction.  He is also the co-creator of the famous “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series of books.  Here’s a short video of Jack Canfield teaching an audience about taking action in life.

I welcome your comments below.


To your continued success!

David Caban
Contact me here

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