Archive for February, 2009

Little Steps -> Interesting Life -> Big Dreams Come True

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

February 21, 2009

We have all heard that you should dream big.  We have also heard that we need to believe in our self to make those big dreams come true.  There is one problem with those two concepts:  there is no action.  Without little steps all of the dreaming and all of the believing in the world won’t get us anywhere.

We have to take little steps outside of our comfort zone to grow.   In September 2005 I decided that I wanted to be a professional speaker and I was going to do what it takes to make that happen.  I joined four Toastmasters clubs and received hundreds of speech evaluations over the next three years.  I also spent about ten thousand dollars to get some high-quality speech training from some truly great speech coaches.  I had someone videotape me and build a quality website.  I joined the National Speaker Association - Minnesota apprenticeship, graduate, and mentorship programs.  I spent a little over a year writing my book, “Internal Vision – A Ten-Day Journey to True Happiness”.  I took an improvisation class and then an advanced improvisation class.  One day I received an e-mail for an audition . . .  I first ignored it.  Then I re-read it, visited the Crisis Company’s website (www.crisiscompany.com) and decided to give it a try.  I didn’t get the part, but wow, was it ever an experience.  The actors play the roles of real life people who police officers have to deal with.  Sometimes the scene called for the actor to play the part of a drug addict.  Other scenes called for the actor to play the part of a rape victim who is considering suicide.  It was very, very interesting.  See what happens when you open yourself up to stretching your limits and trying new things?  Your life becomes interesting.  Is that what your life is missing?  You’re just one little (action) step away from making your life a whole lot more interesting.  You’re just one little (action) step away from getting closer to your big dream.    

Do you have an example of a little step that took you in a positive direction and made your life more interesting?

Bad Economy – Good Opportunity

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

A down turn in the economy gives each of us an opportunity to do something we never dreamed of before being faced with an adverse situation.  I was laid off from a blue-collar job twenty-three years ago.  I started college at age thirty and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double major in Accounting and Finance.  I never dreamed of going to college until I was laid off.  Four years after I graduated from college I was divorced.  I dated some beautiful women that earlier I would have never dreamed would go out with me.   I also survived a life-threatening brain tumor operation.     After I recovered, I joined Toastmasters and won several speech contests.  Before my operation, I was literally scared to death to speak in front of people.  I never dreamed that I would like public speaking and that I would be good at it.  Then twenty-three years after getting laid off from my blue collar job, I got laid off again, this time from the banking industry.  This time I had a dream even though it was a bit pre-mature for a conservative soul like my self.  I took the time to finish and market my book “Internal Vision- A Ten-Day Journey to True Happiness.”   When we are forced into transition it gives us a chance to do whatever we want without the fear of failure because we have no choice.  When I started college years ago, my friends said, “You can’t do that.  Your grades were awful in high school.  Four years is a long time, you’ll never make it.”  But I told them I was only going to go for one quarter.  After all, I had the G I bill and I had to do something.  My friends accepted that.   I took one quarter at a time.  That’s what adverse situation do for us.  They make us concentrate on the present and what we can control.  I just kept getting A’s, one quarter after another, and pretty soon I was done.  How about you?  What do you really want to do?  If you had no choice but to do it, what would you put your whole heart and love into?  Do you have what it takes to develop a plan?  Do you have the discipline and fortitude to carry out the plan, one small step at a time?  Can you to turn a bad economy into a good opportunity for you?  

Show me. 

And e-mail me about your success.  

Honesty is Strength

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

February 10, 2009

Honesty is not only the best policy, honesty is strength.

I was recently laid off from my job after eighteen years in the banking industry and four years with my most recent employer.  Someone told me not to tell anyone I was laid off, but rather I should tell people I decided to jump ship and become a full-time professional speaker.  The truth is I have been a part-time professional speaker for three years and have been taking steps to become a full-time professional speaker including investing ten thousand dollars into speech coaching over the last three years and writing my own book, “Internal Vision – A Ten-Day Journey to True Happiness”, which will be out in mid-March 2009.

Perhaps, it is perceived as a position of weakness because it was not my choice to become a full-time professional speaker this soon.  I definitely disagree.  You operate from a position of weakness when you cover up the truth.  The longer you live the lie, the weaker you become.  Are the professional baseball players who have been taking steroids for years and posing as society’s role models strong because they lied about taking steroids?  No, these people are weak.  They were afraid of trusting in their own abilities and they were afraid to admit it to the American public by telling the truth.  

It takes guts to be vulnerable.  And when you have guts, you do your best.

Of course, you might say it’s easy for me not to be embarrassed about being laid off because I have been laid off before.   I’ve also been divorced and had a brain tumor.  Once you tell people you’ve had a brain tumor, it’s pretty easy to tell them anything   J.  The truth is that none of these situations are worth covering up.  I know from my personal life experience that when someone hires me as a speaker they are going to get the best possible me they can get.  I will go the extra mile(s) to make my presentations exceed my customer’s expectations.   I won’t do this because I am coming from a position of weakness or desperation, but rather because I am coming from a position of honesty and passion.

How about you?  Are you living a lie and content to take that lie to your grave, or is it time to live the truth?  Are you giving your honest all to something without the fear of failure?  If you are, please pat yourself on your back for me.  J 

If not, it’s time to look fear in the eye, laugh at it and take the steps you need to become the best you who you can be.  That’s what life is all about.

What Would You Do If It Was Your Last Chance?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

What do Kurt Warner, football quarterback from the Arizona Cardinals, linebacker James Harrison for the Pittsburg Steelers, I (and you) have in common? 

Kurt Warner graduated from a small college (the University of Northern Iowa), where he didn’t get a chance to start at quarterback until his senior year.  He attended the Green Bay Packers training camp in 1994 and was released before the season began.  It was during this time that Warner stocked shelves at a Hy-Vee grocery store for $5.50 an hour.  Warner went on to start as quarterback in three Super Bowls, winning one.

Linebacker James Harrison began his pro career in 2002 and was cut from the Pittsburg Steelers twice, then he was cut again from the Baltimore Ravens in 2004.   Harrison signed with the Steelers for the third time in 2004.   Harrison decided 2004 with the Steelers would be his last chance to be a real NFL player, or he’d give up on his dream and get a regular job, perhaps driving a bus, or flipping burgers in a fast food joint.  Instead Harrison ended up making an interception in the 2009 Super Bowl, propelling his team to victory.

Both of these NFL stars, Warner and Harrison, performed when they needed to.  I am not talking about during the super bowl, but years earlier when their backs were to the wall.  Both of them made their dreams come true when they viewed it as being their last chance to make it.  How about you?  Are you ready to give it your all and make your dreams come true? 

As I commented in my first blog, I have been laid off, divorced, had a life threatening brain tumor operation and laid off again.  I will be 53 years old tomorrow, February 4th, 2009.  I have been a part-time professional speaker for three years, now full-time, and my book “Internal Vision – A Ten-Day Journey to True Happiness” will be out in mid-March.   I view this opportunity as my last chance to do what I really want to do, which is to be a speaker and a writer.  Will I make it?  Only time will tell, but I know I will never give up.

If I have to work in a Hy-Vee store, drive a bus, or flip burgers on my way to making my dream come true, I will.  The most important thing is that I am in the game.  I am in the game of life and I am not sitting on the sidelines watching others play like I was for so many years of my life.  How about you?  What is your passion?  What if this was your last chance to experience that passion to the fullest?  This is your last chance to get into the game.