Steubenville Journal – Day 2

The university is having IT issues so I have to type this out first and put in my blogs later. Right now, I’m in the VERY cool library. Not only is it a cool place but the air conditioning is very nice as it’s extremely hot and humid outside.

So far today, Mindy has added a class to her schedule, bought her books ($500 smackers) and put money down to go to Austria next Fall. Well, I guess I paid for the books and the deposit for Austria! She and her roomie are all moved in to their dorm room and after a decent nights sleep, all is well.

We had an awesome experience last night. I’ve only been part of something remotely similar at an NBC Team Camp event. All the kids who came back to run the orientation, affectionately called the “brown shirts” since they were all wearing one, formed a type of gauntlet for all freshman and family to walk through to enter the gym for the opening ceremonies. The brown shirts were whooping and hollering and giving High Fives to everyone walking in. We felt like were rock stars. You can’t imagine the faces of all of us as were walked through…surprise and joy. Talk about being made feel welcome. To me, that is teamwork at its finest…to make your new teammates feel welcome, wanted, and excited to be there. It might make you wonder what would happen if everyone who was new to a team (athletic, business, church, etc.) were made to feel that way!


Almost Heaven West Virginia

Greetings from West Virginia! We arrived safely and I type this from my hotel room in Weirton, WV. I’m only a couple miles away from crossing the Ohio River over to Steubenville. The plane trip was uneventful as you would want one to be.

Mindy and I will be soon heading over to start getting her settled, so this will be brief.

One quick note. Normally I fly Alaska Airlines but they don’t fly into Pittsburgh. I was pleasantly surprised by US Air. It was clean, on time, and the employees had fun, made jokes, and made our trip enjoyable. Customer service is a great thing…especially after my debacle with Dell.

More to come later…


Steubenville Journal

Well, I’m heading out today to Steubenville, OH to take my oldest daughter Mindy to college at Franciscan University. She’s a freshman so this is an emotional time in our family as you might imagine. Many of you may have already gone through this process and can empathize. Others of you will be looking forward to it.

This will start my daily journal that can be seen on this blog about my trip. If you are interested, I hope you will check in and see how we are doing.

Last night, we had 11 people over for dinner – all members of the family. It was a great chance to see Mindy off and say “see you later” until Christmas break. Family is an important part of life, whether it’s your personal family, your faith family, your family at work, or the family you coach. The support you gain from your family in all walks of your life is critical to your happiness. I’m sure Mindy received that last night.

We’re off tonight on a red-eye to Charlotte and then on to Pittsburgh. My next blog will come tomorrow.



What you can learn from a dog – The Blondie Rule #1

The other day I was taking my dogs out for their last potty break before going to bed. It was a miserable evening as the rain was really coming down hard. I put on my rain coat, and started the “leashing up process”. As I was getting Charlie, my black lab ready to go, my 16-year old terrier mix mutt Blondie decided she wasn’t going to wait.

She walked through the screen in the door (Now, how did THAT get there?) and proceeded to the top of the porch step just under cover. It was at that point she decided to do her duty, turn around and come back in. I guess a 16-year old dog has more wisdom than her 42-year old human owner. She wasn’t about to get wet, while Charlie and I got drenched.

So, what can we learn from Blondie? It didn’t take much analysis to determine that going down the stairs into the rain just to get her “job” done wasn’t necessary. She made a “command” decision and solved the problem at the least expense and effort, and still got the job done.

How many times do we fall victim of “analysis paralysis”? Sometimes, we may take an inordinate amount of time to make a decision that was staring us in the face all the time. Instead of using our wisdom and acting, we waste time, energy, and money in over-analyzing. Sometimes, we lose an opportunity because of it! If you’re like me, you have been guilty of this.

I’ve learned that my old dog can teach me new tricks. This was a good example. Granted, I will continue to use the acceptable human way to go to the bathroom; Blondie’s method of decision-making was not lost on me!


P.S. Are you procrastinating on your professional development? You have several opportunities to improve your presentation skills through boot camps and other resources that I offer. Go to my online store to learn more

Go for the Goal

I just started reading a book by Patrick Snow titled, “Creating Your Own Destiny”. The first section is on goal setting. If you’re like me, you know goal setting is important and that writing down your goals is critical to success. I still have a hard time doing this, so I’m hoping Patrick’s book will finally kick me into gear.

Do you set goals? If so, are you writing them down? We’ve all got goals for our business and personal lives, but my guess is most of us don’t take the extra step to write down and constantly review our goals. I can speak for myself and say I’m deficient in that area. How about you? Maybe you can take the same challenge I gave myself to write down and constantly review your goals. We will re-visit how I’m doing in future blogs.

Remember what the great Jedi Master Yoda said, “Do or Do Not Do; There is No Try”. Let’s go for the “Do”.


P.S. If you’d like to learn more about Patrick Snow’s book “Creating Your Own Destiny”, go to his web site by clicking here

What’s in a Book

Many of you Toastmasters may be familiar with the name Craig Valentine. Craig is the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking. I recently completed a home-study course he has on storytelling and heard an interesting fact. Craig read that most Americans never read another non-fiction book after high school. I forgot the actual percentage but that is a mind-boggling statistic.

Where do you fall into that category? Until a few years ago, I have to admit I rarely read anything other than a non-fiction book, unless it had to do with sports. Actually, sports are what got me into reading self-development books again. When I became a high school coach, reading books by great coaches like John Wooden and Mike Krzyzewski became a necessity. Now that coaching sports is in my past (for now), I’ve taken that same stance on improving my skills as a speaker and consultant. In the past year, I’ve read or listened to Alan Weiss, Darren LaCroix, Craig Valentine, and Seth Godin. Each of them has brought great value to my development as a speaker and consultant.

How about you? If you’re not learning from your industry leaders, how can you improve your career? Take the same challenge I gave myself and read or listen to at least one book per month that will improve your career or personal life. By learning something new every month, you will find your life has been enriched with new ideas, improved skills, and probably more money!


P.S. Let me help you get started. Darren LaCroix and Rick Segal have a fabulous book called Laugh & Get Rich. You will learn how to bring humor into your work environment, business relationships, and marketing. You will even have fun reading it. To purchase or learn more simply click here.

What You Can Learn from Tiger Woods

If you’ve ever watched Tiger Woods play golf, you know you’re looking at arguably the greatest golfer of all time. He unquestionably fits that title for this generation at least. Even if you’re not a golfer, you are certainly aware of his dominance in his profession. This past weekend, he picked up his 13th career major victory at the PGA Championship in Tulsa, OK; moving him ever closer to Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major wins.

So what can we learn from Tiger? No, I’m not talking about his thunderous drives or his precision putting. We can however learn something about work ethic, perseverance, and a commitment to excellence.

Tiger Woods has been called a “phenom” by many. However, his phenomenal play really comes from an endless regimen that strengthens his mind, body, and skills. The mental focus he brings to his game is really what sets him apart from his competitors. Think about this weekend. After 72 holes in temperatures that soured to over 100 degrees each day, he won a tournament by a mere 2 strokes. Two strokes over 72 holes isn’t a lot by numbers, but it’s that little “extra” that Tiger brings from the mental side that puts him over the top time and time again. His ability to focus on the task at hand, without being distracted about what happened in the past, or what will happen in the future, has made him the most dominant athlete in sports since Michael Jordan.

Do you bring that type of focus to your “game”?

Consider each sales call, Toastmaster speech, or presentation to a group your own PGA Championship. Have you prepared mentally for anything that can happen? Have you practiced your materials so well that you can fall out of bed at 2AM and be able to recite it? Is your focus on the “now” or are you distracted by failures in the past?

Take a real playing lesson from Tiger Woods. In golf, the course is actually just 5 inches long. That’s about the distance between our ears. In our world, our playing field is the same. Remember that being prepared both mentally and physically for your “major” will help you become the Tiger Woods of your profession. Hit it straight!


P.S. If you’re serious about taking you game to the next level, you should consider attending my Panic to Power Boot Camp on November 6 in Port Gamble. You will learn how to become a “Tiger” when you present and turn that into more $$$. Take advantage of my Early Bird special and register today. Click here to learn more…

Crowning Achievement

Have you ever had a crown put on your teeth? If you have, you know the discomfort I just went through over the past two weeks. First, the preliminary visit is worse than putting the actual crown on. It’s an hour and a half of misery…from the Novocain shots, the drilling and sawing, and the worst part of all, the plaster mold. Reminds me of that pink Paper Mache stuff we used in grade school for art projects.

In fact, the assistant tightened my upper mold too tight and couldn’t get it off. I felt like I was in a Seinfeld episode as she pulled, tugged, and wiggled with all her might while pulling me literally out of my chair. It’s one of those events that you always say that you will look back and laugh about later…still not laughing! The actual “crowning” part wasn’t bad at all and only took about 20 minutes. Seemed like a lot of preparation for just a short fix.

This process reminds me of preparing a speaking presentation. Whether it’s for a Toastmasters speech, a big-money sales call, or addressing your local City Hall, the hardest and most difficult part of the process is your preparation. It seems like a lot of work for just a short end result. Just like a new crown in your mouth, the more diligent your prep work, the better “fit” you will have.

Too bad I wasn’t thinking about that when that plaster mold was stuck in my mouth!


P.S. Do you need help learning HOW to prepare for those big presentations? That’s why I’m holding my Panic to Power Boot Camp on November 6, 2007 in Port Gamble, WA. You will learn how to go from panic to profit with your communication skills. Click here to learn more.

Grace Stands the Test of Time

It was April 8th, 1974 and I was 9 years old. I was watching a nationally televised baseball game featuring the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. Glued to the television and clutching my brand-new Hank Aaron “714” baseball mitt, I was waiting anxiously to watch my hero come to the plate. I can still smell the leather of the glove. Aaron was tied with Babe Ruth as the Home Run King and his next homer would leave him standing alone. I’ll never forget it – his second at bat against Al Downing was hit over the left-field wall and as he rounded the bases, he was mobbed by two fans who somehow managed to elude the police. It was quite a scene and a thrill for this young fan. I remember how gracious “The Hammer” was in his comments before, during, and after the chase. Ruth was a legend and Aaron endured much hatred and contempt. His graciousness under these circumstances was more heroic than his accomplishment.

Now, 12,173 days later, Bobby Bonds stands alone as the new Home Run King. This article isn’t about blasting Barry Bonds. This is his time, plus there are enough people to tackle that job anyway. This is about a man who 33 years later still exudes graciousness. Hank Aaron wasn’t in San Francisco last night for the festivities. He had said all along he had no interest in attending and stuck to his word. However, he did issue a video statement that was played on the big screen congratulating Bonds for his “skill, longevity, and determination.” He considered himself “privileged” to have held the record and sent his best wishes to Bonds and his family. In conclusion, he said this, “My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams”.

It makes mo wonder if I’m always gracious in challenging times. How about you? If we can learn anything from Henry Aaron, it’s this; baseball records will come and go, but what stands forever is the character of a human being.

Oh, by the way, read his final statement one more time. Are you still chasing your dreams? As my friend Jim Key has said, “It’s never too late to dream”! My hope is that you will be inspired to keep your dreams, whatever they may be, alive and well.


Dial One for Frustration, Two for “I need a LIVE person!"

Do you remember the last time you called a big company and got stuck in their voice mail system that left you feeling you were in the Twilight Zone? Just this morning, I spent at least 45 minutes on the phone with Dell, speaking to 4 different people on at least three different continents trying to figure out how to buy two notebooks. Alan Weiss, the famed consultant and speaker, always says “Make it easy for the customer to buy”. Geez! I found myself screaming at my phone begging to talk to a real person. The phone just kept telling me that wasn’t an option.

Last Friday, I went online to buy a notebook for me and one for my daughter, Mindy who is going away to college. I have a Dell Business account so I wanted to purchase them with that. The system didn’t recognize me because I wasn’t a “personal” customer, so I had to wait through the weekend to talk to the business office. Between the phone and the “real” people I talked to, I got transferred, switched and stymied all over the place until I reached a guy named Guy (really). The guy named Guy figured out that my orders needed to be re-built into the business section because, well I guess the “personal” and “business” side of Dell must have as hard a time communicating with each other as their customers do! Bottom line…Guy could fix the problem (I think. I haven’t heard back from him yet as I write this article). I guess Dell is lucky I have a business account with them or else I would have taken my business elsewhere.

This is a great lesson in communications and customer service. If you’re in the business world, make it easy for your customer to buy AND to talk to a real live person. Technology is great but the advent of convoluted answering services has really made personal communications much more difficult. In the end, that’s how we build relationships and sell more of our wares. This has made me look at my distribution system to make sure I’m client-friendly. Perhaps it’s a good time for you to look at yours, too.

P.S. Want to learn how adding humor to your business marketing and practices will make you more attractive to customers? Why don’t you sign up for my workshop with Sandra Kolb on Tuesday, October 23rd in Bremerton, WA? Click here to learn more. You can also buy the book Laugh and Get Rich by Darren LaCroix and Rick Segal. It’s a groundbreaking look at how humor will leave you laughing all the way to the bank while having fun yourself. What a concept! Click here to learn more.