Ouch is the only way to describe how I feel right now as I sit in the Pittsburgh airport after having said goodbye to Mindy about an hour ago. If you have been where I have, you know what “bittersweet” really means. There’s a feeling that a part of you is now missing, but not gone. It’s hard to describe. I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with her to help her get started on her new adventure.

I’m at the same time anxious to get home and see Barb, Kelli and the dogs. Kelli just passed her drivers test, so she’s official. Watch out if you’re on the roads in Poulsbo;-]

That’s all for now. I board a plane to Philadelphia soon and then a straight shot home to Seattle. I will do a re-cap tomorrow.


Steubenville Journal – Saturday

Today was not as packed with things to do as Thursday and Friday…which was nice. There were several events, including a parent meeting and a brunch with the Franciscan friars. At the brunch, I got to meet some folks who are from Bothell. Mindy was glad to meet another native Washingtonian, especially one who lives so close. Turns out there are nine Washington residents at Franciscan.

I continue to be amazed at the warmth and generosity of this community. It’s a very inviting and welcoming place. If you were like me, your first day of school involved walking to your first class. That’s definitely not the case here. The kids already have an idea of what daily life is like on campus and have met friends. It’s a much better way to begin.

Mindy will get the opportunity to meet with the President of the University tonight at 7:15. All incoming freshman get the chance. After that, since it’s my final night here, we are going out to Dairy Queen for a dessert. It’s starting to finally sink in for me now, just like it did for Barb, Kelli, and Steve a few days ago. Being concerned for her safety is not the issue. I know she’s at the right place…no doubt in my mind. This is the beginning of a marvelous adventure and growth for her. She’s ready for it.

The real issue is I’m going to miss her. She has already left me a voice mail that I’m not supposed to listen to until she’s not around me. I haven’t found the courage to do that yet. I still see myself holding a newborn baby in my arms almost 19 years ago. Where has the time gone?

Many of you out there know what I feel. You have been there, too. In fact, I’m among good company as I see and hear similar thoughts from other parents. Distance doesn’t make a difference; whether it’s 100 or 2500 miles, the pain is still there. I feel fortunate that technology has brought us cellular phones (thanks to family calling plans), e-mail, and webcams. We still will communicate, maybe even better than before, and that will help. It doesn’t change that she won’t be there on Saturday mornings when I make pancakes, or when we are in church as a family, or every night when Barb and I would check to see if she was asleep.

I guess the moral of the story is this. Change happens. We all go through stages in our lives and Barb and I are embarking on a new one. Closing one chapter can sometimes be painful, but always seems to lead to new adventures. As out kids grow up and move on, it will really be like old times again and will give us the opportunity to focus on each other. What changes are you going through in your life? What might you be leaving behind? And, here’s the ultimately important question – what really cool things lay in store for you?

More tomorrow from the Buckeye State..


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.