Now I Know What it Means for ‘The Room to Spin’

My blog posts are always geared towards adding value to my readers however the following is a little unique given the topic.

In early November of 2017 I felt like my right ear was stopped up.  It was a combination similar to what you experience from flying or from having water in your ear from swimming.  With a history as a swimmer and given that I fly several times a year, these symptoms were not unusual.  However they are typically very short-term and so after several days of them not subsiding, I decided it was time to see my doctor.

On November 10, 2017 I went to my family practice doctor and actually ended up seeing his PA.  She is great and has helped me numerous times in the past with other issues and so I felt just as comfortable talking with her as I would with my doctor.  After describing my symptoms, and a brief examination on her part, she said you have an ear infection.

As a former competitive swimmer, I used to get ear infections all the time and they were always very painful.  She said this was a different kind of infection in a different part of the ear that didn’t really cause pain.  She said the solution was simple and prescribed ear drops that I would take for the next ten days.  This she said would knock out the infection and I should be good to go.

For my part the whole experience was pretty nonchalant.  The PA never mentioned any potential danger or risk from the infection and shame on me for not asking.  After completing the drops the symptoms had decreased but had not completely gone away.  In my mind the improvement meant I was healing and I didn’t think much more about it.

For Thanksgiving, I traveled to East Texas to my hometown of Nacogdoches to be with family. It was at my Mom’s home on Thanksgiving night where I had my first attack of Vertigo.  I had gotten up around midnight to use the bathroom which is only about twenty feet from the guest bedroom.  From the moment I got out of the bed and then as I walked the short distance to the bathroom, I felt like everything around me was spinning.

A scary feeling…

My Mom has a night-light in the bathroom that was zigzagging back and forth along with the rest of the room which was going in circles.  I fault an instant rush of nausea and started breaking out in a cold sweat.  Once I was back in bed, my mind was racing as to what was going on.  With the overhead fan on full blast, I pushed away the bedspread and used only the sheet for cover due to the bizarre way that I felt.

The haunted night-light…

After what seemed like forever, I dozed back off and woke up the next morning with no lingering effects.  How strange!  At first I thought it might have been a dream, but no, I was clear that it did happen.  I just didn’t know why and made no connection to my ear at that point.

After the first couple of weeks in December, the feeling of my ear being stopped up started to slowly return.  Then on December 28, 2017 I had my second attack of Vertigo in the early morning right after getting home from the gym.  I had already showered and dressed and was just firing up my computer in my home office when the nausea and dizziness hit me out of no where.

It was so bad that after picking at my breakfast, I went back to sleep in my lounge chair for most of the morning.  When I woke up around lunch time, the symptoms had subsided enough to be able to eat.  I then decided it would be best to go see my doctor.  For the negative, my doctor’s office is about 12 miles away with most of that being on the North Dallas tollway.  A flare up of the Vertigo while driving 70+ mph could have been interesting.

Ultimately the drive down was okay until about the time I hit their parking lot.  Then out of the blue, the Vertigo came back.  It was a cold day and I was wearing my overcoat and yet I had the AC on full tilt because of the nausea and cold sweats.  Walking in from the parking lot was a challenge as I was definitely impaired.  Anyone watching would have thought I was intoxicated because I was walking as if under the influence.

Normally there is very little wait, however that afternoon the waiting room was full of flu patients and the wait was two hours.  As bad as I felt, there’s no way I was going to wait that long and further expose myself to catching the flu.  I made an appointment for the next day at 4PM and then carefully made my way back home where I slept for most of the rest of the day.

My doctor was able to see me right away the next afternoon and quickly diagnosed that my ear infection had not gone away.  He gave me a steroid shot and prescribed a three-day run of antibiotics to treat the infection.  He also prescribed motion sickness meds to deal with the Vertigo.  The new treatment plan left me feeling hopeful as I headed to Costco to pick up my new drugs.  For what it’s worth, my doctor’s attitude was no different from that of the PA’s in that he didn’t mention any particular danger I was in due to the lingering infection.

The new meds did help and the motion sickness and the blocked feeling in my ear largely subsided…in the short run.  But, by mid-January the symptoms started coming back and so I called to make another appointment.  They were still slammed with flu cases and the earliest opening was on January 23, 2018.  Oddly enough, the night before my appointment, I had the next attack of Vertigo.

I had just showered and was about to cook dinner.  It was so bad that I literally had to force myself to cook and then only ate about half because of the extreme nausea.  Shortly after I went to bed hoping the sleep would help.

The next day my doctor prescribed one more shot and a double dose of antibiotics along with an additional prescription of Prednisone.  We agreed that if the new treatment didn’t help, I would need to see a specialist.  After the previous experience with the same meds, I was not feeling overly confident.  Further, I was not excited about taking Prednisone as it can have some nasty side effects.

Oddly enough, I felt fine the rest of the week until Saturday night, January 27, 2018.  At midnight I woke up with a another attack of Vertigo.  It was the worst by far and the feeling of nausea and the room spinning was almost more than I could stand.  Normally I charge my phone at my desk in my office right around the corner from my bedroom.  With my apartment spinning at full torque, I made my way to my desk to get my phone and then back to my bed using the walls and what ever else to keep my balance.

The Vertigo was so bad that I considered calling 911.  I’ve had knee and shoulder surgery and this was way worse than any pain I had dealt with before.  My mind raced with the ramifications of calling 911 at midnight and the potential ambulance ride to the emergency room.  Fortunately I chickened out and finally went back to sleep.  The next morning I felt better however pretty exhausted after the previous night.

Normally I work as a “sub” at my church during the Offertory as needed which is typically most of the time.  Even though I am only a sub, I still take the role seriously never mind the fact that I hate missing church to begin with.  Since I did feel better and my church is only a few minutes from my home, I decided to go.  I was needed and made it through the offering okay however I had my doubts considering the possibility of another attack of Vertigo.

The next morning, on January 29, 2018, I was at my doctor’s office early to get a referral to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.  Fortunately they had an opening that same day right after lunch.  After sharing my story, the doctor did a hearing test.  The results showed that I had experienced roughly a 2/3’s loss of hearing in my right ear.  He said if I would have come to see him in the first few weeks after the symptoms started, he could have prevented the damage that had been done…which is largely irreversible.

Medical City Dallas

Further, he said there were two potential causes for my condition.  He said either a viral infection had attacked the nerve in my ear or I could potentially have a brain tumor.  The only way to rule out the tumor was to have an MRI…the sooner the better.  Mentally absorbing the combination of the hearing loss and the possibility of having a brain tumor was quite a bit to take all in the span of about 30 minutes.

Why didn’t my family practice doctor not send me to a specialist sooner?  I choose to take responsibility for everything in my life and yet the carefree attitude of the PA and doctor gave me no reason to be alarmed.  Shame on me for not asking more questions about the potential risk.  Unfortunately, none of that matters now.

The imaging center is located in the same building at Medical City Dallas as the specialist and they had an opening within 20 minutes of me walking in the door.  It was a double MRI because the second scan involved a contrasting dye which meant…oh joy…another shot.  Normal shots, I can handle.  IV’s and the like where the needle is left in your hand or arm SUCK!

Definitely NOT one of my favorite things…

One hour later, I was done and on my way home.  The MRI tech said the results would be sent to my doctor that same day and that I should hear from them soon.  It was a surreal drive home talking to my Dad.  I was disappointed with my hearing but pretty much in a state of shock about the potential for a brain tumor.  Brain surgery is not something on my “bucket list”.

The next morning the nurse called me from the specialist’s office and said right away “Great news!  You don’t have a brain tumor.”  Talk about a weight taken off my shoulders.  She did say the doctor wanted to see me in a month for a follow-up but otherwise, I was out of danger.  I asked about the Vertigo and she said the meds prescribed by my family practice doctor were the best under the circumstances.  At that point, with the previous Saturday night being only a few days past, I had my doubts with this plan however I agreed.

Since nothing had changed in my body from my perspective, I figured it was only a matter of time.  Fortunately, the Vertigo never came back.  To date, even as I write this post, there have been no further attacks.  When I did go see the specialist for the follow-up visit, he did a whole new round of hearing tests.  Surprisingly, my right ear had marginally improved from the previous tests.  The doctor attributed this and the lack of Vertigo to the viral infection finally running its course.

The downside is that I still have about a 50% loss of hearing in my right ear that will never come back.  Further, I have a constant ringing (tinnitus) which according to my doctor will also never go away.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

So now I am left with a permanent loss of hearing and a constant ringing in my ear.  If I would have known the potential risk of the original ear infection, I would have opted for the specialist from the very beginning.  I had no idea because the doctor and his PA treated my condition so casually.

While you obviously can’t control everything that happens to you in life, you always have a choice in how you respond to the positive and the negative.  I choose to accept responsibility for everything that happens to me for better or worse.  As soon as you blame outside forces for your circumstances, you give up your right to make change.

There is always silver lining in every adversity if you’re willing to look.  As a Christian, one of my life verses is 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4…

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

For me, if the only silver lining in one of life’s trials is that I can learn a lesson to better help someone else in the future going through a similar struggle, then for me, it’s enough.  At least this gives me something positive to focus on rather than simply dwelling on the overall negativity of a situation.

So in the spirit of the verse above, my silver lining given the journey with my ear is to encourage you to take care of yourself.  Take care of your health proactively and then be extra vigilant when an issue comes up.  Ask your doctor lots of questions.  Do your homework.  Get a second or even third opinion.  With the power of Mother Google available to most everyone, there’s no reason to not be educated to some degree on your illness and the track record of the physician you’re seeking help from.

Ultimately you have a huge amount of control over the state of your health.  Please don’t take this for granted.  It is truly a gift that can be taken away without notice.

Best of luck in your journey…


Posted in ear infection, learning from mistakes, personal development, seeking wisdom, success, trials & tribulations, Uncategorized, Vertigo, wise choices | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s Your Animal Personality Style?

In “Are You Facing Your True North”, I shared about personality styles in general including a variety of assessments available to determine yours.  My original intention was to write about the following however “True North” sort on took on a life of its own and so now I want to share about my favorite way of defining personalities based on the following animals:

  • Puppy Dog 
  • Cat 
  • Canary 
  • Gold Fish 

Like the popular DISC assessment, no one is 100% one specific style.  We’re all a blend of the four types which makes up seemingly endless combinations with each individual having his own singular and unique style.  When communicating, it’s critical that you not only understand your style but also recognize other people’s styles as well.  If you don’t, you might as well be speaking a foreign language to each other because your efforts in communicating can really fall short.

Puppy Dog 

Puppy Dogs crave words of affirmation or praise.  If you pat them on the head and tell them what a good boy or girl they are, they’re good to go.  They will love you, be loyal to you, and practically run through brick walls for you.

Note to employers:  Puppy Dogs require positive and constant feedback.  It’s not that you’re telling them something they’re not, but when they’ve done a good job, they need to hear about it.  If you want them to “burn the midnight oil for you”, be consistent in affirming their performance.  As with the other three styles, it’s not a matter of manipulation, you’re just giving them what they need based on how they’re wired.

A lack of affirmation or recognition can leave them feeling despondent and wondering what they’ve done wrong.  They will begin to doubt themselves and their ability and their  performance will suffer.  Be especially cautious in how you discipline a Puppy Dog.  By all means, call them out for their failure, but be careful to lift up the person.  Zig Ziglar was wise in his saying “Failure is an event, not a person“.  Puppy Dog’s need to be reminded of this in the scenario of a performance correction.

Note to wives:  For Puppy Dogs, a wife may have more power than any other person in their life.  Say the right words and they will do pretty much whatever you ask.  On the flip side, a harsh word from a wife can send a Puppy Dog scurrying away with his tail between his legs straight under the bed where it can take days to recover.

Again like in the scenario of a boss calling out a Puppy Dog for poor performance, it’s not a matter of not addressing an issue, it’s just critical that a wife go about it in the right way.  The Proverb “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” carries considerable weight in the case of a wife scolding a husband.  By all means call out the poor performance, just be sure to remind the man of how much you love him.


Cats crave physical touch.  There is power in physical touch in general and you can find examples of this in all areas of life.  The reassuring hand of a coach on a young ball player’s shoulder when he’s next up to bat can make all the difference in his performance.  In days gone by, business agreements were solidified with a simple handshake.  Well, for a Cat, touch is oxygen for their soul.

Note to couples:  Cats want, need, crave, and desire physical touch.  In contrast to a Puppy Dog, all the praise in the world from one spouse to the other will fall on deaf ears if the recipient is a Cat.  And this doesn’t necessarily always mean sex.  Holding hands or a hand on a knee or an arm around a shoulder or just sitting close can be all that’s needed.  Without it, the Cat will feel isolated and ultimately not loved.


A Canary needs quality time.  In contrast to a Gold Fish, all the acts of service in the world will mean nothing if quality time is lacking.  A Canary simply needs you to be with them.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Something as simple as a walk in the park holding hands (if there’s some Cat in their style) can more than satisfy a Canary.

Note to couples…and to Men in particular:  When you get home at the end of the day and your wife is a Canary, your best bet whether she’s had a great day or the worst day ever is to “let her sing”.  If she’s had a hard day, she’s more likely looking for a shoulder to rest her head on and share her story than for you to come in and play superman and seek to save the day.

On the flip side, if she’s had a great day and you have as well, don’t make the mistake of topping her story with yours.  It’s not that you don’t share, but definitely let her go first and you might even consider waiting until later to share of your exploits.  Let her have her moment because this is what a Canary needs.

Men, if your wife is a Canary, you could wash the car, take out the trash, mop the floors, pick up the groceries, and any other random household chore but if you fail to give her quality time, you will completely miss the mark.  It’s not that she won’t appreciate your acts of service or words of praise or touch, it’s just not her primary communication style and she will be left feeling unfulfilled in your relationship.

Women, if your husband is a Canary, he needs you to be involved with him in activities outside of your core relationship.  You may not care much for a particular sport, however if you husband is a fan, then attending a game with him or simply watching one on TV will thrill him.  He will always have his buddies to pal around with but none of them can come  close to touching his heart in the way you can by spending time with him in an activity he loves.

Gold Fish

Gold Fish crave acts of service.  In a literal sense, they’re really not into touch and they won’t listen to your words of praise anyway.  Just keep their tanks clean and feed them and they’re great.

My Mom is a Gold Fish and she has one of the greatest servant’s heart of anyone I’ve ever known.  She loves people the way she craves to be loved.  She appreciates quality time and words of affirmation will certainly make her smile, however a simple thing like a greeting card for no apparent reason will mean more to her than most anything.

Note to men:  If your wife is a Gold Fish, then her “Honey Do” list is your ticket to happiness.  She still needs to hear “I love you” and quality time together is essential, but if you want to hit a “home run”, be a champion in helping her around the house.  If you really want to score big, do things proactively without her always having to ask.  And…be sure to give of yourself because you love her and because it’s the right thing to do…not because you’re looking for anything in return.

Note to women:  While I’m a huge believer in men and women sharing responsibilities around the home, if your husband is a Gold Fish, this is truly an opportunity to turn house hold chores like washing and folding clothes into a labor of love.  It may not seem like that big a deal, but to him, it really is.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

For effective communication to take place and for meaningful relationships to exist, you must not only know your style but also understand the styles of the other people in your life.  People’s default way of “showing love” to others is to express their love in the way they are wired to receive love.  Hopefully you can see now how this doesn’t work very well.

If you’re a Puppy Dog and your wife is a Canary, all your words of affirmation to her will completely fall on deaf ears.  She needs your time.  To truly be an effective communicator, you have to seek to “love” others in the way they are wired to receive love.  Only then can you foster and develop the strongest and most enduring relationships.



Posted in affirmations, communication, love, personal development, personality styles, success, Uncategorized, Zig Ziglar | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Are You Facing Your True North?

Personality styles are varied and there are tons of assessments available to help you discover your personal style.  I was first introduced to the idea of different personality styles over 20 years ago in the old Amway business.  While I never made much money with the opportunity, that experience introduced me to the world of personal development which forever changed my life for the positive.

My earliest exposure to a system of labeling personalities was through the book “Personality Plus” by Florence Littauer.  My biggest take away was that we’re all wired differently and to attempt to communicate to someone not understanding your style or their’s can result in an epic fail.

This is a critical piece that touches every relationship in your life including family, friends, and coworkers.  If you don’t understand you or them, you really might as well be speaking a foreign language to each other as that’s how ineffective your communication may be.

Soon after Personality Plus, I was introduced to Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages”.  For couples especially, this book is a game changer.  Today Chapman offers a whole series of books targeting different groups but at the core, they all come down to understanding your style and others to foster effective and meaningful communication.

My next exposure was to the DISC personality assessment.  The first company I ever went to work for in sales used the DISC assessment as a pre-hire tool.  Having no coaching whatsoever, I took the test from my heart answering each question as honestly as possible.  Unfortunately my results came back negative in terms of what the company typically looks for in a sales rep.

My soon to be sales manager had me retake the assessment this time with a little coaching which produced the desired results.  Once he gave me an idea on how to answer the questions to foster their prototypical sales rep, it was not difficult to “cheat” the system for sake of getting hired.  However, the second round of results were not a true indication of the real me.

I recently finished the book “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” by Marcus Buckingham.  It was a great read and timely for me in this current season of life.  One statement he made which proved particularly interesting is that people’s personality styles do not change.  They are hard-wired in at a very early age and really never change throughout our lives.  He said many people have the mistaken belief that personalities can and do change, however learning new skills as we age does not constitute a change in personality.

At first I didn’t know what to think of his statement and then I remembered my original scores with the DISC assessment.  Last year, I attended a sales boot camp in Orlando, Fl where communication styles were part of the curriculum.  The trainers were certified DISC specialists and it was very eye-opening to see how powerful the information can be used in a business setting and life in general.  As part of the teaching we were all required to take the assessment.

Test Scores from May 2017

Now being very knowledgeable of the four personality styles taught by DISC, I can easily take the assessment and create any desired profile because I understand which questions drive which results.  When I took the assessment last year, I wanted to see my true results and so I took it straight up and honest.  It had been 22 years since my original assessment and my score was almost identical.  For grins, I took a break from writing this post to take the assessment again, from my heart, and my overall style remains constant.

Test Scores from March 2018

You will notice that my results for the D and I traits from last year to this year are basically the same.  The S and C traits actually flipped however the spread is very close.  We all have our natural bent however circumstances in our lives can cause us to act in the moment expressing any of the four traits more strongly than at other times.  I’m personally in a very different season of life this year versus last so it only makes sense for the subtle change.  Overall, I’m pretty much the same person.

So what’s the point of that?  Whatever your personality style, it is your True North and you need to live your life being true to yourself.  With your personality style comes your strengths and passions.  So many people live their lives pretending to be something they’re not.  You must avoid against this.  Life is too short to live for someone’s else’s agenda.

In our society people tend to focus more on shoring up weaknesses than maximizing strengths.  For example, let’s say you brought home a report card as a child with two A’s, two B’s, and a D.  Which one would your parents tend to focus on the most?  The D of course.  Now you may have been able to do better than a D but maybe not if the course was in your area of weakness.

Leadership expert John Maxwell teaches that on a scale of 1 to 10, the most you can increase a strength or weakness is 2-3 points.  So if you’re a 2 in public speaking, then no amount of training and effort will ever get you beyond a 5 or “average”.  Hint…people don’t pay much for average.  But if you’re a 6 in leadership and you raise that to an 8 or 9, companies will line up to hire you.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to ignore your weaknesses.  Just don’t beat yourself up over trying to make them substantially better.  You will gain a far greater return on your investment of time and energy spent in working to maximize your strengths.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

Stephen Covey said it best with “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
You have to be clear on your communication style and then be skilled in recognizing others before you can ever communicate effectively and therefore “be understood”.

I love the simple saying “you don’t know what you don’t know”.  The older I become the more profound this little truth is to me.  So if this is your first exposure to personality types in general, I highly encourage you to learn more about your style.  It will enrich your communication and ability to deal with people in every area of your life.

Further, if you’ve never taken a strengths assessment, I also encourage you to do so.  If you have children, this could be one of the most beneficial things you could ever do for them in helping them find their True North.

My nephew Sean just graduated last May from high school and was planning to join the military.  He had been leaning towards the Air Force for years and yet he changed his mind completely and joined the Army.

Why?  Because his passion for flying caused him initially to be attracted to the Air Force.  It was only after he took a strengths assessment and fully explored all his options with a recruiter that he realized the Army was a much better choice.  And now I am proud to say he’s kicking butt in basic training and loving it!

Sean Gates – 1st Battalion 61st Infantry Regiment “Roadrunners” Fort Jackson SC.

When the late great Billy Graham was asked what was the greatest surprise to him about life, his answer was “The brevity of it”.  Life is short and this is not a dress rehearsal.  Make the most of your days because they truly go by fast.


Personality Plus by Florence Littauer

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

DISC Personality Assessment

DISC Certification with Pici & Pici

Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham

Standout by Marcus Buckingham















Posted in communication, John Maxwell, love, personal development, personality styles, success, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Momentary Lapse of Reason – Part 3

Remember the classic line from Bugs Bunny “I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque!”?  Well the following little adventure resulted from another missed left turn that took me on the scenic route of all scenic routes.  I was so far out in the boondocks that my iPhone’s GPS wouldn’t work.  It showed the little blue dot (me), going South and progressively East when I was trying to go South and West and it wouldn’t give me any directions to correct my mistake.

Talk about being off the grid…

It was a Friday afternoon and I was headed home from Tulsa after being in Oklahoma for the week for work.  My normal route is to take the Indian Nation Turnpike down to just past McAlester and then pick up 69 to Dallas.  On this particular trip I was talking to one of my best friends while racing down the turnpike at just under 80 mph.  I don’t remember what we were talking about but apparently is was all-consuming because I missed my exit for 69…and that’s when the trouble started.

“I missed the blue loop”

I’ve had a fascination with water since I was a kid.  Oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds…you name it, I just like the water.  My friend and I were still talking when I passed through a small town that did not seem familiar.  Now I’ve made the trip from Tulsa to Dallas countless times and my memory is pretty good, so to pass through a town that failed to register sent up immediate red flags.  Then I crossed a bridge with a dam and spillway to the left with the water flowing under the road.  That’s when I knew I was in trouble.

There’s no way I wouldn’t have remembered that spillway and bridge combo.  The problem was that my GPS wouldn’t work.  It wouldn’t even connect to show my location on the  map because apparently Verizon doesn’t have coverage in the middle of nowhere.
Without a better course of action, I continued to head Southeast hoping and praying for a road sign that I would recognize.

Paris was my beacon of light as my cell signal returned and the GPS started working again.

When I first saw signage for Paris, I was both grateful and shocked thinking good grief, I’ve gone WAY out of my way.  While I always enjoy crossing the TX state line on my way home from being out-of-state, it felt particularly good that afternoon.  My cell signal actually came back about the time I crossed the Red River and passed one of my all time favorite signs, “Welcome to Texas”!

After a quick pit stop in Paris to regroup and determine the best way to make it home, I was back on the road full steam ahead in route to Sulphur Springs where I would pick up 30 to Dallas.

Had I not missed my turn, the trip should have taken right at 4 hours at approximately 246 miles.  With my missed turn, I added an extra 64 miles or so and 1 hour to my trip.
It could have been worse and yet I still felt pretty stupid once I determined exactly where my mistake occurred.

The trip from Sulphur Springs to home was uneventful until I hit Rockwall.  Coming down the mega hill leading to the bridge that crosses the lake, I could see a threatening line of thunder storms forming across the entire DFW horizon.  Fortunately the monsoon didn’t hit until I was relatively close to home so the weather really didn’t delay my trip any further.  To avoid the crush of traffic where Bush and the Tollway intersect, I bailed at Preston and took the side streets to my home.  Needless to say, it felt extra good to be home…safe and sound.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

As a continuing theme from Parts 1 & Part 2, it pays to pay attention to your surroundings.  Once I hit Paris and had a clear path for home, it would have been easy to beat myself up for the extra distance and lost time all due to a simple missed turn.  Instead I chose to focus on the positive.  I knew where I was, I had plenty of money to get home,  and it could have been far worse.  I could have been in an accident or robbed or who knows what.  All things considered, an extra hour on road was not that big a deal.

My only thoughts for you are to accept responsibility for whatever situation you’re in.  We can’t control what happens to us in life but we can always control how we respond to any situation.  I’ve learned to stay positive and be solution oriented.  This will get you through the rough times far better that whining and griping about how bad a situation is.  It really comes down to having the proper perspective and again…it’s always a choice.

Posted in attitude, learning from mistakes, self talk, success, trials & tribulations, Uncategorized, wise choices | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Momentary Lapse of Reason – Part 2

In Part 1, I shared about a short story from last Summer that while embarrassing and idiotic on my part, did not leave me essentially stranded with few immediate options for a resolution.  The following little adventure happened only a few weeks ago and still causes me to feel a little shaky at the potential damage it could have caused.

On Sunday afternoon, February 11, 2018, it was cold and misting rain outside.  I like to take walks around my apartment complex in the late afternoons but once the temperature drops below a certain point or if its raining, I will head up to my complex’s little fitness center which is a part of the main office building.  During normal hours, you can access the fitness center through the business office.  On Sundays or any other time when the office is closed, you can only access the fitness center through the back door…if you have a key…which I do.

After my thirty minute walk, I put on my overcoat, grabbed my book, and walked out the door.  While the door is always locked, it doesn’t shut automatically.  You have to physically pull it shut…which I did.  In that split second, my heart practically stopped.  I grabbed my coat feeling both pockets and there was nothing…except for my extra car key.  My real keys were inside the gym sitting on the treadmill where yours truly left them.  What an idiot!

Creekside Apartments Fitness Center

The extra key was in my pocket because I had gone out to unload my stash from Costco earlier in the day.  Since it was a big box, I put my key back in my pocket after opening the back hatch of my Ford Edge and basically forgot about it as I carried my goodies back inside my apartment.

Albertsons – Frankford & North Dallas Tollway

At this point my mind was racing as to what to do.  To make matters worse, it was still cold, drizzling rain, and I really needed to pee!  So…I hurriedly walked back home to my car and jumped in to warm up.  My mind was still racing however the most immediate need was to find a bathroom.  Short of picking a random neighbor and knocking on their door for help, I opted to cruise down the street a few blocks to Albertsons.  I knew I could use their restroom and hoped someone would let me use a phone.

Albertsons – Customer Service Desk

Now feeling a little more clear-headed having used Albertson’s restroom, I made my way to the customer service counter where I met Margaret.  She was a sweet little lady who reminded me a lot of my Mom in stature.  After explaining my challenge, she sort of laughed (in a friendly way) and asked how she could help.  I asked to use her phone to call 911.  She asked “shouldn’t you call your apartment complex?”  I explained that they were closed on Sundays and I couldn’t afford to wait around for the emergency maintenance staff to respond to my challenge.

So she let me call 911 and fortunately the officer I spoke with was nice but quickly explained that locking myself out of my apartment did not constitute an emergency.  She suggested like Margaret to call my apartment’s emergency maintenance line for help.
That’s not the answer I was looking for however what choice did I have since she wasn’t going to help.  Then Margaret was kind enough to look up my apartment’s number on her cell phone and allowed me to call them.  Remember, I didn’t have my phone with me.

To my surprise and relief, an actual human answered the phone.  In my past experience before the days of submitting maintenance request online, I was used to having to leave a voice message.  I had never experienced an emergency and didn’t realize that there is always someone there to take your call.  After explaining my silly yet serious situation, she put me on hold to track down the maintenance man on call who was working at a different property.

After a few minutes she came back on the line saying that help was on the way and for me to wait at the back door of the fitness center.  I thanked her and hung up and then profusely thanked Margaret who had been nice enough to let me use her phone.  I told her how much I appreciated her help and said that if the counter wasn’t in the way, I would give her a big hug.  She smiled and promptly walked around from behind the counter and accepted her hug with a “God bless you” whispered in my ear.

I raced out of the store and headed back to my apartment which was literally only a few minutes away.  Margaret had first suggested that I just wait at the fitness center for someone else to come along where I could get in with their help.  I explained that it was not like a commercial gym where there’s practically always someone there.  Our little center has 2 treadmills, 1 elliptical, and 1 universal type piece of equipment where you can do a variety of exercises.  Literally days could go by without someone showing up so this was not a good strategy under the circumstances.

It did occur to me however on the way back that it would be good fortune indeed for someone else to be in the gym.  Once I parked and started walking towards the fitness center, I passed through two of our buildings and finally was able to see from a distance both the center and the TWO people working out inside.  My heart skipped and I raced up the hill to the back door.  The lady on the treadmill that I had been using was one of my neighbors and once she caught sight of me walking up the sidewalk, she help up my keys.

Creekside Apartments Fitness Center – Located on far right corner.

Now she didn’t have any way of knowing for sure that the keys were mine, but it just made sense.  She met me at the back door and I expressed my extreme gratitude for her being there to help.  I rushed home and called my apartment’s emergency line to have them not send the maintenance guy to help since my dilemma was solved.  After my call to the emergency line, I took a nice hot shower to warm up and wash away the events of the past 60 minutes.  What an emotional roller coaster ride.

Closing thoughts for my readers: 

Much like the closing remarks from Part 1, my biggest personal takeaway is the need to not only be aware of what’s going on around you but to think before acting.  Moving forward I will never go anywhere without my phone…just in case.  Further, I will run a little more cautious to be on guard against making a stupid mistake that could really come back to bite me in the butt.

As for Margaret, I bought two dozen cookies on my way home from the gym the following morning.  Nestle’ Ultimates are the best and their Chocolate Chip Lovers and Turtle Supreme are especially amazing.  I baked both batches and delivered them to Margaret along with a thank you card later that morning.  It was the least I could do after the kindness she showed me.

On a more serious note, this little experience has caused me to look differently at the “Panhandlers” we so often see on the streets in the DFW area and beyond.  I’ve often wondered how they could end up with essentially nothing but what you see in a backpack or duffel bag sitting next to them on the side of the road.  The answer is one poor decision at a time compounded over time.

Please don’t get me wrong.  My heart aches for those people and I routine give them cash when my heart and gut says so.  Just this past week, I gave away my umbrella to a guy standing out in the rain with his little sign.  But in the spirit of accepting responsibility, they are where they are because of poor choices they have made…which should be a wake up call to everyone as to how quickly things can go from good to bad.

My momentary lapse of leaving my keys in the fitness center was actually easily solved and yet it was due to poor thinking and a bad decision to leave without taking my keys.  If there’s a lesson to be learned its to guard your thinking and decision-making process vigilantly because it’s our thinking and the decisions that result that drive the life you live…for better or worse.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise”

Ephesians 5:15

Best of luck in your journey…

Posted in guarding your heart, increased focus, learning from mistakes, personal development, seeking wisdom, the power of associations, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Momentary Lapse of Reason – Part 1

Ever make a snap decision in the spur of the moment, without thinking, that results in severe negative consequences and massive regret?  Let me qualify that these consequences automatically require a complete change in course to deal with the mess you’ve created.  To ignore the situation would be completely illogical regardless of how inconvenient, costly, or embarrassing.

While I’ve certain had more, the following is the first in a short series of the more dramatic events that in the moment left me thinking…”What was I thinking?”

An Early Presentation

On May 22, 2017 I was scheduled to give a presentation at one of my client’s offices.  It was a normal morning in that I was running on time and the meeting was only a few minutes from my home.  I would literally take side streets the whole way not having to venture on any major roads.

My Ford Edge was just across from my apartment under the covered parking area which is my standard as opposed to using the open parking area.  For every two parking spaces, there is a support column that runs from under the roof down into the ground packed in by concrete.  One way or the other, you will have one of these support columns on your back left or right as you pull out.

Parked next to “my pole” exactly as the day my little event occurred.

I had lived at this property for a couple of years and had pulled in and out of the various parking spaces a zillion times.  There is no assigned parking and yet I always park in the same general area.  On this particular morning, the support column was on my back left.  Please understand that our parking spaces are rather skinny so your margin for error in hitting another car or one of the support columns is rather thin.

As I walked out to my car, I casually noticed that there were no cars to my immediate left or right but for some silly reason I completely zoned out on the location of the support column.  After a few minutes of allowing the engine to warm up, I put it in reverse and rather aggressively backed out cutting hard to the right.  The noise that followed was sickening as almost I ripped off my driver’s side mirror as the support column tore into my front left fender just behind the wheel…much like a can opener.

At the Progressive Service Center turning my Edge in to be repaired.

To say that I was shocked would be an understatement.  And that was while I was still sitting in my vehicle.  I never imaged the damage would be as bad as it was until I stepped out to inspect my handiwork.  What an idiot!  In a split second of stupidity, I had crushed my vehicle and nearly snapped the support column in two.  Fortunately it didn’t give in and the roof was saved from coming down on me or any of the other cars.

My first thought was can I still go to my presentation and then deal with the situation afterwards.  Not knowing for sure if my vehicle would even drive normally, I carefully backed out and moved forward ever so slowly.  Fortunately I didn’t hear any bad noises so I opted to head over to my meeting.

I probably never went over 40 miles per hour by the speed limit and yet this was fast enough to hear some scraping noises as my tire was getting into the bent vendor.  I backed off my speed and really tried to take it easy and not do any damage to my tire.  To say that my mind was somewhere else during the presentation would be another understatement.  All went well under the circumstances and yet I was eager to wrap up the meeting and dig into getting my car repaired.

Amazing the damage that occurred in a split second.

My first call was to my good friends at Carrollton Good Year.  James the assistant manager answered the phone and I explained my situation.  They’ve been taking care of me for over ten years so when he laughed at me for my ignorance, I didn’t take it poorly.  It was kind of funny.  Stupid, but funny.  To show the extent of the damage, I sent him a couple of photos.  He was quick to explain that what I needed was a body shop not the services that they offer and referred me to several local businesses for help.

Carrollton Goodyear

Before contacting any of the body shops, I thought it prudent to call Steve Thumann with Thumann Insurance.  He laughed at me too.  It’s okay…he’s been taking care of me for over 20 years.  Steve explained my options which were really simple and off I went to deliver my vehicle to a Progressive Service Center where they would take care of the body work and set me up with a rental.  It was a smooth process and fortunately I was only out the cost of my $500 deductible.

Progressive Insurance Service Center

If there was any silver lining to my experience, I was fortunate to drive a really nice Camry for the two weeks it took to have my Edge repaired.  On Memorial Day, Monday the 29th,  I headed up to Oklahoma City for work and was scheduled to be gone through Friday when my vehicle was due to be ready.

It’s odd to me how the ramifications of our stupid decisions continue to ripple…on and on and on.  The week in Oklahoma went great however Friday was a long day and I was late getting back into the DFW area.  The Progressive office with my car is located in The Colony and I live in the North Dallas area where Addison, Carrollton, and Plano all come together.

As I hit the Dallas city limits coming in from the East on I-20, I had to go all the way to the North Dallas tollway (in rush hour traffic) and then make my way up to The Colony.  To add insult to injury, there was the storm of all storms blowing in from the West.  The sky was black, the wind blowing, the rain coming down sideways, and the thunder and lighting made it all the more intimidating.

Fortunately I hit the Progressive office before the worst hit and was able to pick up my vehicle and get back on the road for home.  What should have taken 30 minutes or so took well over an hour due to the Friday afternoon traffic compounded by the horrific weather.

As fate would have it, I ended up parking next to “my pole” back at my apartment complex.  It had been repaired and repainted during my trip and since my insurance paid for it, I feel it’s only fair to call it”my pole”.  Now there’s not a day that goes by regardless of where I park at my complex that I don’t think of my little incident.  Needless to say I am exceedingly careful with how I back out always fully aware of where the silly support columns are located.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

My first boss as a teenager working at our local country club used to always harp on us to be aware of what was going on around us.  Working on a golf course comes with its potential hazards with one being in the form of the golfers and their little white balls which can be like little missiles from longer ranges.  While I’ve never been hit, I’ve had some close calls.

I’ve never forgotten Dave’s prophetic words and yet I still have my moments where the guard comes down.  All I can say is be careful and pay attention to what’s going on around you.  And further, think before you act.  While the following touches directly on the spoken word, I think it would be safe to say that being “hasty in actions” is equally foolish.

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 29:20

Best of luck in your journey.


Posted in learning from mistakes, seeking wisdom, trials & tribulations, Uncategorized, wise choices | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Phone Call That Changed Everything

My long time mentor, Andy Andrews, started an online coaching club called Unshakable Entrepreneur a year or so ago which has turned out to be a great and positive influence in my life.  Part of the platform includes periodic special “expert” guests where Andy interviews them via Skype.  Once the interview is complete, it’s posted to our member site to view at our convenience.

New York Times Best Selling Author, Andy Andrews

Now there have been some pretty talented guests, but in terms of impacting my life, none can compare with Joe Pici from back in February of 2017.  Joe and Andy were long time friends from years ago where they were affiliated in a direct sales company.  They had gone their separate ways and had lost touch with each other until good fortune brought them back together in late 2016.

Joe Pici

When the interview with Joe was posted, I didn’t actually watch it for several days.  I didn’t know Joe from “Adam” and there was no particular sense of urgency.  When I did watch it, it was so good, I watched again back to back.  Joe is a master salesman and sales tactician.  He’s a specialist when it comes to strategy, branding, value propositions, dealing with different personality types, and bottom line booking business.

At the end of the interview Joe mentioned a free e-book download that he was offering to all of the coaching club members.  I immediately downloaded the e-book and looked forward to learning more from this very interesting man.  Within about 5 minutes of  saving the e-book to my lap top, my phone rang with a number from Florida.  At that time, I was working for a company where my boss was based in Florida and my first thought was that he was calling me from a different number than his cell…which is the norm.

While my mind was expecting my boss, I still answered the phone with my standard greeting for an unidentified number, “This is Kelly”.  Instead of hearing my boss’s familiar voice, I hear “This is Joe Pici, is this a good time?  My mind did a massive double take.  Joe Pici?  You mean the Joe Pici I just listed to for the past hour?  What do I owe the pleasure?  Joe’s response was that he was calling to thank me for downloading his e-book and was just touching base to see if there was anything he could do for me.

Wow!  It was a very surreal moment.  I felt like I was talking to a celebrity of sorts and for him to call me direct, was pretty cool.  We talked at length about Andy’s coaching club and my involvement and then shifted to my career.  At the time I was working as a manufacturers rep where new business development was a big part of my job.  Joe’s a straight shooter to say the least and I shared with him that I was struggling somewhat with the business model I was operating in.

He asked if I had ever had any “formal” sales training and my answer was no.  I’ve read a ton of books, listened to a load of audio books, and watched a zillion videos but never participated in any formal training.  He positioned some resources that he and his wife Dawn offer and I was intrigued.  Then as a next step, he sent a formal proposal with pricing for the event I was most interested in…a 3 day sales boot camp in Orlando, FL coming up in May of 2017.

Once I received the proposal, the investment was doable and from our conversation, I really believed it could help.  One thing I’ve learned is to never make any major decisions, especially when $ is involved without personal prayer and seeking counsel from a few trusted mentors.  Within a few days, I came to the decision to move forward with making the trip to Orlando to train with Joe & Dawn.

As I said before, Joe is a master salesman and he had “sold” me on his boot camp.  If he was just the average executive trainer, I might not have heard from him again until shortly before the boot camp when he promised to send a packet of homework to do in preparation for the event.  But Joe is FAR FROM AVERAGE.

He called me several times a week from the moment I committed to Orlando all the way up to the morning I boarded my plane.  He shared and encouraged and counseled and truly took an interest in me.  And remember, he already had my money.  I had paid in full upfront.  He didn’t have to spend another minute with me on the phone…but he did and my life will never be the same as a result.

Hilton Garden Inn Orlando Airport

I flew in Sunday afternoon and made it to the hotel by about 4PM.  After checking in and getting settled into my room, I went to meet “Joe”.  He was “holding court” with several of the other attendees in the meeting room where we would kick off the next morning.  After three months of countless phone calls, I felt like I already knew him and yet it was great to finally meet in person.  We visited for a bit and then went our separate ways for the evening with Joe heading back to his home in Ocoee, FL.

I’ve always been a morning person and my day starts with Bible study & coffee before heading off to the gym.  Florida was no exception and as I left my room to head to the hotel’s little fitness center, I was surprised to find Joe already in the meeting room that first morning doing what he does…booking business.

We talked each morning, just the two of us, and it was a unique and special time.  It’s not that he was giving me any sort of special treatment.  There was just no one else crazy enough to be up at that time of the morning and I was just thankful for the opportunity to soak in more of his wisdom.

Joe and Dawn Pici

The boot camp was awesome and Joe & Dawn did an amazing job.  They basically tag-teamed us for the three days playing off of each other’s unique strengths.  To save this post from being excessively long, I will just touch on the highlights.  The following are the basic topics covered:

  • Understanding Behavioral Styles & Rapport Mastery
  • Value Propositions
  • Scripting & Phone Skills
  • The Sales Cycle
  • “Live” outbound phone calls (yes really)
  • Lead Generation
  • Priority Management
  • Graduation

The days were long and the info left me feeling like drinking from a fire hose.  We did seriously make outbound live phone calls for about 90 minutes on the morning of the third day.  Joe absolutely walks his talk and makes “many” phones calls every day.  As we  scattered ourselves around the hotel, Joe made his rounds coaching each individual as they “dialed for dollars”.  I managed to book an appointment with a huge opportunity back in Dallas and was shocked with the success.  Let’s just say I used a different methodology than anything I’ve ever used in my previous efforts…and it worked amazingly well.

While I took pages of notes and learned many lessons, I want to highlight the two most impactful for your benefit:

Behavioral Styles & Rapport Mastery:

I had some prior background experience with the DISC personality profile having taken the test years ago and having studied a couple of different resources covering the material.  That all paled in comparison to what I would learn from Joe & Dawn.  They are both certified DISC trainers and offer a separate training course on just DISC alone.

The first critical piece is know who you are and understand your “view” of the world based on your personality blend.  Only then can you effectively deal with others.  The second step is to learn all the different behavioral styles and their various nuances.  This all takes time and practice but it is well worth it and will take your communication skills to a much higher level than you will ever achieve otherwise.

Quite simply, if you don’t understand your style and the “language” the other person speaks, how can you be sure your message is hitting home?  If you don’t understand your style and the other person, you might as well be speaking two different languages to each other because that’s how far off you can miss the mark.  I really can’t overemphasize how big a difference this will make in your life and career regardless of what you do for a living.

Value Propositions:

Many people in sales introduce themselves more by who they are, the company they work for, and their title in general.  Bob Smith, Account Manager, with ABC company is a great example.  Unfortunately when Bob introduces himself as such, it tells little to nothing of the value he offers to his clients.

People are more busy today than ever before thanks to our technologically overloaded world.  In some cases you may only have one shot to make a good connection and you will raise your odds substantially by leading with the value you offer rather than just your name and title.  Honestly, the customer is mostly only interested in how you can help them.  Until you’ve established a significant relationship…which takes time, they really don’t care about you and your company.

It may seem like a small shift, but the impact will be huge.  This is especially true with business development activities like making outbound cold calls.  Your value proposition will always get you much farther than just your name and title.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

If you’re in sales and you’re not selling as much as you would like, then I highly recommend Joe & Dawn.  Their sales boot camp is a game changer.  Further if you have any interest in becoming a speaker or trainer or executive coach, their speaker boot camp is a game changer as well.  Their client coaching list is a literal “Who’s Who” of companies on a national basis, and they have done keynotes literally around the world so they truly live every aspect of what they teach.

Dawn is among the top 10 most followed women on LinkedIn.  She is a LinkedIn specialist and “rock star”!  If you have any doubts about your profile and how to use LinkedIn to build your business, Dawn’s private training is a must.  She uses Skype and will walk you through the process of revamping your profile as needed and then teach you how to leverage the LinkedIn platform to drive your business.

As a Christian, it was refreshing to me to discover how much in alignment Joe & Dawn are with me in our faith.  They are solid people with huge hearts and I can’t thank them enough for the positive impact they’ve had in my life.



Periscope: Monday evenings at 7PM Central time –   Joe Live

Facebook:  Thursday mornings at 9AM Central time – Dawn Live 




Posted in Andy Andrews, boot camp, Christian, Dawn Pici, Faith, Follower of Christ, Joe Pici, personal development, sales, social media, success, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment