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.

 

Resources:

www.piciandpici.com

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

What’s in a Name?

Ask the average person how well they do at remembering names and most will readily admit that they’re horrible at it.  Personally I’ve heard countless people in my life say they’re terrible at remembering names.  On the other hand, I don’t ever recall someone saying “Oh, I’m excellent at remembering names.”  And that’s too bad…because there is tremendous power in a person’s name.

One of the timeless principles from the classic book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is that you can win more friends by being interested in others rather than trying to get them interested in you.  At the heart of this message lies the idea of taking the time to remember people’s names.

“Remember that a persons’ name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language”

Dale Carnegie

Fortunately I learned many years ago to be intentional with remembering names.  There are times when I’m more on my game than others however it’s always in the back of mind to learn and then use people’s names.

I moved into my current apartment a couple of years ago.  For the first few months I continued to use my old dry cleaners even though with my move they were no longer  conveniently located.  At some point, it became obvious that I needed to venture out and try a new cleaners closer to my new home.

4520 Frankford Rd # 700, Dallas, TX 75287

Without putting much thought into it, I simply picked one at random located just a few minutes from my home.  They were not the closest, but easy to get to and their store looked nice from the outside.  The first day I walked in, “Maxie” was quick to greet me in her unique and most elegant South African accent.  As a fellow golfer and dog lover, we hit it off immediately.

My typical day to go to the cleaners is Saturday where I usually see Maxie.  At times I will pop in during the week and there have been a variety of people there besides Maxie.  It’s been such a revolving door that I’ve never seen anyone in particular enough to learn their names.  Recently a new little lady started and has been working enough that she has learned my name.

Now there’s no way I’m going to let someone call me by name and me not know theirs.  So I asked her for her name and she replied back “Mumtaz”.  Just to be sure, I asked her to spell it and also where she was from.  India was her reply and I said “Wow!”  I further asked how long she had been in the United States and what brought her here in the first place.  It was obvious that she was really touched that I took such an interest.

Over the years my best trick for remembering names has been to write them down in a journal.  Now with my handy smart phone, I just made a note with her name which would make it all the more easy as I always have my phone with me.

Today when I stopped in to drop off my clothes, Maxie and Mumtaz were both there and I greeted them by name.  Mumtaz actually ended up waiting on me and when I used her name again, she actually thanked me for remembering her.  It seems like such a small thing and yet to the other person, the sound of their name on your lips is music to their ears.

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

William James

As I left the store, it really hit me how much people appreciate being remembered.  Now you might be thinking, well that sounds great, but I’m not good at remember names.
In my experience, you can do anything you put your mind to and make a priority in your life.  If I were to pay you $500 for every new name you learned, do you think your memory would improve?

Leadership Expert, John C. Maxwell

Now it may not be practical to think you could ever be paid $500 a head for remembering people’s names…or is it?  John Maxwell was the pastor of Skyline church in La Mesa, CA from 1981 – 1995 and grew the church from roughly 1100 members to 3000 members.  One of John’s secrets to adding value to his congregation was to study the member list including pictures so that he could call people by name each Sunday.

Skyline Church, La Mesa, CA

According to Mother Google, in 2012 John had sold in his career over 20,000,000 books and the number is much higher today.  John is also one of the highest paid speakers on the planet traveling around the globe to impact the lives of others.  His coaching organization for training leaders is the largest in the world with a truly international footprint and impact.

You do the math.  I think John’s practice of memorizing his members back at Skyline all those years ago has more than paid off.  It’s not the reason for his phenomenal success, but certainly the practice he made to intentionally invest into people has reaped huge rewards.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

You may have no desire to “dent the universe” the way John Maxwell has and that really doesn’t matter.  Your influence is far greater that you can ever imagine.  Study the lives of great men and women and consider in many cases their humble origins and you will be encouraged that you really can make a difference.

If in the past you would label yourself as someone who has struggled with remembering names, first start by erasing that idea from your mind.  You are not a slave to your past.  You can take new steps today to make all of your tomorrows different.

It really starts with intention, followed by a commitment and discipline to follow through.  You might initially shoot to learn just one new name per day…then two…and who knows how far you can go and what a difference it will make in other people’s lives…and yours.

 

Posted in Dales Carnegie, John Maxwell, leadership, personal development, Uncategorized, Williams James | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

At Some Point, We All Need a Little Help

How often do you hear someone say “I know what I should be doing, I’m just not doing it”. The simplicity of their statement implies that the behavior they’re seeking is like turning a light on and off.  The reality may not be that simple.  Stronger forces are likely at work all tied to the incredible power of habits.

I first heard the following short story from my mentor Darren Hardy on habits and their power to rule our lives.

There was a wise old man walking in the woods with his young apprentice.  He asked the young man to pull up a small seedling only a few inches tall.  The boy easily followed his instructions and they continued their walk.

 

Next the old man asked his young apprentice to pull up a small sapling about four feet tall and with some considerable effort, he was able to do so.

 

Finally, they approached a full-grown oak where the young apprentice could barely see the top and the wise old man asked him to pull it up.  He looked back at his master in disbelief and said there’s no possible way without some help.

And “help” is the operative word.  Habits can become so deeply ingrained that they become like steel cables where there’s very little chance of breaking them…without some help.  According to the Harvard Business Review, 40% to 45% of our daily actions are automatically governed by habit…for better or worse.

So for example, when someone who struggles with their weight says they know what they should be eating but they’re simply not doing it.  It’s true that they may know what to eat.
The challenge is that they don’t understand the “why” behind their eating habits.  That’s where help is needed to bridge the gap of understanding leading to better compliance and ultimately a more healthy diet.

For someone who struggles with food, a personal trainer or dietitian or even psychologist may be helpful.  For a struggling business executive, a personal coach could be a huge benefit.  Whatever your challenge, there is a source of help that could make all the difference in you overcoming your struggle.  From professional counsel to something as simple as an accountability partner or even a book, help can come in a variety of forms.

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”

Albert Einstein

Here’s what I know.  When you’re seeking to get rid of a bad habit, it will take work.  The best way to overcome a bad habit is to replace it with something new and positive.  You can’t just stop a given activity and not fill the void.  Nature abhors a vacuum and so the best strategy is to plug-in the new to replace the old.

Let me repeat, this will take work.  To borrow from our story above, depending on the size of your personal “tree”, it could take a considerable effort to overcome the chains of your negative habit.  There’s a widely held belief that 21 days is the magical time frame to turn a new positive activity into a habit.  In some cases, this can be true.  However when dealing with habits entrenched over a period of years, it could literally take hundreds of repetitions of the new to replace the old.

There’s another common belief that says for someone to truly change, they must hit rock bottom.  From a very recent personal experience, I can tell you this is simply not true. According to my life long mentor, Andy Andrews, there are only two elements needed for true and lasting change and hitting rock bottom is not one of them.

The first element is “Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”.  I recently had some major dental work done that was also extremely expensive.  I didn’t ask my dentist prior to the procedure about whether chewing gum would be an option afterwards.  Two trips and 11 hours of dental work later, the question came up regarding my fetish for gum chewing.

He said, “Well, you can, but you run the risk of messing up what we just did”.  Did I mention that the procedure was 11 hours of rather painful work spread over two days and that it was very expensive?  Based on his comment, it wasn’t even a question.  If there was even a 1% chance of me messing up my dental work, that was all the proof I needed to hear.  So…no more gum chewing for me.  Can you say “Hello Sugar free Life Savers”?

The second element is “What’s in it For Me”.  Well this was pretty simple and hitting rock bottom had nothing to do with it.  I want to do everything possible to protect the investment I just made and giving up gum was a super simple decision under the circumstances.

If you’re not into chewing gum, this may not seem like a big deal.  I on the other hand have not gone a day without chewing gum since college…and that was a long time ago.  Never in a million years prior to my dental work would I have considered giving it up, but in a moment, when the circumstances changed, it was nothing to start a new direction…gum free.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

So what negative habit would you like to replace?  Once identified, what positive habit do you need to put into place to overcome the negative?  Now based on the examples above, you must start small and work towards your goal of implementing the new habit on a regular basis.  The frequency will depend on the habit.

Changing your eating would be a daily goal.  Going to the gym 4 days a week is different and yet the commitment to go is every bit as important based on the frequency you’ve established.

Please don’t get tripped up with being overwhelmed at the potential enormity of what you’re seeking to accomplish.  Just take the first step.  Have an apple instead of the bag of chips.  Drink a bottle of sugar-free flavored water instead of the sugar loaded soft drink.
Commit to going to the gym tomorrow and forget about the rest of the week.  Just get the first workout under your belt and then commit to the next.

Imagine standing at the bottom of a 30 story set of spiral stairs with the goal of reaching the top.  If from the beginning, you focus your attention at the top, it could seem very overwhelming.  If however you focus on reaching the first step, success will come easily. Having reached the first step, the second will come easy as well.  It may take some time, but by focusing on one step at a time, success is virtually guaranteed.  It’s amazing how small “baby” steps can add up.

And for a final mental anchor, once you determine your proof beyond a reasonable doubt, focus all your efforts on your “why” (what’s in it for you) and let that be your beacon and guiding light as you journey towards your personal growth and improvement.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Andy Andrews, Darren Hardy, goal setting, living your dream, personal development, self talk, success, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Honor of My Friend Stephanie

Stephanie Andrus-Jackson and I first met back in the Summer of 2015.  She’s the Assistant Director of Design Services at Texas Women’s University in Denton, TX.  In my role as the manufacturer rep for Workrite Ergonomics in the DFW market, we immediately hit it off and did several small projects together in the following months.  I really felt like the relationship with Stephanie and TWU could be fruitful.

stephanie-i

Stephanie Andrus-Jackson

My boss scheduled a trip to travel with me for a few days in mid October and we were supposed to take Stephanie to lunch.  As we were leaving Exxon’s corporate headquarters in Irving, I received a phone call from Stephanie.  I immediately knew something was wrong but nothing could have prepared me for what she was about to share.

stephanie-ii

She explained that she had been battling Carcinoid Cancer since 2010 and she had just completed another round of treatment.  She further shared that it typically leaves her nauseated and exhausted and that she really didn’t feel up to guest.  Obviously I understood and promised to add her to my prayer list.  That’s when she openly expressed her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ which actually took our relationship to a whole different level.

As we said our goodbyes I turned to my boss to explain the situation.  Talk about a shot of perspective.  Regardless of our struggles in life, it generally doesn’t take much to find someone else going through a far greater challenge.  Stephanie’s journey has put her and her family & friends through pure hell, and I marvel at the grace and poise that she always displays.  Her faith in the Lord is strong and she is faithful to live by her faith as the foundation of each and every day.

Fast forward to the present and Stephanie’s journey since that fateful conversation back in October of 2015 has been quite the roller coaster ride.  In honor of her battle and in an effort to help gain support for her continued fight, I invite you to read the rest of her story by clicking the link below:

Please note that if you wish to offer support to Stephanie’s efforts, you can do so by clicking the “Donate” button beneath her photo.  100% of the donations are going towards her Wellness Campaign.

Stephanie – The Journey

Closing thoughts for my readers:

My mentor the late great Zig Ziglar used to teach on how people often times don’t place enough value on a given day.  His challenge was always that if you don’t think there’s any value in a day…try missing one.  It’s all a matter of perspective.

Knowing Stephanie and witnessing her fight has been one of the greatest influences in my life these past 17 months.  If you have your health, then you are truly blessed.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

 

 

Posted in Carcinoid Cancer, Christian, Faith, Follower of Christ, Uncategorized, Zig Ziglar | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Facing Down Fear

In the past year I’ve written two different blog posts on the idea that we’re always “on stage”.  While not the main focus of this blog, the idea of influencing people when we have no idea the impression is being made strangely weaves its way into the following story.

untitled

Last weekend I attended a leadership event for Pruvit called EPIK in Dallas, TX.
Patrick Sweeney, one of the guest speakers on Saturday, talked about the crippling power of fear to control our lives.  Fear is a terrifying enemy commonly known and yet little understood.  In our society today we are technically safer than ever before and yet the vast majority of people live in fear to the point of it driving and controlling their lives.

Everyone has a fear frontier that creates a barrier few are able to pass through.  Only a small number are able to harness their fears and turn them into the energy needed to break down the barrier of the fear frontier.  The secret to killing fear is to act in spite of it and the two key ingredients are desire and belief.  With desire and belief properly channeled, you can overcome any obstacle.

ps

Patrick Sweeney, Adventurist

It really is unacceptable to live in fear because fear is a lie.  Many have coined the phrase but I will give credit to the late great Zig Ziglar for the following acronym:

F – False
E – Evidence
A – Appearing
R – Real

You must face your fears head on and ultimately you will discover they really have no power over you.  Emerson said it best with:

“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain”

With that intro, let’s transition back to last Saturday.  Patrick Sweeney is an adventurist who has accomplished some amazing feats including scaling most of the world’s tallest mountains, overcoming Leukemia, and his deathly fear of flying by learning to be a competitive stunt pilot.  His story was inspiring and motivating and I took pages of notes. Little did I know of another member in the audience who was equally moved and also took an interest in me.

Sunday morning there was a lengthy line already formed to get in before the doors to the main ballroom were opened at 10AM.  With so many people it was a challenge to find a seat and I ended up sitting next to a very nice lady named Mary from the Houston area. There were literally people from all over the country and world with the farthest being from Australia so meeting a local Texan was pretty cool.

Mary and I immediately hit it off and had a great conversation running between speakers. After the lunch break, she shared something that started the day before that really took me off guard.  Going back to the talk on fear, Patrick asked the audience about our biggest regrets.  Mary shared that one of her biggest fears has been the lack of self confidence in meeting total strangers.  She said she’s really missed out in life because of her lack of personal belief.

Oddly enough, on Saturday she had noticed me across the isle and said it struck her in the heart to go and introduce herself to “me” because she thought I looked important. Ultimately fear got the best of her and she never made any move towards me.  Wow!  I was humbled at the compliment and blown away that it happened again where someone was watching me when I had no clue.

The good Lord definitely has a sense of humor and apparently thought Mary needed a crash course in overcoming her fear of meeting strangers.  What is the likelihood of me sitting next to her on Sunday?  With several thousand in the room, the odds were minuscule and yet we ended up together for the entire day.  I asked why in the world she was intimidated by me and her reply was just my look (professional dress) and air of success.

Fortunately I was able to show how her fears were totally unfounded and it was a great learning experience for us both.  I feel like she took a chink out of fear’s control of her and I was reminded yet again how we are always on stage influencing people even when we have no clue.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

When it comes to facing and overcoming your fears, there’s something to be said for taking bold action.  All the planning and thinking and figuring in the world will do you little good until you take action.  Do your homework and formulate your plan and you will be amazed with the abundance of resources and support that come to you by simply taking action.

You will never perform beyond the level of your belief…so fortify it and move!

Posted in attitude, Entrepreneur, Health & Fitness, ketogenic diet, leadership, living your dream, Nutrition, personal development, Pruvit, success, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s Your Excuse?

The following is the story of how two unlikely individuals provided for a massive shift in perspective on my part and for that I will always be grateful…

On March 4th of this year I had surgery on my right shoulder and biceps.  My rotator cuff had multiple tears and my biceps tendon was on the verge of rupturing.  This has turned out to be the most challenging physical experience I’ve ever gone through in my life.  If I was not an athlete who regularly trains in the gym 5-6 days a week, it wouldn’t have been nearly as big a deal beyond the inconvenience of not having the use of my right arm for the first six weeks post surgery as I was restricted to wearing a sling.

The truth is that I’m a very driven athlete and was back in the gym one week after surgery (don’t tell my doctor).  Oh, I wasn’t lifting with my right arm, but I faithfully did my rehab movements without exception.  Further, the rest of my body worked just fine and I gave my 100% best effort never missing a workout right to the point of writing this post.  Most would say I went far beyond the norm in my efforts to rehab my shoulder and arm all while striving to get back to full strength and for the most part that would be true.

Training only 75% of my body was initially very difficult for two reasons.  The instant atrophy in my right shoulder and arm was rather demoralizing.  And then to think I would have to wait another 12 weeks minimum before starting strength training left me feeling pretty low.  Fortunately I learned to focus on progression with the rest of my training and it helped to block out the fact that my right arm was basically shrinking day by day.

Post Op 2

3 Days After Surgery

The second challenge was the fear of the stress of training around my shoulder and arm actually messing up my surgery.  There were several occasions where I was completely convinced that I had torn apart what my doctor had repaired and would be facing a “re-do”. Google it and you will see that the facts are not encouraging regarding rotator cuff surgery done a second time.  Needless to say, I lived on an emotional roller coaster for pretty much the first 7-8 months post surgery.

With that background I will now share my experience with two individuals that humbled me so greatly that I’m almost ashamed to tell you the following stories.  Ashamed because my surgery and the period that followed was nothing more than an inconvenience and blip on the time line of my life…God willing.  These two however are living with conditions that will never change and I honestly don’t know if I would have the guts to conduct myself as they do in the same circumstances.

The first occurred at the gym which made it all the more impactful for me.  I was working chest and back when this young guy came into the area close to me.  He was dressed in shorts, a t-shirt, athletic shoes, and carried along a water bottle…with his good hand. You see, his left arm was normal, while his right arm and especially his forearm and hand were deformed.  The same was true for his left and right legs…left normal…right deformed.

It really took my breath away when I first took in the enormity of his appearance. When he walked, his right foot would not plant fully on the ground.  He basically walked normal on his left and up on his right toes.  My mind was racing with questions about what he could possibly do in his condition and he promptly showed me by doing a combination  of several different exercises.

While he worked one arm at a time, he did a pretty complete upper body workout of back rows, chest presses, shoulder presses, biceps curls, and triceps extensions.  I’m guessing it helps with his coordination to do one arm at time.  Now granted, he couldn’t hold more than a 5 lb dumbbell in his right hand…but that didn’t stop him from doing the work.

This really struck a nerve with me because after my doctor released me to lift, I started with a 3 lb dumbbell working my way back week after week until now I’m close to full strength 9 months post surgery.  This guy will be stuck with the 5 lb dumbbell for the rest of his life because his gnarled little hand can’t hold any more weight.  I thought I was mentally tough to do what I did knowing that it was only temporary and that my full strength would return.  I can’t imagine how he must feel to know he can never do any more than he was doing.

Like violence displayed on the news, its easy to become desensitized to people with handicaps unless you have someone directly impacting your life.  Watching this little guy struggle through his workout left me feeling deeply convicted for any and every complaint I’ve ever voiced about anything in my life.  The experience gave me a massive shot of perspective when I compared his condition with my own.  It’s so easy to take for granted the ways we are blessed until you have some outside force wake you up with a jolt of an alternate reality.

wheel-chair

Compliments of canstockphoto.com

I’ve been lifting for more than 30 years and while my Faith comes first as THE FOUNDATION of my life, my love for the gym and working out is of huge importance.  It is a passion I can’t imagine doing without and yet as I shared here, there is more to life than having big muscles.  The point to me is that we all have things we’re passionate for in life that we may take for granted when others maybe less fortunate would give anything to possess our skills and abilities.

While I haven’t seen him since that one morning, his image and example will be with me forever.  Never again will I complain about something as insignificant as a bad workout or bad day at work or any other negative circumstance which in the big scheme of things is nothing compared to going through life handicapped.  I have been blessed with abundant good health and athletic ability and it’s my goal to never take these gifts for granted because I know they can be taken away in a heartbeat.

The second experience occurred when I was introduced to a new sales rep at one of the dealers I support in my role as a manufacturer rep.  From his outer appearance, he looked completely normal until I extended my right hand to introduce myself.  He shook my hand with his right and with his left brought a small Electrolarynx to his throat so that he could speak.

electrolarynx

The largely electric voice that was produced really shocked me.  I’ve never known anyone with his condition and still have no idea what actually happened.  I do know from one of his coworkers that the condition is permanent.  He was a super nice guy and we chatted for several minutes before parting ways.  I couldn’t help but feel similar to my experience with the little guy in gym.  It was a humbling and sober reminder of how blessed I’ve been to have good health.

solatone

My job requires me to speak to people daily one on one, in small groups, and sometimes in large gatherings when I do CEU presentations.  This guy is in sales as well so he’s out in the public just like me interacting with other people.  I just don’t know if I could do my job with his condition.  His strength of character must simply be off the charts to have the intestinal fortitude to suck it up each day and do what he must to make a living.  I applaud his efforts as truly remarkable.

It’s so easy to be self focused with all the responsibilities and challenges we have in today’s world. And it’s so critically important to maintain a spirit of gratitude for the good things we have rather than whining about the things we don’t.  One of my favorite quotes from my mentor, Andy Andrews, says:

“It is impossible for the seeds of depression to take root in a grateful heart.”

I work hard to maintain a positive attitude because I know happiness comes from within. It should not be based on outside circumstances.  You should live your life like a thermostat and not a thermometer.  A thermometer reacts to the environment while a thermostat dictates the environment.  And yet this is sometimes easier said than done. None of us are bullet proof to the “sucker punches” that life often throws and sometimes it can be hard to get back up.

The examples I described above were and are great reminders for me for how much I have been blessed.  Further, they motivate me all the more to live with a servant’s heart towards others…and especially those less fortunate.  And finally, they remove any and all excuses that I might have in dealing with the daily responsibilities in all areas of my life.

Closing thoughts for me readers:

One of my life verses that has helped me through many difficult trials is:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

If you ever find yourself feeling down for whatever reason, I have a great suggestion for how to raise your spirits.  First take out a piece of paper and physically write out at least 100 things you have to be grateful for.  This will lift your spirits…guaranteed.  Second, go find someone who’s struggling in life more than you and serve them in some way.  You can’t possibly go through these two exercises without feeling immeasurably better about yourself.

 

Posted in Andy Andrews, attitude, Christian, Faith, Follower of Christ, Health & Fitness, life path, personal development, recovery from injury, rotator cuff injury, shoulder injury, success, torn bicep tendon, Uncategorized, weight training | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment