Monday, July 27, 2015

Diligence Is Key To Re-invention

40 Tips To Re-Invent and Re-Launch at Age 40, 50, or Beyond. (Tip #13)

When seeking to re-invent yourself you have to be diligent in your transformational work. Life gets busy and we can easily fall into our old patterns.  Simply declaring change does not make it real.  You have to take consistent actions.

I am working on this in my own life.  I am trying to get past my previous short comings and learn from my mistakes, but it is hard to get away from the scripts that we have lived by in the past, and the expectations that others have for us.  When my schedule become crazy-busy I can see myself not living up to the plans for self-improvement.

Change can be lonely.  Those around us are either indifferent, unaware, or secretly skeptical of our efforts.  This is where personal spirituality can be important.  Regardless of if you are religious, many identify as "spiritual", and this can be key.  Your higher-power or connection to nature can be very helpful in these times of doubt and struggle in your re-invention.

Meditation, prayer, or quiet time in a peaceful place on a regular basis will help you get in touch with your own motivation for the new directions you seek.  Remind yourself of the reason you want to re-launch and assess your progress often. 

Journaling is an activity that seems to be cathartic.  I am not one to do this regularly, but this blog and my podcast fill this role.  Getting your thoughts and goals on paper or recorded can help you view them as tangible.

Schedule time to review your progress.  If you slip back into your former self and are not calendared to take stock of your changes then too much time can pass before you realize you are off your path.  A weekly appointment with your self is a great way to take stock of how you are doing.  More often might be better.

Being diligent is something I struggle with in my own journey.  I am often taking two steps forward and one step back.  The good news is that still means I am making progress.  

As I approach my 50th birthday I am feeling the need for proof that my life is improving and that I am living a more impactful existence. I know how isolating this can be, which is why I invite other pilgrims on a similar journey to reach out to me and share your own story.  If you email me, I will write you back (thom at  I am confident that when we know others share our desires, it makes it easier to go for it.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #132) - Gary Rifkin wins the Cavett Award

Each week on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their personal and professional lives.

The sealed envelope was opened and a name was read. The moment of anticipation and silence was broken with a huge cheer from the crowd of 1700 members of the National Speakers Association. Everyone in the Marriott ballroom jumped to their feet in applause and fits pumps. 

Gary Rifkin had been  named the recipient of the 2015 Cavett Award, and nobody could think of a more deserving person to have this moment.

The Cavett Award is the highest honor the National Speakers Association bestows on its members. It is presented annually to a professional speaker whose accomplishments over the years have reflected outstanding credit, respect, honor and admiration on NSA and the speaking profession.

Gary Rifkin has been involved in the training and speaking business since 1987, when he began as a popular speaker at major colleges and universities. He has since catapulted into some of the most recognized and respected organizations in the world.  Gary is one of those people who showers love on the people around him.  He works hard behind the scenes to make others look awesome, and in my time as a member of NSA he has become one of those people who you always want to see at convention, because he makes you feel better just by being in the room.

Congratulations to Gary for receiving this honor, and I am thrilled to feature him on week #132 of Cool Things My Friends Do.  

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Monday, July 13, 2015

Be A Resource and Help Others Succeed

40 Tips To Re-Invent and Re-Launch at Age 40, 50, or Beyond. (Tip #12)

In an effort to re-start your journey, it is a good idea to be a resource and to help others who are trying to find their own success.  Being self-focused with your time might seem like the best way to achieve the fast path to your new career or life, but often the opposite is true.  Those who put their own needs in front of everything and everyone else tend to be the most frustrated.

Zig Ziglar said "you can have everything you want in life if you just help others get what they want".  And he was right.  Those who are givers tend to get more than they ever imagined.  Over time the more I actively worked to promote others, the more people came out of the wood work and did things to help me grow my business.  Sometimes it was the people I helped, but more often it was someone else.  The real givers are tired of takers, so they are always watching and observing who they can assist that is a proven giver.

Our social media crazy world has led to a society of narcissistic behaviors, and it often appears that those getting all the attention, opportunities, money, and success are the most avid promoters of personal interests.  While this might seem true, we do not always get to see the whole picture.  Those who are really finding the highest levels of success; professionally, personally, and spiritually are the people not just in it for their own victories.  While some people are selfish jerks, my experience is the real winners are often the first to help others, often before they reach the top of their own mountains.

It can be hard to get past the obsession with self when you are working to grow a career and build a life.  But serving others takes a lot less time than you think.  Sometimes it is as simple as a few kind words that make another person feel they are significant in their work.  In less than six seconds you can make another person's whole day brighter by complimenting their work and telling others about their efforts.  

If your social media stream is only information about you, your business, and promoting things that are personal for your success, then you can rest assured that this is how you are most likely living your life.  Take the time to re-tweet others, promote their cause, and you will find yourself receiving more help in your own journey.

Be a resource to others, and you will find you are not alone in your own path.  People want to do business with people they know, like and trust.  The fastest way to being known is to help them with what is most important to them. Like and trust will come along, but getting noticed is best done by serving others. 

Additionally, when you are having a rough day in your own business, it feels good to help another person succeed in theirs.  It takes so little to share your spotlight with others by promoting them.  And the by-product is they might just promote you in return (and we all want that).

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Being a Hybrid Event Host

The National Speakers Association Annual Convention, "Influence 2015", is July 18-22, 2015 in Washington DC.  This year the event will be a Hybrid Meeting, meaning those who cannot make the trip to our nation's capital can view the whole conference remotely through an online simulcast.

I have the honor of being one of the co-hosts / master of ceremonies for the online version of the conference, along with the amazing Eliz Greene.  Last year Eliz hosted the broadcast of the convention, and did an awesome job in sharing information with the remote audience, interviewing the speakers and other VIPs, and keeping the online experience engaging.  I am excited to join her this year as a Hybrid Event Emcee and to work with the team at Digitell, who is producing the simulcast.

(Check out this article on the Digitell website about Eliz).

Move over Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie - there is a new anchor team in town that will rock the NSA Convention.

If you are a speaker, or someone interested in the speaking business, and will not be in Washington DC for the event, I encourage you to sign up for the LiveStream (only $199 for more than 20 hours of content, including many of the main stage keynotes, selected breakouts, and compelling interviews -- worth every penny, as there will be awesome learning opportunities).

The excitement level for me is high. As a speaker, professional master of ceremonies and podcast host I get to combine all my talents into this role of being the Hybrid Event EmCee.  

This is a role I am adding to my "Conference Catalyst" program, as many more of my clients are simulcasting their conferences.  The key is get the remote audience engaged, as too often people viewing a conference at home feel like outsiders to the live event.  The key job for Eliz and myself is to make this experience special for those watching on their digital devices.  And we will.

*** Side note (with a smile) -- This takes me back to my high school days when I was an anchor man on the Arcadia High School Apache News my senior year (our twice a week homeroom television news program).  Who knew that was just training me for the internet world of the future and conference simulcasts!!!

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Monday, July 06, 2015

Failure Is Part of the Journey

40 Tips To Re-Invent and Re-Launch at Age 40, 50, or Beyond. (Tip #11)

The world is ready for you to start fresh.  But are you?  Some people get scared of failure, and thus they fail to take the actions needed to start the process to re-invent.  Change is possible, but it might come with some mistakes made along the way.

In fact you can count on stumbles. The most successful people I know have all blown it on occasion.  But they did not define themselves by the mistakes, instead they got up and tried again (and again, and again, etc...)

My advice is to not be scared of failing.  Expect it and embrace the bumbles as learning experiences.  As I review the past 6+ years of working for myself I experienced some great business successes, but I have also flubbed up more times than I care to admit. Yet without saying or doing the wrong things from time to time I could not learn how to behave in successful ways that will bring me to the next level.

Failure is part of the journey.  I have some entrepreneur friends who will sit around over a glass of wine and talk about their biggest bombs.  While it is hard to tell your friends where you came up short, once you say it out loud it is no longer haunting you in your soul. Having a safe nest of friends who will not only listen but help you find the lessons in screwing up can be a great way to double the knowledge you can gain (from your failures and theirs).

When was the last time you made a big blunder?  Have you buried it away or have you learned from it?  Does it cause shame or pride when you think about it?  I challenge you to move the mistake to the pride column (as long as you have made the adjustments necessary not to repeat it).

Honestly, this is easier said than done, as our society is full of those who are judgmental and who seek to make less of those who fail.  Get away from these thoughts and seek out stories of those who failed along the way toward success.  Harvey Mackay (one of my favorite business writers) wrote a New York Times Best Selling book in 2004 called "We Got Fired...and it's the best thing that ever happened to us".  In this book he profiled some awesome examples of success and highlighted the failures that had occurred that led them to later being ready to achieve.  Muhammad Ali, Bill Belichick, Michael Bloomberg, Lou Holtz, Larry King, Joe Torre, Jesse Ventura, and others are all profiled in the book.  

Get over yourself and realize that we all are human.  

Wanna talk about failure?  Email me anytime.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #131) - Beth Ziesenis and Nerd Know-How

Each week on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their personal and professional lives.

Beth Ziesenis released her new book - "Nerd Know-How: the 27 Best Apps for Work and How to Use Them".

Beth is an awesome friend and a fellow speaker.  She has that "givers heart" that we all aspire to, but few attain. She is fast to refer friends to her clients, and always talks up people's talents.  That is why it is great to have her as week #131 on "Cool Things My Friends Do".  (She was also featured on week #124 when she ran a KickStarter Campaign to fund the production of this book).

Beth is known professionally as "Your Nerdy Best Friend" and she delivers talks to associations and others about the coolest apps on the market today for business. As a technology expert she presents all over the country about the best free and bargain apps and online resources that will help you Release YOUR Inner Nerd to become more organized, efficient and awesome at work and home.

Check out her book, and find out more at

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #130): Jason Kotecki - Penguins Can't Fly

Each week on this blog I enjoy highlighting some of the cool things my friends do in their personal and professional lives.

Today my friend Jason Kotecki's releases his new book: Penguins Can't Fly: +39 Other Rules That Don't Exist.  That is always a cool thing, and I am excited to feature him on week #130 of "Cool Things My Friends Do".
Life is supposed to be fun. We knew this instinctively as kids, but somehow forgot on the way to adulthood. We got busy and overwhelmed, started valuing things that don't matter, and learned to follow the rules that don't even exist:
  • hate mondays
  • only celebrate when the calendar gives you permission
  • don't make a mess
  • don't play hooky
  • hide your weirdness
  • hide your wrinkles
  • care what other people think

Following these so-called rules is a terrific way to stress you out, sap your energy, and ensure a boring life. But there's a better way. In his enlightening book, author and artist Jason Kotecki uncovers some of the most useless rules so you can shift perspective and start seeing the world with wonder once again.
Jason says: It's time to stop living by someone else's rules. Your life is a story, and a short one at that. Make it a good one.

Jason Kotecki is an artist, speaker and author of several books,

Besides making art that inspires and delights people all over the world, Jason is an engaging professional speaker. He empowers organizations and individuals to restore balance, prevent burnout, and achieve new levels of productivity and innovation with real-world strategies that tap into the timeless wisdom of childhood.

Jason and his wife, Kim (a former kindergarten teacher), are the dynamic duo behind Escape Adulthood and founders of the Cure Adultitis Institute. In their crusade to annihilate Adultitis, they inspire and encourage people to design lives with less stress and more fun.

Jason is a Batman fan, Star Wars watcher, retro t-shirt wearer, avid eater of sugar-laden cereal, and father of three kids. He lives with his family in picturesque Madison, Wisconsin, where they enjoy long walks by the lake and eat way too many cheese curds.

Learn more at

Jason was also a recent guest on my podcast "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" (Episode #80).

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Monday, June 15, 2015

National Convention: Hang with hometown friends or meet new people?

National association conferences are a great way to build industry contacts.  I attend many of these events (as a member, speaker, or master of ceremonies), and I have a pet peeve:  Local chapter meet-ups while at the national conference.

Why fly all the way across the country to attend an event and then sit with or have a private dinner with people from your own city?  This is common at association conventions, and often a waste of time and it undermines the potential ROI you can get from the event  While yes, having good local relationships matters, there are other places you can cultivate those relationships.  

On "dinner on your own night" people gather their local chapter pals and go off to a restaurant to dine.  Or during the awards lunch they populate a table with their friends from home.  This is so common it is almost an epidemic. 

When I gripe about this practice I hear the mantra; "It is the only time we can get together".  Ummm, no.  The convention is the only time you can meet people from all over the world who are present.  There are other times in your own city you can meet up with your local peeps.  It is a choice.    

Life is all about choices and words such as "only time" are neither true nor helpful.  It gives people the excuse to not network with others, and makes many feel obligated to attend.  Some say it helps bond their friendships with local colleagues, but if that was really a priority you could make it happen several times a year.  Yes, yes, everyone is "busy".... but lately the word busy has become the accepted hall pass to justify any behavior.  Ask yourself, is the "busy" label real or an excuse?

I recently talked about this from stage at a conference.  Several people came up and said "Thank You", as they feel obligated to go to dinner when their chapter president makes the invite.  They do not want to appear rude, so they go along with the crowd.  Others did not like my rant, as they said they are more introverted and don't want to meet new people.  OKAY... that is real.  And acceptable.  If this is the reason, say it out loud and let those who want to mingle be free to go elsewhere.

I am a long-time member of the National Speakers Association.  My friends from the Austin Chapter always organize a night out together at the annual convention. I always say "No", and tell them why (this point of view gets re-stated each year).  Many of my local friends have a different opinion, and I respect their right to go dine together (and they accept my going off with others).  I am only at this convention once a year, and each night's activities are a chance to establish connections with people from outside my hometown.

What do you think?

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Be Brave When Starting New

40 Tips To Re-Invent and Re-Launch at Age 40, 50, or Beyond. (Tip #10)

Re-inventing your career and life takes courage.  There are so many stumbling blocks that can undermine confidence when we recreate our livelihoods that many get sent back to their comfort zones and never even attempt the thing they desire.  

Be brave.

Bravery is necessary to push forward in the face of the unknown, and throughout human history we have seen great advancements achieved by those who took risk and did not let fear undermine their journey.  My maternal grandfather took his four younger siblings from Ireland to America after his parents died.  He was 16 years old.  I think of his voyage sometimes and cannot comprehend what he must have felt to be in charge of relocating a family that included a four year old sister.  I am sure it was overwhelming, and yet he made it and they all grew up and created their lives in America.  

Fear of what bad things might happen can paralyze you and keep you from taking the steps necessary to move toward your goals.  While thinking about the downside and pitfalls is important (you do not want to be surprised by real problems that pop up along the way), they are not where you should focus your attention.  Place your attention on the best case of all realistic outcomes and work toward reaching that target.

When you board a plane in Los Angeles headed for Honolulu you want your pilot to be thinking about landing safely in Hawaii.  While many things can go wrong (and being prepared for emergencies is important for the flight crew), they manage the trip with the best possible outcome in mind: a safe landing at the destination.

If you are leaving a career and pursuing a new vocation, it can be hard to gain the knowledge, and even harder to develop the skills necessary to earn a living.  Do not let "hard" stop you from going for your dreams.  Have faith in yourself and then work diligently through all the ups and downs.  

When you make a decision, push forward and bravely take action.  Letting trepidation ooze into your field of vision will make you tentative.  It is the decisive who reach the top of a mountain. Just do it. 

This does not mean to be brave in the face of facts that tell of a lost cause.  Sometimes you have to change course or walk away.  You must always be realistic about the situation at hand, but do not let your imagination or the chance of failure knock the foundation of success out from under you before you even get going.

I have not always been as brave as I should have been and that leaves me feeling sad.  When I look at the very few regrets I have in my life it is never the things I tried for (and failed) that cause disappointmen.  It is the times that I was not brave and did not even try to achieve my dreams that makes me feeling small.  

Trying and failing is a good thing, but not trying to achieve what your heart desires is the biggest mistake one can make.  I say "go for it", and be brave.  Make smart choices, and adjust course if you must.  To swing and miss is better than to forever say "what if".

Have A Great Day

thom singer