Friday, June 27, 2014

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #111) - 2014 CSP Class of the National Speakers Association

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

This weekend the National Speakers Association will award 78 people with The CSP ("The Certified Speaking Professional"). Many of the people on the list are people I have come to know over my six years as a member of NSA (I am also one of the 78 receiving this honor).

What is the CSP? The CSP is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform competence. When a speaker earns his or her CSP designation, meeting professionals looking to hire the best of the best see their commitment to the profession, and know they have top-notch speaking ability and a track record of professionalism and success. 

Less than the top 10 percent of speakers earn this credential, which means CSP's are recognized as the best in their field.

The CSP designation is earned through demonstrating competence in professional standards:

  • Platform skills
  • Business management
  • Education
  • Association
The list is below.  Congratulations to all who are part of the 2014 CSP Class (I am honored to be included in such an impressive list).  Those who I know are highlighted in green.
Haydee Antezana, CSP, Benmore, Johannesburg, South Africa
Nanci Appleman-Vassil, CSP, Raleigh, N.C.
David Avrin, CSP, Castle Rock, Colo.
Nancy Bartlett, CSP, Murphy, Texas
Steve Beck, CSP, Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Ty Bennett, CSP, Lehi, Utah
Alan Berg, CSP, Kendall Park, N.J.
Mark Black, CSP, Dieppe, New Brunswick, Canada
Anders Boulanger, CSP, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Sean V. Bradley, CSP, Audubon, N.J.
Peter Brandl, CSP, Lindau, Bavaria, Germany
Roger Brooks, CSP, Renton, Wash.
Leslie Canham, CSP, Copperopolis, Calif.
Donna Cardillo, CSP, RN, Sea Grit, N.J.
Colette Carlson, CSP, MA, San Diego, Calif.
William Conerly, CSP, PhD, Lake Oswego, Ore.
Steve Coscia, CSP, Havertown, Pa.
Roger Courville, CSP, Wood Village, Ore.
Randall Craig, CSP, CFA, MBA, CMC, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Tom Davidson, CSP, King William, Va.
Adrian Davis, CSP, CIP, BPM, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Richard de Hoop, CSP, Weert, Limburg, Netherlands
Myla DeLoatch, CSP, Upper Marlboro, Md.
Mark Eaton, CSP, Park City, Utah
Alan Fine, CSP, Salt Lake City, Utah
Michael Foley, CSP, MA, Minneapolis, Minn.
Sarah Fontenot, CSP, Fredericksburg, Texas
Elaine Froese, CSP, PHEc, CAFA, CHICoach, Manitoba, Canada
Steven Gaffney, CSP, Fairfax, Va.
Richard Gasaway, CSP, Saint Paul, Minn.
Terrie Glass, CSP, Richmond, Va.
Damian Goldvarg, CSP, Los Angeles, Calif.
Rick Goodman, CSP, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Margarita Gurri, CSP, Dania Beach, Fla.
Chandra Hall, CSP, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Gary Hankins, CSP, Oxnard, Calif.
Devin Henderson, CSP, Shawnee, Kan.
Jason Hewlett, CSP, South Jordan, Utah
Mellanie True Hills, CSP, Greenwood, Texas
Mark Hoog, CSP, Fort Collins, Colo.
Karen Hough, CSP, Powell, Ohio
Steve Hughes, CSP, Chesterfield, Mo.
Louise Jakubik, CSP, Philadelphia, Pa.
Mary Kelly, CSP, Denver, Colo.
Sharon King, CSP, Collins Road, Gauteng, South Africa
Jason Kotecki, CSP, Madison, Wis.
Dirk Kreuter, CSP, Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Darren LaCroix, CSP, Las Vegas, Nev.
Dave Lieber, CSP, Keller, Texas
Anna Liotta, CSP, Seattle, Wash.
Heather Lutze, CSP, Parker, Colo.
Kirk Manzo, CSP, Atlanta, Ga.
Damian Mason, CSP, Huntington, Ind.
Andy Masters, CSP, MA, Plantation, Fla.
Patrick Maurer, CSP, San Diego, Calif.
Karl Mecklenburg, CSP, Littleton, Colo.
Kimberly Medlock, CSP, Olive Branch, Miss.
John B. Molidor, CSP, PhD, Haslett, Mich.
David Newman, CSP, Bryn Mawr, Pa.
Cordula Nussbaum, CSP, Sauerlach, Bavaria, Germany
Marquesa Pettway, CSP, DTM, New York, N.Y.
Raymond Phoon, CSP, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Blaine Rada, CSP, Brookfield, Ill.
Sam Richter, CSP, Minnetonka, Minn.
Volker Römermann, CSP, PhD, Hamburg, Germany
Ford Saeks, CSP, Wichita, Kan.
Susan Scanland, CSP, CNP, MSN, Clarks Summit, Pa.
Gabriel Schandl, CSP, Oberndorf, Salzburg, Austria
Stephen Shapiro, CSP, Quincy, Mass.
Marilyn Sherman, CSP, Las Vegas, Nev.
Thom Singer, CSP, Austin, Texas
Suzanne F. Stevens, CSP, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Doug Stevenson, CSP, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Audrey Thomas, CSP, Minneapolis, Minn.
Helen Turnbull, CSP, PhD, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Rory Vaden, CSP, MBA, Nashville, Tenn.
Nadine Vogel, CSP, Mendham, N.J.
Faith Wood, CSP, Airdrie, Alberta, Canada
***This is week #111 of "Cool Things My Friends Do".

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Who Is Challenging You?

Who is challenging you to be the best you can be?  I like to be positively challenged, but find there are few people in the world willing to nudge others to improve.  Some many feel it is not their place, while others are frightened to offend.  It is often that people simply don't care much about what you do.  It takes a soul very secure in their own place to be good at challenging others.

Oh, wait... I don't mean the jerks who will doubt your efforts or point out your flaws.  It is easy to find those who will gladly argue or call you out for being "wrong" (regardless of the facts).  Those who bring drama into our lives are not really looking out for our best interests.  

Few seem to have regular contact with those that are willing to push and pull them forward.  The positive mentors that are unconditionally in our corner who have the ability to guide us around the pitfalls are rare.  I am fortunate to have these types of people (both friends, family and business associates), and I desire their inspiration, fresh ideas, and new points of view.  

Being clear that you are seeking improvement will draw some great people into your life.  The ones that will help you grow the most are also looking for people to assist them along their path.  Do not assume you will find someone who will give to you without you also being a giver.  Purposefully look for meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships.  

Working to improve will also turn some off.  Not everyone understands or respects your journey.  Nor do they want to invest in you.  That is okay.  You cannot make someone be your friend.  Let it go and move your focus to those who care about the whole you. 

All opportunities come from people.  Being engaged with those who challenge you to become more and to reach your potential makes life better and more fun. 

Are you feeling challenged?

Have A Great Day

thom singer 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #110) - Josh Baer and Capital Factory Celebrate 6+2

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

Congratulations to Josh Baer and The Capital Factory in celebrating 6 years in operation plus 2 years in their wonderful facility (6+2).  This week they hosted an very cool reception to mark these milestones and it was a great party filled with some of Austin's most interesting entrepreneurs, programmers, investors, and others who serve the startup community.

The Capital Factory is an amazing organization that was founded by three of my friends, Josh Baer, Bryan Menell, and Sam Decker.  It is an incubator, accelerator, and co-working space for Austin's tech start-ups.  It has become the entrepreneurial center of gravity in Austin, Texas. Located in the heart of downtown, Capital Factory has 50,000 square feet that is booming with startup and entrepreneurial activity. 

The Incubator gives Austin startups a competitive advantage in attracting talent, mentors, press and funding. The tech meetups and hack-a-thons hosted at Capital Factory create a talent pipeline that touches almost every programmer and designer in Austin. It helps create a unique community of access that will benefit all involved for both the short and long term.

Their mentors are the A-list of local entrepreneurs and executives. These people share their experience with new entrepreneurs, and regularly help them find a faster path toward business success.  Press and government officials visiting Austin (including President Obama) stop at Capital Factory to tour the facility and catch the buzz of these startups.  

Josh and his team have created something amazing.  It was fun to be at the 6+2 Celebration Party and to highlight this as week #110 in the "Cool Things My Friends Do" series.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Friday, June 20, 2014

The ABC's of Legal Marketing - Z is the End

There is no end to marketing a legal practice. A career can go in many directions over 40 years, and you can never expect that what got you here will get you to the next level.

You will need to be engaged in positioning yourself throughout your career.  While the exact marketing activities which you participate in will change at different points in your life, it is important that you never ease up on promoting your practice.  Those who continue to have their marketing, networking, and business development activities a priority will have more choices in the future.

Now that you have read "The ABC's of Legal Marketing" we hope that you are inspired to be more active in your efforts to grow and expand your brand and to win more business.  All opportunities come from people, thus you cannot expect to develop your practice from behind your office door.  

Get to work and never stop.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Thom Singer is experienced in legal marketing and business development.  He regularly speaks at law firm retreats inspiring attorneys to embrace their brand and increase their sales.  He also teaches lawyers ways to improve their presentation skills as the firm's secret weapon for business development success.  More information at

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The ABC's of Legal Marketing - Y is for Yes

Most law schools do not teach the importance of marketing, and by skipping this topic they are launching young attorneys into the workplace without all the tools they need to succeed.  Being able to promote and sell your services is a key factor in establishing long-term success in your career.  There are many unknowns and the pressure to succeed can be overwhelming, but not taking action will limit your future.

If you have a yearning to grow an amazing practice, and will not be satisfied with the mediocre, you will need to take ownership of your branding. If you work for a large firm you can hope that other lawyers will provide you with work, but that means you have no control over your future.  You will always have to rely on the marketing efforts of others to ensure you keep you job.  If you work in a small firm, then you have to take an active role in marketing or you will go hungry.  When you view yourself as a good lawyer, watching others cultivate larger books of business will leave you envious of their careers.  The longer you wait on this, the harder it will be to achieve results..

If you have this desire to build your practice then get ready to say "yes" to marketing. This means you embrace the importance of business development activities and make them a priority in your daily routine. 

Marketing is not magic and does not guarantee success. Some people will fail and have to try again and again to establish their reputation. There will be those who will get discouraged and go hide behind their office door and wish that there were other ways to earn a living.  Others may succeed still not be satisfied with the practice of law, however those who have marketed well will have many other business opportunities to go in-house or pursue other non-legal careers if they are well known in their community.  No matter where you career goes, you have to try harder and take chances. Wayne Gretzky said "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take".

A great way to get yourself comfortable with marketing is to surround yourself with other attorneys that are aggressive in managing the growth of their career.  Spend time getting to know others both professionally and socially while observing how they go about raising their visibility will show you the variety of paths to success.  There is no one right answer, but if you are not knowledgeable about what it takes to treat a legal practice as a business, then you will be blindsided by many unknowns.

Contemplate your marketing options, and then take action.  If you know you want a stronger career, just say "Yes".

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

People Have Power

The people with whom you surround yourself make a huge difference in your life.  They influence how you see the world, impact your mood, and help you rise to higher levels of success (or hold you back).   The legendary author and speaker, the late Jim Rohn, had a famous saying:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Mr. Rohn was right.  If you are engulfed by self-doubt, limiting beliefs, and negativity, it can be a result of the input you are receiving from others.  The reverse is true too, as if you are inspired to take action, excited about the future, and positively focused.... you are most likely spending time with the right people.

Fortunately I am connected to some amazing souls.  Family, friends, clients, co-workers, mentors, etc.... all have lead me onto the path of self-improvement.  My wife and kids are the ones I see the most, and they give me a reason to keep working on myself.  I am driven to find ways to improve in my personal and professional life, and usually enjoy tackling my flaws (yeah, sometimes it sucks to admit shortcomings!!)

While people will come and go over time (and that is okay), we live in a world with a variety of communication options, so distance no longer means a lack of contact.  I have active friendships that date back to elementary school, even though I live in a different state than where I grew up.  My family will spend part of our vacation with two other families this summer, and I have known the other dads since kindergarten and 7th grade.  Now our kids are friends.  While I do not see them often, both of these guys have had a positive impact on my life.  I do not recall life without them being my friends, and I cannot think of them without being washed over by good thoughts.

In my speaking career I have the honor to be associated with some incredible giving people through the National Speakers Association. Many members of the association are willing to share their experience, ideas, and best practices.  I doubt I could have had succeeded without the input from so many other speakers. Both nationally and locally I have found encouragement to keep going and am pushed to learn and grow.  I have joined a mastermind group with several other speakers, and each time we meet (in person or via Skype) I feel lifted up.  This group understands the crazy side of the speaking industry.  This business can be confusing and lonely if one does not have "Speaker Buddies" to keep you on track.

(**Note.. no matter what industry you work in, it is a good idea to have friends in the business.  Join and participate in your trade association!)

The exciting part of all this is there are always new people who will come into your life and raise up your "sum total".  With seven billion humans on the planet you have nearly unlimited opportunities to cultivate amazing relationships with cool people.  Not everyone is a good match to be part of your inner circle, but there is always someone out there who can change your world for the better.  Some whom you meet wont like you, or will not be willing to give you the time of day... so what? Move on.  It does not mean they are bad people, they are just not "your people".

But remember this.... to attract the type of people who will raise you up, you need to be a person who does the same for others.  Nobody wants to be pulled down into the mud, so if you are a person who makes people feel lower, they will be happy to get away from your orbit.  Encourage others, praise them, and help them achieve their goals.  If you are always pointing out their flaws, or talking about them behind their back in negative ways, then you cannot expect them to keep coming back for more abuse (or to serve as your champion).

People have power.  They can boost or derail you by just being themselves. Surround yourself with people who are givers, and simultaneously find ways to serve them in their own efforts to find more success.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The ABC's of Legal Marketing - X is for eXpert

When you are known as an expert in your area of practice, you will attract more clients.  When hiring a lawyer people are more confident when your reputation for success is well known.  This is about both "doing good work" and the cultivation of your a reputation and a brand in your business community.  

To become an expert in your legal skills involves considerable effort and you must always be keeping up with the changes that are happening in your field.  The same is true in promoting your expertise.  If you are not working on this, then nobody will know you exist, and you will be passed over for the business. 

Marketing and branding have to be a priority that stands along side your legal knowledge.  If you do not care about your visibility, you will leave future income on the table.  In addition to your successful record of serving your clients, you must intentionally let people know about the work you do so well.  This involves a variety of integrated activities that we have discussed in "The ABC's of Legal Marketing".  If you have read this far (to the letter "X") you have found several ideas that can get you started, but success will not happen overnight.  

Take a close look at the lawyers you admire as "experts" across practice areas.  Beyond the obvious, seek to find the behind the scenes activities they and their firm are engaged to promote themselves. While you cannot always uncover all their efforts, you will discover that it is rare for top reputations to be built by accident. 

Writing, speaking, educating, social media, interviews, networking, advertising, pro-bono service, client alerts, mailings, etc... are all needed to ensure that your excellent legal skills are understood by your clients, prospects, referral sources, and others in your community.  Do not assume people will think of you when you are hiding in your office.

Confidence, not cockiness, is what makes an expert shine.  Never be embarrassed about being an expert.  Some attorneys with amazing skills feel weird about talking about telling their story.  While you do not want to be seen as a bragger, if you are not promoting yourself, remember that nobody else will do it.  You are the product and service that you provide to your clients, and if you are ashamed to admit that you are amazing at what you do, why should anyone select you to represent them?

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cool Things My Friends Do (week #109) - Clint Greenleaf: "Give, Save, Spend with the Three Little Pigs"

My friend Clint Greenleaf is a great entrepreneur with a passion to help others.  In all the years I have known him he consistently has provided me with great advice and a "think bigger" mindset that has encouraged me throughout the journey of my speaking career. 

In addition to being the founder of the highly successful Greenleaf Book Group, Clint also excels in all the roles he plays in life: entrepreneur, speaker, mentor, husband, father, friend, Marine, author, TV pundit, advisor, etc...

Clint recently released a children's book "Give, Save, Spend with the Three Little Pigs".  The book is designed to teach kids what schools do not teach... Basic Finance.   

With the Big Bad Wolf blowing down houses, the Three Little Pigs start a company to build strong homes of brick.  With demand high and sales booming, the Pigs need to figure out what to do with their profits.  One little Pig wants to spend away, another wants to give it away, and the third wants to save it. Based on the give-save-spend-concept, this sequel to the classic fairy tale teaches kids a safe and practical approach to managing money.

This book fits right into my weekly "Cool Things My Friends Do" series (week #109)... as it is very cool.  It is the perfect gift for anyone raising kids and trying to teach them about money.  

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Saturday, June 14, 2014

All Speakers Should Be Motivational Speakers

Motivation gets a bad rap.  Often those who select presenters for conventions and other live gatherings are biased against the term "Motivational Speaker", as over the years Hollywood has connected this label to speakers who are phony or lame.  Remember Chris Farley and his Saturday Night Live skit where he was a failure at life, but was a "Motivational Speaker"? (He lived in a van down by the river).

While there are certainly many awful speakers who have graced the stage over the years, they are not bad because of being motivational, they are simply bad speakers.  Jeff Hurt had a great post the Velvet Chainsaw Mid-course Corrections Blog about the need to train speakers on how to teach.  His piece "Conference Improvement Means People Improvement" began by stating that "The quality of a conference’s education program cannot exceed the quality of its speakers."  He is right.  Speakers set the tone for events. Jeff is an expert on educating people about how great conference education is not just smart people lecturing.  There is more to how people learn than just the content.  Speakers need to learn how to help people learn.  

But learning is not the whole picture either.  If people learn and do nothing we only go part way.  The goal of presentations needs to be to get people to retain the information and then to take action to make improvements in their lives, careers, communities, etc...

Some believe that content is king, and will ignore the public speaking skill level.  But speaking skills do matter.  I believe it is not too much to ask to have presentations that are educational, entertaining, engaging and motivating.  Speakers are not a commodity, and finding the right one for the right audience is a difficult task.  Seasoned meeting planners do not pre-judge the presenters they hire based on titles and pedigrees.  Instead they vet the experience level and the ability to impact an audience, coupled with the relevance of the topic.

There certainly needs to be content and a meaningful message.  However, I can't recall ever seeing a talk where there was not any educational intention. There are levels of content, but all talks I have ever seen have a topic.  Motivation cannot stand alone.  

Not all content is the same, and some topics are more suited for certain audiences. This makes speaker selection one of the most important things that a planner will ever do to ensure a great event.  It is paramount to remember that content is not always "King".... it is more like a "Mayor".  To have success it must be surrounded and supported by a good city counsel.  In a speech this support comes from speaking style, experience, humor (for most topics), research and observations, stories, and motivation.  

If you cringe at the thought of "Motivation", take a minute to ask yourself if it is based on the definition you are applying to the word.  The key question is "What is the opposite of motivation?". What is the answer? (if you have a good one, leave a comment!!!)  De-motivating?  Static?  Sucks the energy out of the room?".  These terms are never the goal for a live event.  But when people are moved to take action on what they have learn, lives can be changed for the better.

Some say "Motivation" is not sustainable, but the World English Dictionary defines the word "Motivation" as:
The process that arouses, sustains and regulates human and animal behavior
If it is done right, sustaining action is part of the definition!

I am not arguing for fluffy talks.  Instead I think you must have the whole package to have a memorable and meaningful conference that has impact on the attendees.  

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections.

Monday, June 09, 2014

The Certified Speaking Professional - Thom Singer, CSP

I am proud to have been awarded the National Speakers Association's professional certification, the CSP.  I will officially receive the certification at the 2014 NSA Annual Convention in San Diego.  

What is the CSP?

The Certified Speaking Professional (the CSP) was established in 1980 and is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform competence. Conferred by the National Speakers Association, it is designed to honor speakers who are recognized for their commitment to the profession. 

Meeting professionals know that those awarded this designation have top-notch speaking ability and a track record of professionalism and success. Only about 10 percent of speakers have earn this credential.

The CSP designation is earned through demonstrating competence in professional standards:

  • Platform skills
  • Business management
  • Education
  • Association
Special Thanks

This designation is NOT just mine, but instead it is shared by the people who have been instrumental in my speaking career:
  • My wife and daughters, who have supported the crazy travel schedule and made many sacrifices that go with starting a solopreneur business.  They have always been right there with me as we have worked to create the business, and they are the purpose of why I work so hard and never waiver from the commitment.
  • Our New Year Publishing business partners, Dave and Leslie Morris, who always believed I could make it as a professional speaker and found ways to help me get the business launched. 
  • My parents (now both passed on) and my three older brothers all get special thanks.... as I talked a lot as a kid.  Yes, A LOT.  They put up with all my stories, anecdotes and tall tales.  Who knew I could turn that into a career? 
  • The over 300 clients, meeting professionals, and others who selected me to serve their audiences over the years.  Without the chance to speak to these amazing audiences, there would be no success in the industry.  
  • The countless friends who offered support, ideas, referrals and the occasional kick in the pants.  All opportunities come from people, and I am fortunate to have some really cool people in my life who challenge me to be a better human.
  • And finally... special thanks to the other members in the National Speakers Association, many of whom have become my friends, mentors, and guides through this crazy business we all love.  So many have shown me the different paths to a career in speaking, I will never be able to repay the generosity of spirit I found in NSA.
It is an honor to be part of the class of 2014.  This year's group of CSP's will be the largest ever.  I am in great company with some people who are legends in the business.  I cannot wait to stand on stage with all of them to receive our medals.  

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Cool Things My Friends Do (Week #108): Jessica Pettitt's TEDx Talk - The Day Everything Changed

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

Jessica Pettitt has been featured before in "Cool Things My Friends Do".  It is always interesting how those who do one cool thing seem to repeat the process of pushing the envelope again  and again.

Jess is a professional speaker who I met through our active involvement in the National Speakers Association.  She has become a special friend and confidant.  She is the type of buddy we all should have, as she is always there to support the people in her life in good times and bad.

Recently Jessica had the opportunity to deliver a TEDx Talk. (Interestingly, the first ever "Cool Things My Friends Do" post was about another friend's TEDx Talk).  I would enjoy the chance to someday speak at a TEDx event, and if I ever have that honor, I hope I can ROCK THE STAGE like Jess did at "TEDx - The Evergreen State College".

Check out the video below.  If you like her message, share it with a friend.

(If you can not see the embedded video, here is the link:

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Monday, June 02, 2014

7 Days To Self Discovery - Video Blog Post

In the ongoing effort toward self-discovery and personal / professional re-invention I participated in a seven day experiment. We can always be learning and growing.  I try to embrace my mistakes, not repeat them, and examine what caused my goofs and stumbles.  I am a work in progress, and I like that.  Nobody is perfect, and by experimenting I find I can take big leaps in my attempts to improve.

Each day this week I tackled eight simple tasks as part of a seven day challenge.  Below is the list of what I did and a short explanation of how it impacted me:

1.  Do a task each day that you know you should do but never seem to get around to (I chose recording and posting a video blog post each day).

2.  Each day list one thing that you are grateful for in your life.

3.  Journal a page a day about what is happening in your personal or professional life.

4.  Every morning answer the question "wouldn't it be wonderful today if ________________ happened?"

5. Refer one person or promote their business in some way.

6. Do a physical workout every day.

7. Meditate or pray in a quiet place for ten minutes each day.

8.  Watch a TED Talk video every day.

9.  Write a handwritten note to someone daily.

This was a great exercise that forced me to think hard about many issues with which I struggle in my personal and professional life. 

Some days it was hard to find the time to do each task (I do have work to do), but by being committed to getting this project done, I was able to succeed completing each task daily.

"Peace" is the word that comes to mind on day seven.  While I cannot say I found an "ah ha" moment that instantly changed my life, the process allowed me to examine some of what I am doing.

Here is my take on each of the nine daily steps:

  • Recording a short video daily was fun.  I was also surprised how many people commented to me throughout the week about the format of talking to the camera while parked in my car.  Many liked it, others I am not sure.... but in the end it got me to talk to the camera (not always in one take) and get more comfortable with the medium.

  • Identifying what I am grateful for made me feel good when I reviewed the whole list (I am a fortunate guy).  My wife and kids lead the list, but I also have amazing friends and family members who love me unconditionally.  The city where we live is vibrant and exciting.  My career is interesting and positively challenging.  And my parents (who are both gone now) were the type of role models I can only hope I am for my kids.

  • Journaling is always a good idea when you face difficulties in your life.  Explaining to yourself how you think and feel about a given situation is paramount to accepting the realities of dealing with "stuff".  The clarity I feel after venting to a notebook is amazing.  Plus, but spilling the gory details to paper I am not burdening others with the drama, confusion, and random worries.

  • Filling in the blank to "wouldn't it be wonderful if___________ happened?" allowed me to dream big for that day and beyond.  I came up with some awesome stuff.  While none of it happened this week, I chose things that could happen in my life.  Dreaming big is important.

  • While I try to refer or promote people all the time - the forced timeline made it difficult, as sometimes I felt that my effort were not really powerful enough.  Tweeting someone's good thing was not enough to feel that I had really had an impact.  This one is difficult, as it is easy to forget to make the people in our lives a priority.

  • Getting to the gym daily was great.  I often can find excuses to not get a workout, and I skip more days than I care admit.  But this week I pushed myself to run a bit farther and feel the burn more intently.  It was all good.

  • Meditation and prayer is something I wish I did more regularly.  Finding the quiet time was difficult, and with so many things going on in a life, it was hard to focus on what one issue I was seeking clarity.  But in the end this was where the feeling of "peace" came from in my head.  Realizing it is all good, and the bumps in my road are only distractions from my goals.  

  • The daily TED Talk video was inspiring.  Oh, how we can all use more true thought leaders in our lives!  Watching these videos on so many topics was powerful.  Sting, Jessica Pettitt, Ray Kurtzweil, Larry Smith, Yves Morieux, Susan Cain, and Michael Porter all have so much to offer.  I want to keep watching more TED talks and feel the vibe of ideas.

  • I liked this one, as I write notes all the time anyway!!!   A few days I had to think about whom to write (as sending a note still needs a purpose).  I discovered there is always someone to whom we should say "Thank You".  While some of these people should have received notes weeks or months ago, there is no statute of limitations on gratitude.
Feel free to use this format for yourself, or adapt it to meet your own situation.  If you try the seven day challenge, let me know how it worked for you.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Performing with Heart and Soul

We all have something special inside of us.  We must let it out and show the world.

Too often people put on a mask and act in a certain way to try and please others, but we really should be working with heart and soul to let the best of our self touch the world.

Have A Great Day

thom singer