self improvement

One More Mailbox

A few summers ago I did some running in my neighborhood. I’d start at my house, run until I hit what I felt was a good halfway point, then turn around and run home. I’d always like to push myself, especially with this big hill I’d run partially up so as I’d start to get to tired, I’d tell myself “just one more mailbox.”

Sometimes that next mailbox was twenty feet away, other times it was fifty. While running an extra mile or two seemed like something out of my reach, certainly I could go another twenty feet. And then when I hit that next mailbox, the next one was only a little farther away so I could repeat that process until my legs started to wobble.

Success is Simple – Just Follow the Instructions

One of the things I’ve learned recently as I’ve started to seriously workout again is that achieving a goal is a lot less complex than we make it out to be. Really, there are three basic steps: set the goal, create the action plan and then follow through with it. As I’m sure you can guess, most people fail on one of the last two steps.

Don’t Be a Matt Foley Speaker

The late Chris Farley was an amazing actor and comedian. It’s a shame that he died so early and so young. One of his more famous roles (and one of my favorites) was Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker. If you’ve never seen the skit on Saturday Night Live, here is a short clip.

The character is interesting because he’s the complete opposite of what most of us think of when we think of motivational speakers. He’s grossly overweight, sloppily dressed, rude to his audience and speaks in a condescending and angry tone. And of course, that’s the point of the character and why it’s funny. You might be surprised, but I’ve seen a number of supposed motivational speakers that fit into one or more of these categories. And in many cases, it lessens the effect of their message on the audience.

A New Direction

Okay, you might have noticed that I haven’t blogged in a while – a long while. Was I too busy? Something bad happened? No ideas for writing? Well, fortunately nothing bad (at least nothing too bad) has happened and I have a lot of ideas for writing. But truthfully, I’ve been really busy with a lot of other things going on my life and I’ve been rethinking a lot of things. I know, sounds heavy but don’t worry – it’s nothing too crazy.

The big change in my life is that I started seriously working out. You may wonder what that means as it can mean practically anything. To me, it means a structured weekly workout programs created with targeted goals in mind. In my case, I have some pretty particular goals for how I want to look and feel so I train seven days a week with a mix of cardio and weights. Today, I just completed day 52 and it feels great.

Judging Others

Have you ever been in a situation where someone is unexpectedly rude to you? Of course you have. And you know that rotten feeling that you get when it happens. You did nothing to provoke it, so why you? Should you be rude back? Is it worth a conflict? Sometimes it’s tempting to lash out in return, but that’s not always a good idea.

A wise older friend once shared with me after such an incident that most of the time when someone blows up at you for seemingly no reason, it’s almost always someone else (including themselves) that they’re mad at. We all handle stress differently. While I do my best to never take out my anger on someone who isn’t responsible, I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve never done that. We all try our best, but sometimes the moment gets the best of us.

How I Got Interested in Public Speaking

When I tell people that one of the things I teach is public speaking, the first thing they typically ask is why. Most of the time, they really mean that they wonder why someone would get interested in that particular topic. So as I explain that I actually get a rush from doing something that most people avoid like the plague, the questions become more serious and I’m asked what interested me in public speaking to begin with and how I got to where I am today.

As a kid, I always enjoyed making people smile and I still feel the same way today. In fact, I’ll often go out of my way to get a laugh out of someone, even if I have to make myself look foolish in the process. When I was in my pre-teen years, I had dreamed of becoming an actor. I tried to convince my parents to move across the country to California so I could become one. That didn’t quite work out so I found other outlets for my creativity. In high school, it was sports.

Watch How You Use Social Media

Social media is by far the great tool ever created for making the world smaller and our personal and professional networks larger. And since everyone is different, people use these tools for different objectives. Some prefer to remain anonymous while they chime in on conversations, while others, seeking stardom, would sell their right kidney to have someone mention their name. Every log in is an adventure with no telling what the next few moments will bring.

The more we use social media the more immersive the experience becomes. I liken it to a late night party when people have started coming out from their shells. In one corner, you might see a guy who’s normally shy retelling a story to a small crowd in an animated way. On the other side, there might be two people trying to outdo each other to prove how wild they are. And on the dance floor, there may be a couple having an intimate kiss acting as if there’s no one around for miles.

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