What Will You Choose Today?

Professional Speaker/Positive Attitude/Personal Development

I was driving through a small town in Wisconsin and came across this sign.  It was actually painted on the side of a building.  So large, so welcoming, so urgent.

Yes, I said urgent.

It made me feel like I needed to choose positive right now.  Whatever I was doing, it invited me to stop, regroup, and see only the good in life.

After all, isn’t that what it’s all about – making a choice?  And make no mistake about it, you have to make that choice every single day.  So when you crawl out of bed in the morning, what will it be?  Will you spend the day moaning, groaning and complaining?  OR find the good in the challenges you face today.

It’s not always easy.  And sometimes it’s not possible.  Some days – some years – may just be too painful to see any good.  You can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  But be patient, and this too shall pass.  This too will give way to the sunshine.  It may not be exactly what you wanted, but with time, you will come to realize that it is exactly what you needed.

So if a negative thought enters your mind, hit the delete button and replace it with something positive.  Practice this and it will soon become a habit.  After all, life is just easier when you can see the beauty in even your darkest days. 

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development
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Good, Bad or Indifferent – This is My Story

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One day a good friend of mine told me about Michael Kennedy.  She said he writes a blog on people who have started their own business after 50 years old.  And I thought: Hey, that’s me!

So I gave him a call.

What a wonderful person.  He listened to me carefully, asked intriguing questions, and wrote a story that even amazed me.  His unique style and insightful writing makes me want to share it with you, so here it is.  And he even published it in the Huffington Post: http://huff.to/2cm8NKu.

For more information on Michael, please visit his blog at: http://bit.ly/2dgT9kW.

The Nancy Depcik Story

Most definitions of resilience go something like this: the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt to change, and keep going in the face of adversity. Last week I had the distinct pleasure to chat with Nancy Depcik, President/Founder of Unshakable Success™ her very successful, Chicago based, public speaking company. Nancy’s story gave me a whole new appreciation of resilience and should provide plenty of motivation to anyone facing adversity in their lives.

You see, up until the age of sixty, Nancy’s life was going pretty much as planned. She and her husband owned a very successful property management company. She had much to be thankful for.

At the end of 2008 Nancy’s world as she knew it came crashing down. Like so many businesses during the “Great Recession” the company went under. This downward spiral was compounded by a separation from her husband. On her own with no job and significant debt, Nancy remembers her nephew helping her move into a tiny condo. No additional help was required as she only had eleven boxes to move. In order to help make ends meet she found a job in the bridal department at Bloomingdales. She spent the next year doing her best to hold things together financially, ultimately the hill proved too high. In 2010 she was forced to sell her condo and ended up renting a 10′ by 10′ room in the home of a stranger. How do you spell ROCK BOTTOM?

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.- Mahatma Gandhi 

With countless reasons to give up and start blaming the world for her situation, Nancy chose to persevere. I asked Nancy how she made it through what must have been an amazingly difficult period. She said that most importantly she had a group of friends that stood by her throughout her struggles. During this time a number of people suggested that Nancy should check out a local Toastmasters chapter (Non-profit organization developing public speaking and leadership skills through practice and feedback in local clubs since 1924). What seemed like an inconsequential event at the time turned out to be the key to the amazing path that Nancy presently finds herself on.

As an experienced school teacher and then sales and marketing executive, Nancy had done her share of public speaking, but nothing could prepare her for the success she found through Toastmasters. In fact she won her first speaking contest within three months of joining. The combination of very supportive club members combined with early speaking success was a game changer in helping Nancy regain her confidence and self esteem. As most of her speeches were based on her recent journey they also proved to be very cathartic. The more she spoke about her story the more success she had in competitions, the more people she impacted with her positive message of hope, the more she was able to heal.

It was only a few months into her time at Toastmasters when she was approached by a woman and asked if she was available to do her talk at a local library, It would be her first paid speaking engagement. It was at that moment that Nancy realized that not only was public speaking something that brought her joy, but it could be her road back to financial stability.

From those humble new beginnings Nancy, at 67 is now a professional speaker, public speaking coach and workshop facilitator. Audiences are captivated by her engaging style and moved by her message. She has delivered keynote speeches to Fortune 500 companies, universities, and numerous conferences and she is just getting started.

So what are Nancy’s lessons learned for aspiring 50+ entrepreneurs?

  1. Don’t listen to the naysayers. The most dangerous of these can be the person in the mirror so beware of negative self talk.
  2. You need to surround yourself with people that will support you. True friends who will stick by you regardless of your circumstances.
  3. You will need hard work and patience. There is no shortcut for hard work especially for a solopreneur. It is very unlikely that your business will scale as quickly as you would like so put in the work and be patient with yourself.
  4. There will be many twists and turns along the way. Nancy said she replaced the word scared with curious. She could have never imagined becoming a professional speaker, but was both flexible and fearless enough to follow the dream when opportunity came calling.
  5. Always continue to learn and grow. Take classes, join mastermind groups and continuously network. Become a lifelong learner.

Nancy is at peace with the past and recognizes that she would never have found the amazing life she has today without the struggle that preceded it. One of her greatest joys is the opportunity to chat and provide encouragement to the people who always line up to meet her after her speeches. This is the tangible evidence that her words are making a positive impact on the lives of others.

Nancy Depcik of Unshakable Success™ is a professional speaker and presentation skills coach.  She is dedicated to helping organizations, corporations, and individuals develop a positive attitude, leading them to positive results. For more information, please visit http://nancydepcik.com/

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Speaker
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Lessons Learned From the Big Stage: #3 Extend a Hand

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I learned so many lessons from competing in the International Speech Contest, and I promised to share three with you through my blogs. Well, today it’s time for the third and final insight.

It’s really hard to pick only three. So I know there will be future blogs with more lessons learned, but for now, here it is – the most powerful “aha moment” I had throughout my six month journey to the big stage.

Ready?

Reach out to help others…
Pay it forward…
Turn around to extend a hand…

However you want to phrase it. I’m sure this is nothing new for you. In fact, I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before. But for me, this was the first time I could actually feel it in my soul. The first time that I got chills when I thought about giving back.

I continue to be amazed at the outpouring of support I received. There were so many people, some that I barely knew, who spent their time and energy to help me craft the perfect speech for the contest. They truly wanted me to succeed and would do whatever they could to help me along the way.

So now it’s my turn. To turn around, extend my hand, and pull others up that hill that sometimes seems so steep and so daunting. It’s now my turn to pay it forward and offer my expertise, time and energy to do what I can to make someone else’s life a little easier.

And I have to admit, it’s a good feeling. It almost feels like there’s a wave rising up inside of me, waiting to burst forth simply for the pure joy of giving.

I really wanted to end this blog with an inspirational quote that captures the impact of giving back, but I couldn’t find any.  Do you have one you can share?  Think of it as a small way of “giving back.”

 

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
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Lessons Learned From the Big Stage: #2 Stop Tearing Your Hair Out!

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Lesson #2 from competing in the International Speech Contest: How do I gain control and prepare for something when I don’t even know who’s judging me?

That’s what I had to figure out as I made my way to the big stage of the International Speech Contest. You see, in this event, there are international judges who will decide if I am good enough to be given the title of the Best Speaker in the World. They had all the power. So how was I going to prepare my speech to impress them and make them pick me?

I was driving myself crazy!!!

How do I dress? What words will impress them?? How can I make them sit up and notice me over the 97 other speakers competing???

Then hit me….I can’t control them. So why am I beating my head against the wall? Why am I focusing on the things I can’t control?

So I took a deep breath, and little by little, I began to take the steps that would lead me to being my own champion. I picked the outfit that I was comfortable in; I wrote the speech that I wanted to share with my audience; and I made sure that I was a winner in my own eyes. Then I practiced, and practiced, and practiced some more with the speech that came from my heart. When I walked off that stage after the contest, I knew I had done it my way, win or lose.

And isn’t that all we can ever do??? Just take a deep breath and focus on the things we can control. The rest is up to fate, or whatever you want to call it. Whether we are preparing for one of the biggest events of our life, or simply trying to get through the day, take one step at a time. Some days, maybe only a baby step. But you are in control and you keep moving forward. You choose the best path for today. And in the end, it doesn’t matter what others think. In the end, you are the only judge that matters.

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