Five Amazing, Unbelievable, Extraordinary People

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Last week I attended the Toastmasters International Convention.  For those of you who don’t know what Toastmasters is: it’s an organization helping individuals become better communicators and stronger leaders.  Members are encouraged to give speeches to their peers, receive feedback, and become a better listener and communicator in the process: 

This year they held their yearly convention in Chicago, so off I went for four full days to soak up all the inspiration and information my head and heart could hold.  I walked away with many golden nuggets that I will use in my upcoming presentations.  Here is one I’d like to share with you right now.

The keynote speaker, Steve Gilliland, gave a riveting talk asking the audience to think about five people who influenced their life.  As he began to share his own story, he mentioned two people that made a powerful impact on him – his secretary and his teacher.  It really made me think: who has made a profound impact on my life?  Of course, there is the obvious like my father and my husband, but now because of Steve’s stories, I’d like to dig deeper to uncover the other three.  Who else has helped pave the way to get me to where I stand today?

I don’t have the answer yet, but I guarantee I’m going to search my soul for the five people who have influenced me the most, then reach out to them and tell them what an impact they have made.  I want to say: “thank you.” 

And as I am searching for the five most impactful people for my list, I can’t help but wonder: How many lists will I be on???

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Need to Grow a Thicker Skin?

Professional Speaker-Personal Attitude-Positive Attitude

A friend recently asked me: “How do you grow a thicker skin?  How do you keep the little things from bothering you?”

Great question!

Often, when we get feedback we view it as criticism.  It can come in many forms: a snide remark, negative emails or a questionable evaluation at work.  Any one of these can bruise our ego and make us wonder “am I good enough…”

So how can we learn to adapt and roll with the punches?  How do we bounce back and continue with our day?

Here are three simple steps that help me:

  1. Create a “Book About Me.”  Now, don’t roll your eyes at this one.  I know it may be hard to focus on yourself, but this helps immensely in the long run.  Go out today and buy a notebook in your favorite style or color, then begin to fill it with anything and everything you have accomplished over the years.  It could be a photo of your graduation, a certificate you won at the office bake-off or that medal you earned when you completed a marathon.  In my “Book About Me,” pictured on this blog, I have anything relating to my Professional Speaking career.  Then on those days when life gets a little complicated, I leaf through my book.  It’s a great reminder of just how far I’ve come.
  2. Have an honest conversation with yourself and ask yourself what is really bothering you.  Is it something from your past that has resurfaced?  Is there a spark of truth in what the other person said and you just don’t want to face it?  For me, if I can understand WHY I’m feeling hurt, then I can focus on resolving the problem.  Many times, it’s the hurtful comments that have lead me to my greatest accomplishments.
  3. This one is the hardest for me – not everyone is going to like me.  There are people that I will disappoint and I cannot be everything to everyone.  At those times, I take a deep breath and ask:  Have I satisfied the most important person in my life – am I happy with myself?  If the answer is no, then I have to take a hard look at making some changes.  If I can answer yes, then I can rest my head at night, knowing it was a good day.

Give these a tips a try and see if you’re able to let go of the small stuff.  It takes practice.  Just keep trying and know that you are doing the best that you can.

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The All Elusive “Passion”

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

You’ve heard it a million times – Follow your passion! 

But what the heck does that mean?  What is “a passion” – and where do you find one? 

Many years ago I was watching an Oprah show and she talked about a workbook that could help you find your passion.  A workbook that I could buy, and with a little time invested, would help me find my passion and lead me to my happiest life ever.

So, as you can imagine, I bought that workbook as fast as I could.  I’d love to share the title with you if I could remember it, but as you probably already figured out, it led me nowhere.

Here’s what happened.  Every day – every single day – I sat down with a pencil and that book and worked diligently to find my ever elusive “passion.”  I evaluated and read and labored over every single exercise.  Then, when I got to the end, the book stated: “Now that you know what your passion is…”

Wait!  What???  When did I figure that out?  After all this time and work and concentration, I still had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I had no idea what my passion was.  Frustrated and exasperated, I threw the book away.

Now, many years later, I can honestly say that I have found a career that I am passionate about.  Being an Inspirational Speaker has brought me joy greater than I ever imagined.  Are there parts of my job that I’m not that crazy about – absolutely.  But I look forward to getting up each morning and facing the day.

So, if you’re struggling to find your passion, here are a few tips that helped me.  Answer these questions as best you can, and use a pencil, because your path of discovery will constantly change:

  • What are your real interests.  Make a list of what really brings a smile to your face.
  • What is boring to you?  Again with the list – figure out what you dread to do.
  • What do you consider meaningful?  The environment?  Helping people become their best selves?  There are no wrong answer here.  No one, including yourself, is judging you. 

When you can overlap your interests with your purpose, you are on the right track.  Figuring out the answers to the above questions will get you headed in the right direction.  The key is to START.  Now go find that passion!

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Fingers Crossed – This Will Be Me!

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

This story literally made me laugh out loud.  The headline said:

“Disoriented and dazed” – How two elderly men felt after escaping their nursing home and going to a heavy metal festival.

Now I understand this wouldn’t be so amusing if someone got hurt, but in this case, everyone was found and returned home safely and all in one piece.

The age of these gentlemen wasn’t revealed in this article, but I could just picture two elderly men sneaking out of their nursing home, just like teenagers, and finding their way to a heavy metal concert.  It was 3:00am when they were found and they did not want to leave the four-day festival.  How did they get there?  I have no idea.  But I love the fact that they refuse to let their old age stop them from living.  It didn’t matter how old they were – they still wanted to have fun, explore and take a chance.  If you’d like to read more, check this out:

Truly, I hope I’m lucky enough to be this feisty and adventurous and filled with fun for the rest of my days.  I’ve met so many people who say: “I’m too old for that.”  My hope is that those words never cross my lips and that I live every moment in wonder and gratitude and laughter.   I often think of the quote by Rose Tremain:  “Life is not a dress rehearsal.”  We get one chance, so give it your best shot.  Whether it’s biking or knitting or cooking or … heavy metal concerts.

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