Vision Board

Candles and Kindness: Kerri’s Birthday Giving Mission!

My friend Kerri Sellers is a Goddess.

No, this does not mean she is a celestial being with a mailing address somewhere on Mount Olympus.

I’m pretty sure she lives in Massachusetts.

Being a Goddess is actually part of her job title.

Kerri is part of the amazing team of women (Goddesses) and men (Adoni) who populate the Athena’s Home Novelties company, a group of people with HUGE hearts based in America’s tiny state of Rhode Island (led by an amazing force for good, Mother Goddess Jennifer Jolicouer).

They just happen to be my BIGGEST speaking client (every January I lead my “Engaging Your WHY/Vision Board” event for their entire team, nationwide).

For her recent 45th birthday, Kerri opened her heart, and her social media pages (at the urging of her equally-awesome husband Aaron), to create a TIDAL WAVE of kindness, generosity and joy.

She called it #Kerris45Wishes…and it was amazing.

Far from making it all about herself, Kerri spent the day not only committing acts of kindness, but encouraging others to please do so…and post them on her social media pages.

Ideas were flying fast and furious, and I was tremendously honored that she tagged me with an idea I’d given her (which I learned from a grocery checkout clerk): putting quarters on gumball machines as a surprise for kids!

She also left quarters on the pony ride outside the store, and a small baggie of them at the laundromat, just in case someone needed a little extra drying time.

Here’s the most beautiful part of her birthday giving mission: friends and family all across the country were going out and intentionally sharing kindness on her behalf, tagging their posts with #Kerris45Wishes.

It was mind-blowing. It was joyful. And it was very, very REAL.

So many people see things like this happening and are so quick to say: “Kindness should be done anonymously and what she is doing is bragging, and it’s wrong.”

Here’s my view on that response.

The news and media outlets spend most of their days (and ours) sharing stories of the WORST that society has to offer.

I wish they would keep THAT to themselves.

I think it is helpful (and hopeful) to hear the GOOD THINGS that are happening in our communities which are JUST AS REAL as the bad.

Now, when people do these things and trumpet them in the news as a political ploy or to overcome something stupid scandal they caused, just to rebuild their reputations…that is different.

What Kerri did with her birthday was wave her kindness flag high and let it snap in the wind loudly enough for people to hear the battle-cry and take part in the celebration.

I read through many of the posts on her page, people sharing what she had inspired them to do.

They included:

  • a donation to the Red Sox Foundations’s Jimmy Fund
  • adding children’s books to a ‘Little Free Library’
  • giving a ride to someone who needed one
  • buying sidewalk chalk for a favorite neighborhood kid
  • posting a beautiful sunset photo to make a friend smile
  • paying for the lunch of a stranger

So, what simple act of kindness could YOU commit today?

If you really have it in your heart to do so, you can find a way…even ones that cost absolutely nothing (hold a door, call a friend to say hello, make someone smile).

Here’s how I see it: somewhere in the world today, it is somebody’s birthday.

Following Kerri’s lead, we can all commit a little kindness to honor those people.

Remember: the GOOD is just as real as the BAD.

Let’s make the GOOD noise even louder, shall we?

Thank you Kerri!

BONUS VIDEO: Are YOU ‘Priming the Pump’ for kindness, like Kerri is?
CLICK HERE to view.  

Are You Your CLIENTS’ Biggest Fan?

As I continue to chug along through my 12th year as a professional speaker, one thing has remained constant: every time I receive word that a client, or event attendee, has taken something I shared and DONE SOMETHING WITH IT…it absolutely ROCKS my day.

AREYOUYOURsmall

I recently had a conversation with a local musician. While he has not yet made an appearance on any national sales charts, he explained it perfectly: “When you get on that stage, singing and playing your heart out, singing a song that YOU created, and someone comes up to you and tells you how that song inspired them…there is nothing better”.

This morning my day got rocked once again.

A team member from Athena’s Home Novelties (one of my most loyal clients, January 2017 will be our FIFTH Vision Board event together, I love them) tagged me on Facebook to announce that she has just closed the paperwork on her new home. She ended the message with the words ‘CLICK baby CLICK’.

Initially coined by my very cool friend Alyson, those three words have become a mantra shared with all of my Vision Board clients.

That little phrase is a battle cry of awesomeness.

Every time I see or hear it, my first reaction is a fist-pump and shout of “YES!!” here in my recording studio.

Then I respond with a ‘like’, a posted reply or, if I am not on the road, a phone call or personalized video to let that person know how proud I am.

Some people have called me crazy for ‘wasting time’ that should be spent building my business.

My answer to these people: “I am cheering on my clients…I *am* building my business”.

Are you?

Skipping a Pebble Across HOBY Pond…How Far Could the Ripples Go?

When it comes to acts of kindness, I try to stress one major point to my audiences: “We never know how far the ripples go”.

Over the weekend I tried something new.

During a speaking event for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) program, I put a different spin on one of my closing stories. This particular group of two dozen high school freshman were getting their feet wet as part of a Community Leadership Workshop (CleW) as they launch a year-long 100-hour community service mission.

I love this organization.

As I prepared to wrap up, I asked: “Who has a shelter or food pantry in their community which they would like to help?” One of the first hands to go up belonged to a young lady who’d just given a great answer in the previous exercise.

“Can I give you a big challenge?” I asked.

“Sure.”

Drawing a $20 bill and a business card from my pocket, I continued: “Please contact them and see what items they need most, then stretch this money as far as you can. When you gather it up, please take a picture of yourself with all the items and share it on social media with this message: ‘I was given this money and asked to pay it forward and share this picture to see how many more people we can help’. Then please e-mail me the picture.”
“I can do that”, she answered.  RipplePond3

Awesome.
What I did not tell them was that I had been given that money earlier in the week, earmarked for an act of kindness.

This little experiment, paying forward a ‘pay-it-forward’, was a first…and it won’t be the last.

While I was packing up my laptop and projector during their break, the event organizer approached me, saying “Wow, that young lady has already texted her Mom to put together a plan for sharing that money!”

Again…awesome.

As a speaker, my mission is to plant seeds like this with every audience.

I can’t wait to see the picture and hear what she does with the money, and how many more people she affects on her journey into this 100-hour community commitment.

How did I get MY start?

I had coaches, mentors and others who inspired me by sharing a bit of themselves…who asked me to pay it forward.

I hope I’ve honored their wishes.

We never know how far the ripples go.

I’ve just tossed a $20 pebble into HOBY Pond.

I can’t wait to watch the waves.

How many ponds can YOU ripple into this week?

Will Today Be Perfect?

Willtodaybeperfect

Yesterday was a busy one.

   I scripted, shot and produced 4 new videos.

   I fleshed out a new survey to help design a series of Vision Board webinar sessions.

   Tina and I made dinner together.

It was a good day.

Not a perfect day, but a good day.

How do I know the difference?

I realize there are things I could have done better.

   I did not go the gym as I’d intended (my new 4-word mantra: “Man boobs…not sexy”).

   My snack during The Voice was potato chips (even as I saw the oranges on the counter).

   I failed to complete and deliver this week’s e-newsletter.

Not a perfect day…oh well.

How do I fix it? Pretty simple, actually.

Awareness. Decision. Action.

At the end of the day, I took a quick look back, not to beat myself up but to at least identify one or two things I could have done (and will do today) better.

   Got up early this morning and went to the gym.

   Am drinking a fruit smoothie as I type this message (no potato chips).

   This message will be part of this week’s e-newsletter, going out today.

It’s only 8:30am at the time of this writing.

That’s a great start.

Will today be a perfect day?

I doubt it…but it will be better than yesterday, because I care enough about myself, and my speaking career, and my health, and my relationship with Tina (just wrote her a cute little note) to MAKE it a better day.

String enough days of awareness and efforts to improve together, and what do you get?

   A better day than you had yesterday.

   A better life than you might have had, when you look back.

   A better example for those who see you as a leader.

Go ahead, make it a less-than-perfect day.

It’s okay. No need to beat yourself up over it.

You can make it better tomorrow…and the day after that.

Are You Rockin’ the Walls With Your Shower Crayons?

Where do most great ideas happen?

The answers I hear most often are:

1) in the car

2) in the shower

I finally solved my ‘in the car’ challenge by keeping a digital recorder with me at all times. Despite my attempts to remember my brainstorms by scribbling (with my eyes still staring through the windshield) onto my shotgun-ridin’ sticky-note pad, I managed to cause even greater frustration when I reached my destination and could not remember what world problem “GRYZDRF” was supposed to solve.

Yes, I did that.

The shower brings a whole other set of issues.

Unless you’ve invested in the latest waterproof technology, you’re in trouble when that idea strikes like lighting somewhere between the shampoo and conditioner. After all, you can only repeat your brilliance out loud so many times, as stinging bubbles trickle into your eyes, before it begins to sound like gibberish (and the neighbors start banging on the wall).

When I discussed this issue with a coach friend, we began to brainstorm ideas of a ‘Shower-Time Idea Catcher’. Then, just when it sounded like more work than I felt like tackling, I remembered the story (could be urban legend, not sure) about the Cold War Space Race, when the Americans were so fixated on inventing a pen that would write in the zero-gravity conditions of space that the Russians beat us to the punch by sending their astronauts into orbit…with a pencil.

Duh.

Jokingly, I said to my friend: “I wish someone would invent Shower Crayons for adults!”

Another duh.  DollarphotoclubShowerSmall

I am now convinced that the marketing of these colorful, non-toxic wonders was completely off-base.

Instead of doodling dragons on the shower wall, you could map out marketing plans for the upcoming quarter, invent a way to shave 2 days off a shipping order, or strike it rich with a re-branding concept.

Corporations across America could line up a series of portable shower stalls and hand out flip-flops and shower crayons by the dozen until the shouts of “Eureka” echo through the steam.

March is International Ideas Month.

Before your ideas can reach ‘international’ status, they need to actually happen.

And when they do, they need to be recorded before they can be fleshed-out and implemented or wind up on the scrap heap.

Not all ideas or good ideas…but they all deserve a shot.

Are you capturing yours, or dooming them to a brief existence spent swirling around the drain before they float away, forever?

Partly Grainy With a Chance of Splinters!

 As I gear up for the long-awaited (we’re talking lonnnnnng) release of my “Engaging Your WHY / Success Vision” program, I’ve been strategically renovating the recording studio gearing up for a series of webinars to not only launch the product, but also educate and coach my attendees.

First off, I need to thank (from the bottom of my heart) my friends Jon Schumacher and Michael Bloom from ‘Hangouts That Convert’. In a world filled with schemers who trumpet the “latest and greatest get it before midnight tonight batteries not included but wait there’s more!” types of offers…these guys are THE REAL DEAL.

Their educational programs have been top-notch. I’ve got several dozen pages of notes which I’ve painstakingly put into practice over the past few months.

Last week I had a test-run webinar with my good friend and fellow speaker Laurie-Ann.

As soon as we were connected, I discovered that my laptop’s internal camera wasn’t quite up to snuff.

“You look fine but the background’s really grainy…what is it?”

About a month ago, I invested $70 in rough-sawn pine barn board for one wall of my recording studio.

I don’t mind if it looks knotty…but grainy is bad.

SteveWoodWall

The next day I ordered a new HD webcam, the one recommended by Jon and Michael.

It wasn’t super-expensive. Note to my accountant: we bought a new webcam…see you at tax-time!

Today I did another test-drive…getting there!

The one concern I do have is with the wood on the wall behind me.

As it was assembled in the middle of a hot and humid stretch of Summer, the humidity levels were sky-high. In those conditions, we jammed the wood together tightly with very little nailing beyond the guide-boards at the bottom of the wall.

Now the weather is chilling out a bit and the wood has shrunk slightly. Before today’s test run, I spied a couple of loose boards which needed to be pushed back so they wouldn’t fall.

Yeah, that’s all I need: to be bonked off the noggin in the middle of a webinar!

First order of business when I get to the studio tomorrow: secure the wall.

Are YOU taking the time to assess your environment on a regular basis?

Are you aware of things that could go wrong, impeding your progress toward success?

How can you take an extra moment to keep a clear view and ensure the sky is NOT falling…ready to hit you on the head?