Tell Your Turkeys to Go STUFF Themselves!

When you sit down at Thanksgiving dinner, are there certain foods you don’t like?

For me, it’s cranberry sauce from a can.

I don’t dig the tartness of cranberries, and the ribbed reminder of the inside of the can looks odd…and makes those of us who watched “Beavis & Butthead” giggle.

Consequently, I make sure the plate of cranberry sauce stays far away from my place setting at the Turkey Day dinner.

It’s a pretty simple concept: if there is something you don’t care to be around, don’t keep it around you.

The same goes for PEOPLE in our lives whom we wish to not have near us.

Maybe they are tart.

Maybe they are distasteful.

Heck, maybe they’re ribbed.

Bottom line: if you don’t want to be near them…don’t be (even if it simply means you don’t let them drag you down emotionally).

If I were to ask: “Who is the most negative, toxic person in your life right now?”…would a name or a face come to mind?

Was this the same person you would have envisioned a year ago, had I asked you then?

If so, why is that person still allowed to be this close to you, making you miserable?

It could be a client, a family member or just a hanger-on who hasn’t been booted out of your orbit…yet.

It’s not an easy conversation. Many people who try to be nice and ‘like to be liked’ have a tough time confronting toxicity. It has always been a challenge for me.

Bottom line comes down to two words: HONOR YOURSELF.

We’re in the home stretch of yet another year.

Life rolls on and, as Pink Floyd put it so bluntly, we find ourselves “shorter of breath and one day closer to death”.

Got some turkeys in YOUR life?

Maybe it’s time to shuffle the line-up around the table at which you give your thanks.

Are there a few turkeys who need to “Stuff it” and be excused from YOUR table?

What I have discovered over the years is this: when you make room at your table, you’re actually making room for better to take their seats.

Here’s to YOUR celebration of thanks this year!!

May you enjoy great company, celebrate happy memories, engage in positive conversations and fill your face with nothing but delicious goodness.

What am I thankful for this year?

You.

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Veterans Day and the Peanut Butter Cup!

Go ahead…talk to strangers.

Whenever Tina and I go out, whether it’s to the High Street Farmhouse (our favorite local restaurant) or somewhere on the opposite coast, one of two questions consistently comes up:

1) “Can we go ANYWHERE without you knowing someone?”

2) “How do you manage to make a new friend everywhere we go?”

Bottom line: I get around, in a good way…and I love meeting interesting people.

Whether it’s smiling at people as I walk past, committing even the simplest acts of kindness (such as holding a door open) or cracking jokes to relieve the tension of a nervous flier, it just comes easy to me.

I get that from my Dad, who can (and will) strike up a conversation with total strangers, often with laughter ensuing.

Last Friday was no exception.

While waiting to board my plane for the first of two flights which would ultimately deliver me to Orlando, I saw ‘her’.

Being Veterans Day, she stuck out as someone to whom I wished to say “Thank you for your service”.

Her hat indicated she’d served in Iraq, and her leather vest was covered in patches and pins of various deployments and her continued loyalty to veterans groups.

During the first flight to DC, I enjoyed an article in the December issue of Success Magazine. It’s author, Jeff Vrabel, had gone into ‘undercover mode’ as an Uber driver in and around Indianapolis. Not one for a lot of small talk himself, he wanted to test-drive the experience to see what he could learn.

In the end, he walked away with several sizable chunks of life lessons, advice and experiences that he never would have gotten hiding in the shadows.

Interesting.

About 10 minutes into a 2-hour layover, I noticed my veteran sitting just a few seats away, laughing with seat-mates after successfully snagging the final remaining outlet to charge her phone.

Time to break the ice, I thought.

I notice your vest says Alton Bay, that’s such a gorgeous part of the state!”

With a great big smile, she replied “Sure is, and we had a great season of fund-raising rides through there”.

Turns out, she’s the Communications Director for the American Legion in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.

She knows everybody and, being a veteran, she’s got brothers and sisters around the world.

I live in Goffstown, and we do a lot with Liberty House in Manchester.”

She laughed and told me “A couple years ago, one of my military buds called me and said he had a few dozen pairs of boots and asked if I knew where to bring them…and I went straight to Liberty House”.

Right on!

It’s funny, when the resident veterans came out to help me unload and saw them all, they called me The Rolling PX!”

For more than an hour, we shared stories of the people we’ve met and how honored we are to be helping veterans (through our BeachBum Philanthropy family), especially those who’ve struggled to reinsert themselves into society.

In case you’re wondering, here are 5 simple ways that YOU can help homeless veterans in your community!

I’ve never served in the military, but I have a ton of respect for those who’ve put their lives on the line to protect the freedom that we enjoy so deeply.

It’s an honor that I do not take lightly.

And now, I’ve got a new friend who shares that same passion.

If you ever hear of some veterans in need, you reach out to me” she said, just before boarding our next flight.

“I sure will.”  KristinaVetSmall

Knowing our conversation had already sparked this article in my mind, I asked if I could take her picture and was honored when she agreed.  

Her name is Kristina, and she is my favorite stranger from the airport.

Actually, her final act of kindness was aimed at me.

During our conversation, I’d joked that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my favorite candy.

As she reached into her purse, she asked “Have you ever tried their Butterfingers flavor combo?”

Nope, never even heard of it!”

Here, give this a try” she replied as she slid the treat into my hand.

She was right. It ROCKED!

KristinaPBCupSmallAs I boarded the plane (several minuted after she did), I saw she’d been seated near the front and gave my review on the way by: “Two thumbs up!”

Who could YOU meet today?

It doesn’t even have to be a stranger.

I understand that, for many people, that can be uncomfortable.

Somewhere in your extended collection of acquaintances, organizations or associations is an interesting person with whom you could enjoy an amazing conversation.

Who knows? The experience might change your life for the better, give you a new understanding…or even score you a sweet treat.

Are YOU a Big-Hands Encourager?

More than half the class.

I couldn’t believe it.

When asked if people in their lives uttered phrases (imagine a whiny voice here) like:

“Why do you want to do that? Why are you going back to school? You failed the last time. What do you think, you’re better than us?”…more than HALF the class raised their hands.

Sad.

Many of these young people live in cities which have struggled with poverty, drugs and crime for decades. They are doing their best to rise above, to not be statistics, to help show the way for those who have lost hope…and they’ve got people crapping on their dreams.

In this new video, I explain why life resembles an old wooden roller coaster, and how negative people like this can ruin the ride for us all.

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QUICK QUESTION: Think back to your most recent human interaction.

Were you ENCOURAGING?

Did you praise, give hope, support, offer a kind word…or at least smile?

Every day, there are people in our lives who are just trying to make it through another day.

Does this mean we heap undeserved praise, scream puff-ball motivational quotes from the rafters or wear fake pasted smiles all day long?

Not at all.

I believe we need to be real with the world, but we also need to find the tiniest bits of hope and inspire the souls of others to take those sparks into flame.

Someone in your path needs encouragement today.

You could:

make a phone call
send a text or e-mail
write a note
send a card
make a positive comment (or at least a ‘like’) on a social media page
give a hand-shake, hug or high-five
share your favorite memory or characteristic of that person

There are many ways to encourage, many ways to be a Big Hands Person (see video above for the definition).

The world already has enough Big Feet People stomping all over it.

Park your pavement-pounders for the day and focus on where you can add encouragement.

Think of those students.

Half the class.

Encourage.

Big hands.

How Did You Jumpstart Your Day?

There was another debate recently.

No, I did not watch it.

Why not?

Because I’ve got better things to do than watch two circus monkeys have a sh*t-fling across every major TV network.

I am informed. I know the track record of each. I know what their positions are on the major issues, simply by looking them up on-line.

There should be a skull and crossbones shown at the beginning of each debate saying “Side effects of the following program include anger, resentment, de-friending on social media, the tossing of TV remotes and a complete loss of rational thought and reasoning”.

Many people begin THE NEXT DAY in a bad mood, and blamed it on the debate, forgetting that while we all have to listen to the noise, it is up to EACH OF US how we react to it.

Here’s how my day began:

1) assembled the weekly bag lunches for a local homeless veterans

2) took a beautiful photo of the bright foliage and the barn next door at sunrise

3) thanked my friends for sharing my latest video on their social media pages

How did YOU jumpstart YOUR day?

Did you intentionally do something positive, listen to your favorite music, read something inspiring, watch something funny, share a hug, have a kind word with someone?

By the way, as I was making the lunches, I was doing my best Mick Jagger/Keith Richards combination of moves, rockin’ around my kitchen…wearing a great big smile.

People say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

I believe what you intentionally plug into your heart and mind before you make that breakfast is even more important.

How did you start YOUR day?

Do you need to improve on it tomorrow?

Will you?

Gratitude…and Go-Giving!

Now in my 12th year as a professional speaker (just over half-way to ‘Overnight Success’) and in my 23rd year as an entrepreneur, I am often asked for tips and resources that helped me survive this long.

There are a handful of books I recommend (as I respect their authors a ton), which have served to inspire me or give me a swift kick in the butt, whichever I needed most at the time.

Here is the list, my gift to you, that falls out of my head at a moment’s notice:

Mark Sanborn: “The Fred Factor”

Joe Calloway: “Becoming a Category of One”

Scott McKain: “Create Distinction”

Larry Winget: “It’s Called Work for a Reason”

Randy Pennington: “Make Change Work”

For those not in-the-know, these gentleman are collectively known as The Five Friends, and I am grateful to each of them for what they’ve taught me.

I highly recommend you check them out. Every book listed above can help make a great BIG difference in your results, if you’re paying attention and taking action.

Anyway, back to my list. There is one additional book I need to mention. One that I have read (okay, listened to) more than any other book ever written: “The Go Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann.

This video includes the exciting results of several of the book’s ‘5 Laws of Stratospheric Success’ and also serves as a THANK YOU to my most recent clients who helped make a bunch of our friends (human and fuzzy-faced) very happy.

Click here for Steve’s “Gratitude and Go-Giving” VIDEO

Who are YOU surrounding yourself with these days?

Are you investing your time, and your mind, in people who are helping to make good things happen?

Do you regularly recognize moments of goodness in your life, and thank those who help to make them happen?

How can you include GIVING and GRATITUDE on your path to success (whatever that looks like for you)?

Be Positive on Purpose (Store Clerk)!

I love being a positive person, on purpose.

I like making people laugh and realize that they matter.

I like creating moments that people will (hopefully with a smile) remember at the end of their day.

Sadly, not everyone shares this intention.

As we get closer to the holidays (ugh…okay, I realize the leaves are still on the trees), one thing I am reminded of each year is just how rude and impatient some people are.

Don’t think it’s a that big of a deal?

Go to YouTube and look up ‘Rude Customers’.

Yes, I do realize that you can also look up ‘Rude Customer Service’ and see the negativity come flying across the counter from that direction as well.

From my personal observations, there are more rude customers than employees.

Why is this?

Again, from my personal opinion: because customers know they can be rude and the employees are not allowed to be rude back to them.

It’s a bit of bullying…victim can’t fight back (without risk of being fired, in many cases).

Somewhere along the line, someone coined the phrase ‘the customer is always right’…which I believe is a power-shifting pile of crap.

This is one thing I love about being self-employed.

Have I been verbally abused by people at events over the years, as a DJ or a professional speaker?

Yes…on both.

What I finally began to do was ask: “Do you have any idea how rude you are?” to those who felt they could say anything they wished to me without reprecussion.

You should see their faces when that greets their ears…priceless.

Sorry, I don’t pay myself enough to put up with their crap.

The people I do my best to encourage are convenience store clerks.

They are stuck behind the counter with the lottery tickets and slow-rolling hot dogs, listening to some peoples’ rudeness all day, every day, as if they are at the center of everything that is wrong in their customers’ lives.

Does this approach work every time?

Nope.

Some people will look at you like you’re an idiot.

Some might actually be rude.

It happens.

So, we pick our battles…and do our best because it is the right thing to do.

We seek out those who look like they might benefit from a smile, those who appear beaten down, those who look like they could use a bit of encouragement.

It can be as simple as looking someone in the eye and saying “I hope your day gets better”.

Go ahead. Try it.

You might just discover that the day that improves most…is yours.

Are You Taking EVERY Step Toward Your Success?

I don’t know what your goals are…but I hope YOU do.

It doesn’t really matter what they are, as their achievement boils down to some pretty basic steps.

This is the part of the article where some gurus will give you a special link to their ‘Super Secret Formula’ for success, with ‘Sweet Baby Ninja’ Access for just $97…but wait there’s more!!

I am IN the personal development industry, and many of those offers drive me nuts.

Did I recently go through an experience that taught me all the basic, necessary steps to achieve a goal?

Yes.

Was it on a cloud-ringed mountaintop in Tibet with a wise, bearded guru-dude?

Nope.

It was in the woods at the far end of my Dad’s property in Dunbarton NH (elevation: 825 feet above sea level, no nosebleeds here) while cutting firewood for the upcoming winter.

What was my goal?

A shed full of firewood (about 1.5 cords) for the upcoming winter.

It’s important to quantify our goals as well as knowing what they look like.

Not everyone gets that step right.

Too many people just say “I want my life to be better!”

When asked how (or even why), too many have no idea.

That’s sad, in a way, because knowing what you DO WANT is the first step.

After that, the others line up like this:

   2) Find Your Resources: Where will you start, what will you need to achieve?

   3) Invest in Tools: What skills or products will you need, who do you need to meet?

   4) Plan Your Strategy: What steps do you need to take, in what order?

   5) Take Action: This is where those who simply ‘Hope Wish & Dream’ fail!

   6) Collect Your Winnings: Gather your successes, appreciate, make room for more.

See? No secret formula, program or expensive weekend event.

Here is a VIDEO which accompanies this message.

Just something that is working for a regular guy like me who learned something valuable and wanted to share it.

If you’ve got something in your life that could use some improvement (goals, money, job, relationship…anything), I sincerely hope this simple message can be helpful in getting you UN-stuck and on the way to something better…whatever that looks like, for you.