Acts of Kindness

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.  

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Do It. Do Something. Get Started (The Goddess Said So).

That Greek Goddess sure knew what she was talking about.
Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory (and probably the fastest thing on sandals in her day…SWOOSH), got me to thinking: you cannot achieve any victory if you’re not in the game, the race, the mix…whatever.
We all know people (some of them occasionally live in your mirror) who say they ‘wish’ they could do something, but don’t start due to the Mount Olympus-sized pile of excuses blocking their way.
“I don’t know what to do.” 
“What if I fail?” 
“People might laugh at me.”
“I don’t think I can do it.”
It pains me to see people so paralyzed by the fear of failure.
WHY?!?
Because, not too many years ago…that was ME.
Want to get started at ANYTHING?
Just start: by doing some research, educating yourself, learning from those who’ve already done it…and then DOING IT.
Sitting on the front porch when I’m old and grey, WISHING that I’d gone for it, is one of my biggest fears in my world.
For about half of my 48 years, I’ve been racking up scars…in the best way possible.
I’ve switched careers, crashed dirtbikes, leapt off tall buildings, jumped out of three perfectly good airplanes, learned to surf, fallen in love with my eyes closed (and heart wide open), walked across stages in front of thousands of people sharing my mix of motivation and humor, shot hundreds of videos and driven 7.5 hours each way for 7 MINUTES of stage-time (this is when I learned you should NEVER make jokes with Canadian Border Patrol).
Was I good at all of these things?
Hell no.

I failed at pretty much all of them on the first try as I tallied multiple bruises, lukewarm audiences, a face-full of seaweed, tangled parachute lines and a search of my car at the border (thankfully I didn’t learn how to say ‘cavity search’ in French).

The common thread in the past 24 years of my life: don’t let your fears rob you of some pretty cool stuff. Everyone you admire as a champion, or success story, once sucked at what they do.
They started…and they kept going.
They listened to the Goddess.
They found their victories.
You can too.
Just start.

Pokemon, Kanye or Kindness…Where is YOUR Focus?

Man, those (cough cough) ‘news’ pages were burning the midnight oil earlier this week, weren’t they?

Pokemon Go was go-go-going full-bore as people stumbled and stepped (into traffic and off at least 2 cliffs in California) to capture these little digital devils, racking up points as they racked up injuries.

Somewhere on another planet (yet still somehow in America), Kanye West and Taylor Swift added even more dust to their legendary dust-ups by shouting accusations of improper recording of phone calls, lyrical references and whatever else their press agents could drum up to keep the fur flying.

It still amazes me how many people get caught up in these things to the ignorance of what’s going on in the real world.

Typically, when I express this thought, I am greeted with a “Hey, I need a distraction now and then, you know!”
If by distraction you mean that you prefer to focus on things which cause people to ignore traffic signals, curbs, holes in the ground (as well as the aforementioned cliffs) and to also lose their freaking minds defending their favorite celebrities in social media flame-wars, investing countless hours that could be spent improving their own lives (and the lives of others)…then hey, distract away!

As I try to steer clear (something that is apparently hard to do while chasing Pokemons) of most video games and don’t feel that Kanye or Taylor will be perturbed by my lack of undying support (“my celebrity can beat up your celebrity!!”), I chose instead focus my attention on that third option: improving my own life and the lives of those around me.

It all started with a message from a friend (a hard-working young lady named Holly) who has been a helpful part of our BeachBum Philanthropy giving mission in the past.

She asked what Liberty House Transitional Home for Veterans was in need of.

Now THAT was something worth being distracted by!

After a quick bit of research, I shared with her the Wish List page from their website.

On Monday, I received a message back from her.

She had just delivered canned potatoes, cans of soup, paper towels, toilet paper, mac & cheese, home-baked cookies and even her own bicycle (she’d just bought a new one).

Now THIS is something worth focusing on!

So, where is YOUR focus today?

Is it on that which you can control in your life (remember, you only get ONE life in the real world, unlike in video games…play it wisely), or is it glued to a digital screen or even buried nose-deep in the celebrity gossip battlefield?

The time and attention you invest today will pay off for you, giving you bonus points and maybe even making you a celebrity in the lives of those around you.

Life is a game of focus.

Go! 

Want to SEE the Good? BE the Good!

I know it’s not that simple…or is it?

There is some pretty bad stuff happening out there right now.

Bad actions, retaliations, more bad actions.

This is the stuff that fancy slogans can’t fix.

We are experiencing failures of humanity at all levels.

One of the biggest problems that I see was driven home earlier this week.

A family member shared a hopeful meme on her social media page, essentially saying how wonderful it would be to wake up one day to hear the media broadcast that there is peace on earth.

The replying comments all echoed the sentiment, several saying that they are praying for it to happen.

While I am not a practicing ‘anything’ when it comes to religion, I do practice kindness as best I can, every day.

Besides, what are many wars fought over?

People who think their ‘god’ is more kick-ass than your ‘god’.

Wouldn’t it be better to live by the good practices of respect and love that most gods teach?

I believe that many of the bad things happening today have escalated because too many people have stopped being humane in their thoughts, words and actions.

Things which could have been resolved years, even centuries ago, continue to fester.

There is too much ‘US versus THEM’ finger-pointing going on.

Holy crap, people, we’re supposed to be better than this.

At our core we are all living, breathing human beings who all share space on this giant spinning rock for a limited time.

We are neighbors…and some of us really suck at it.

Bottom line: creating a more peaceful planet (or even a peaceful neighborhood block) starts with each of us, every day.

Does this mean everyone is good?

Hell no.

There are some pretty despicable people roaming this planet, doing despicable things…and they deserve to be punished for what they’ve done.

This is not a Kumbaya post made of marshmallows and puffy clouds.

It is real life, and a plea for all of us to create a better place to live that life.

It’s obvious that we cannot trust the media to be a source of good things. For the most part, their motto is “If it bleeds, it leads”…and that stinks.

You can’t argue that one with me, I was in the media for a decade…I know.

Don’t believe me?

Watch the national news tonight and tell me if it starts with a story about a cute kitten being rescued.

Here’s a video I would love to see open EVERY newscast tonight:

It never will…yet this man, and every other person in this video who shared a hug, high-five or a handshake, is just as REAL as the bad people in this world.

Some people avoided this man. Others went out of their way to embrace him.

I don’t think he seemed to care very much, either way.

He just kept seeking out people with whom to engage, regardless of their skin color, age, gender or whether or not they were carrying a gun.

This is good news.

We get to SEE it, because someone decided to BE it.

YOU can be it…today.

Will you try it, just once?

A hug, a high-five or a handshake could make someone’s day, and let them know that someone cares enough to wish them well.

BE good news. BE a good person. BE a good neighbor.

The world needs it.

Keith Urban Makes a Guitar Dream Come True!

Sometimes in life, all we need is a sign.

In this case, there were TWO of them, near the front row at a Keith Urban concert here in New Hampshire.

1) “It’s my boyfriend’s birthday!”

2) “I want to play your guitar!”

And Keith Urban saw them both.

Moments later, a young fan named Rob was on-stage playing lead guitar with Keith and his band.

There are several versions of the event already plastered across YouTube.

Here it is: Keith Urban/Rob Plays Guitar

And of course, comments ranging from “Wow, he is lucky!” to “This is totally fake” and everything in between are already lighting up the message boards.

First off, calling someone ‘lucky’ is a bunch of crap.

This kid (I’m 48, I can call him a kid) has put in the prep time, wearing out his fingers and his guitar strings for thousands of hours to prepare for this moment.

When the opportunity arrived, he was ready.

To those who commented that it was ‘fake’, claiming that Rob is a professional guitarist and had rehearsed with the band prior to the show: I honestly wouldn’t care if he had.

Actually, I’d hope that was the case.

Do you honestly think that Keith Urban would run the risk of someone popping up out of the audience and potentially screwing up a show that so many people had paid so much money to attend?

That would be disastrous.

That would be like me handing over the microphone at one of my speaking events just because somone held up a sign which read “I am a positive person, let me speak!”

Sorry, that is not happening.

Every day, we are ALL getting ready for something.

If we’re putting in the effort to improve our skills, we will more easily recognize opportunities to enlarge our audience, to ascend to new heights, to expand our horizons and recognition.

Who knows?

Rob may just play in Keith Urban’s band someday…or someone else’s.

There may be an up-and-coming artist struggling in Nashville right now who sees this video and asks Rob to roll the dice with him or her.

Keith Urban rolled the dice and won big, giving this young man the experience of a lifetime and showing an ecstatic audience what can happen when you bust your butt for years to be ready when an opportunity arises.

All it takes is a sign…or two.

As this giant spinning rock called Earth goes round and round, what opportunities are you preparing for?

And here’s the big question:

What does YOUR sign say?

My Thoughts on the Tony Robbins Fire Walk!

If you think that Shark Week only happens on the Discovery Channel, you are mistaken.

Last week at an Unleash the Power Within event in Dallas, the media feeding frenzy began when about 40 attendees were treated for burns on the feet during one of Tony Robbins’ legendary Fire Walks.

According to reports, there were about 7000 people in attendance at this event.

Approximately 40 got that burning sensation to the extreme on the walk, requiring medical attention.

Pretty small percentage…but, as with sharks, it only takes one small drop of blood in the ocean to create a shark-sized snack attack!

What happens in these cases typically plays out like this:

Response #1, from critics: “Tony Robbins is a scam artist who preys on people!!”

Response #2, from fans: “Tony is God!”

Okay, that last one may not escape the lips of all participants, but is IS a reality in the personal development field.

How do I know this?

I have been on a personal development journey for 28 years, and have been a professional speaker/author for 12 of those years.

I can honestly state this as fact: I would NOT be in this industry if not for Tony Robbins. At age 22, with my life a shambled mess of uncertainty, I saw the late-night infomercial promoting his Personal Power-2 cassette series.

Yes, cassette.

Jurassic motivation, people.

What I learned from that program were the basics which have, when I got off my butt to apply them, created some pretty amazing results in my life.

Did that cause me to hold TR up as a motivational god at times?

Yup.

The high of personal development sometimes makes us do that.

What I believe more people need to remember is this: motivational speakers, authors and others who are sharing ‘the way’ with us are just regular, every people.

They are human. They make mistakes. They are not perfect.

Sadly, too many of these people become deified by their followers.

I have seen, first-hand, how people have done this for Tony.

Our ‘motivational heroes’ often become targets for zealous critics who seek to discredit them at every turn.

Some of these speakers (and I will lump in many celebrities, politicians and religious leaders too), unfortunately believe their hype, allowing Hurricane Super-Ego to take over with Category-5 strength.

I honestly don’t care if I ever get famous as a speaker.

I don’t need a stadium-sized audience’s thunderous applause to feed my fire.

Heck, I don’t even need to walk on fire…or water.

I am just a regular, everyday guy who has learned a few things along the way and truly enjoys sharing them with a touch of humor to let people know they can do it too.

When I hear that someone takes one of my stories or lessons (what I call Motivational Firewood™) and adds it to the spark of desire, taking action…I am beyond honored, excited and proud (of THEM for DOING it, not of myself for SPEAKING about it).

That works for me, and I am truly blessed to have clients and event attendees who say it works for them as well.

And THAT is what lights MY fire.

Never Stop Learning, Never Stop Stacking!

What did you learn yesterday?

Come on, you had to have learned SOMETHING.

  Maybe it was that those last 8 seconds scorched your microwave popcorn?

  Or that the road you thought was a shortcut made you late for work?

  Or that if you dial the bathroom scale back a couple pounds, you smile?

If we pay attention, we can learn something new, EVERY day.  

It doesn’t mean we’re splitting the atom on a regular basis.

I leave that to the experts.

With the world spinning faster than ever, we are facing a near-constant bombardment of stimuli…some good, some bad. But we can learn SOMETHING from it all, even if it just means we have to turn some of it off.

Learn something. Add it to the stack of knowledge on your shelf.

Here’s what I learned this past week: how to make transparent graphics for my branding and marketing with the Typorama app for iPad (thank you, marketing dude Brian G. Johnson).

For some people, this is as simple and natural as a sneeze or hiccup.

For me, not so much.

But, when it comes to the impact it has already had on my creative arsenal, it carried the strength of a full-on atom-splitting experiment (including my Motivational Firewood™ Video Channel)!

So…what have YOU learned recently which can bust down a wall that’s been holding you back?

How can you apply it, today, to make your life easier, smoother, faster (or any other ‘-er’ you may be seeking)?

By the way:

  2 minutes and 16 seconds is the perfect popcorn-time in my microwave.

  I live in a small town, no traffic jams.

  I don’t even own a bathroom scale…which makes me smile!

Go ahead, learn something new today…then do something with it.